Monday, 14 April 2014

Need a book cover designing? Why not consider Sarah Morley, Design For A Day

Today I'm joined by the lovely Sarah Morley from Design For A Day.  Sarah and I were talking about a cover she designed for an author the other day and I asked her to join me on my blog to have a chat about how it came about.
What was the first book cover you designed and how did you feel when you had this type of an enquiry?
The first book cover I designed was for an author who had seen some of my artwork on my Facebook page. She really liked the vibrancy of my work and asked me to design something similar to my artwork but combine it with graphic design as well. It’s always great to receive enquiries like this because I can really get creative and using mixed media was an added bonus.

What sort of a brief did you get from the author?
The title of her book was called ‘The Anchovy Tree’ so the brief was pretty simple, the title spoke for itself really. She wanted a tree with anchovies hanging off it and wanted me to bring some of my watercolour painting skills into the design.

How many versions did you do?
For this book cover I only painted one version of the tree. This was done using watercolour and gel pen and was then scanned so I could add the fish in digitally. I used Adobe Illustrator to then produce several options using different fish and effects until the final copy was approved.

Did you get it right first time?
The client was very pleased with the painting, the colours were spot on and it was just what she was after. We did a few variations when adding the fish in, amending colour tone, size etc. but it was pretty much straightforward.

What do you think is important when designing a cover?
Designing this book cover was very straightforward because the client already had an idea of what they wanted and so they didn’t need to go into great detail about the book. When designing anything I try to get as much information as possible, if a client can give me a short summary of the book even better as that will give me a starting point when thinking about the design.

What sort of questions would you ask an author if they wanted you to design their cover? What is the book about?
Who is your target market?
Who are the main characters?
What country is the story set in?
What is your deadline?
Do they have an idea for their cover already that we can work on together?

What do you think is special about your skills that would make an author choose you to design their cover?
I have over 13 years’ experience in graphic design and I’m a creative at heart, so I always have my painting skills to add to the mix as well. If an author wants something that’s going to stand out from the crowd, then I think I can offer that to them. I work closely with my clients; it’s a meeting of the minds and a collaboration to come up with something genius between us that’s going to help them sell their book.

Do you have any examples?
You can see some examples of my work HERE.

Do you read? If so, what do you like to read?
Yes, I read when I can, usually last thing at night to help me wind down.  I read all sorts of books, usually work related, sorry I’m a bit of a geek! I’m currently reading a book about Vintage Style Graphics by Angela Patchell and I’ve also just started to read The Bat by Jo Nesbo as I love a good thriller!

What is your background?
I haven’t always had a career in graphic design; I was a PA for many years. However, I’ve always been a creative person and I had a desire to do something with that, so after my daughter was born in 2000 I started to teach myself graphic design. I was lucky enough to get some brilliant in-house graphic design positions with various companies and in 2006 I studied for two years at night school to get my HNC in Graphic Design.

I started painting in my early 20’s, I’ve always loved the fluidity of watercolour and the different effects you can achieve with it. After my daughter was born when I was 30, it fell by the wayside and it wasn’t until after spending some time in New Zealand in 2011 that I was tempted to give it another go. Last year I managed to get quite a few paintings finished and sold them in a local craft shop in Lichfield, Staffordshire which really boosted my confidence. I also entered a competition for local artists in Lichfield to submit two pieces of artwork to Debenhams and I was awarded runner up in their competition, so I have fame at last and my paintings are on display in their Lichfield store!

I started working for myself as a freelance graphic designer in 2012 and haven’t looked back. I’ve had the privilege of working with some really great companies from England Boxing to the YMCA. Every week is different and that’s the beauty of working for yourself. I have a passion for what I do and I want to help other businesses achieve their dreams and goals by offering them great design.
Find out more about Sarah at

Like her page on Facebook by clicking here
Follow her on Twitter by clicking here

1 comment:

Sandra Danby Author said...

Thx for interviewing a cover designer, Kim. It's useful to read about the thought process, and I like Sarah's designs too. SD