One of the great joys of being a graphic designer is having a client hire me to produce a project that intersects with things I'm passionate about in my personal life. I am a prolific reader, and for a long time I've been fascinated by book covers. Whenever I travel, I always include trips to local bookstores. When I purchase new books to add to my personal library, I'll intentionally select an edition of a book that has an excellent cover design.
Over the past year or two, I've had the privilege of designing book covers for several authors (including a book cover for a book I wrote!). In this section of my portfolio, you'll find several of the designs I have created along with personal commentary on the design process for each.
The Community of God by Douglas S. Bursch
Doug Bursch is a pastor of a church who decided to write his first book. The book is an exploration of the importance of religious community. As a Christian pastor, one of the predominant metaphors for community that he talks about is the Holy Trinity. To create this book cover, I was inspired by trinitarian theology as well as a vibrant color palette to invoke a sense of life and diversity.
Here's what Doug had to say about my work on his project:
"Working with Jackson was an absolute pleasure! He carefully collaborated with me to create a cover design that was perfect for my book. His work is timely, professional and most importantly reasonably priced." - Douglas Bursch
The Courage Coach by Ashley Easter
One of my clients, Ashley Easter, wrote a short book about how to heal from abuse. My task was to create a professional design for the book that would catch the eye and accurately evoke the themes contained within the book. One of the prevailing themes from the book is a "north star". For the cover, I used two different night-sky photographs juxtaposed side by side to create a subtle "before/after" or "chaos to peace" feel. The left side image is a plain starry sky while the one on the right is a long-exposure shot with the camera focused on the north star. I also designed and typeset the interior of her book.
Here's the review Ashley left me after her project was completed:
“Working with Jackson was a great experience. He took my concepts and ideas and brought them to life much better than I could have imagined. He created the perfect book cover for me, and the interior layout was something special. His knowledge about self-publishing was extremely valuable to me as a new author.” - Ashley Easter
Back Cover - The Courage Coach
Chapter Header - The Courage Coach
To create a consistent and holistic design for The Courage Coach, I took the north star icon seen on the book's cover and implemented it into every single chapter header.
Interior Design & Typesetting (The Courage Coach)
Because Ashley's book is about a sensitive and serious topic, I wanted to design the interior in such a way as to give the reader a comfortable reading experience.
Ashley wrote the book to be a friendly and easy-to-read guide for abuse victims who are healing from harm. I used generous page margins and a narrow text-block to give the reader plenty of psychological space and softness.
Ex Materia is a short book that I wrote during my junior and senior years of college. It was an extra-curricular project that I took up in my spare time as a way to develop my writing skills. I spent hundreds of hours writing and editing the book, and I also designed this original cover for it.
I not only designed the cover though, but I also set up a make-shift photo studio on campus to create the photograph used on the cover.
Writing a book and then designing it too was an extremely rewarding journey that I will never forget.
Alternative Version of "The Community of God"
During the design process for "The Community of God", I explored several different concepts. The ones seen above and below are versions that I thought were visually intriguing. The final cover that the author selected is seen at the top of this page.
Alternative Cover - The Community of God