SignsPointToYes

Judging a Cover by Its Book: Pick the Cover Direction for SIGNS POINT TO YES!

Hey Swooners,

Here’s the post you’ve all been waiting for–The cover voting for Sandy Hall’s second book Signs Point to Yes! It’s a super fun, amazingly adorkable story about a superstitious fangirl who accidentally ends up spending the summer babysitting the sisters of her nerdy-hot lifeguard crush. If you’ve not yet read the excerpt, go do that first to get an idea of what the book is, then come back and help us pick the perfect cover concept for this novel! (To learn more about the difference between concept and final cover, check out this post.) Designer Anna B. walks you through the concepts below.

Signs Point to Yes Fireworks Cover for site
Fireworks Cover
Fireworks Cover
This is the first design I did for Signs Point to Yes. I wanted to make a cover that readers would recognize as being related to A Little Something Different, and other folks in the editorial and design departments thought that giving Sandy a “line look” was the way to go, too. The rooftop scene was an easy choice; it’s one of the few times in the book that Jane and Teo are alone together, and it’s definitely the most traditionally romantic image. I did the type in a style similar to the one I used for ALSD, though the type here is a sans serif and uses normal capitalization, where the ALSD type was a serif and the capitalization was a little quirkier. Since curlicues were such a big part of ALSD, I wanted to incorporate them into the design of Signs as well, so I drew the fireworks in a really stylized, swirly way, so that they formed an arch-shaped frame. I also wanted to keep the human silhouettes pretty small, as on ALSD. Once I decided that the background should be dark blue (since Jane and Teo are watching the fireworks at night—duh!), it seemed natural to pull in some pink to echo the color palette of ALSD. 
Signs Point to Yes Vignettes Cover
Vignettes Cover
Vignettes Cover
After I did the fireworks cover but before I showed these to anyone, I knew I needed to have another option for the line look direction. Since there are four main characters, I thought I’d try another design with a little silhouette of each of them in each of the corners. I also wanted to pull in the travel / road trip aspect, so I added the plane flying west to Illinois at the top, and the car driving back east on the bottom. And obviously there needed to be a curly frame! I had found a copy of The Bridesmaids in the office kitchen (one of the many bonus perks in publishing: free books in the kitchen), and I stared at Jessica Hische and LeeAnn Falciani’s beautiful cover design for that book a lot while I was working on this one. I haven’t achieved the balance and poise that their cover does, but if this comp is chosen, I plan to rework the border. The type here is similar to the type on the first cover, but I extended some of the lines to create arrows that would literally point to YES. I wanted to choose a color palette here that would reflect the summer setting of the book, and nothing says summer to me like green and pink! 
Signs Point to Yes Green Magic 8 Cover
Green Magic 8 Cover
Green Magic 8 Cover
When I showed the first two covers to the Swoon team, the response was positive, but they were concerned that they looked too much like ALSD and that people might think that this was a sequel, which it isn’t. So, back to the drawing board! Someone suggested that I look at Rainbow Rowell’s covers for a good example of a line look that doesn’t look like a series. I did look at her (gorgeous) covers, and I think that influence is especially visible here, with the small type and the big, empty, pastel background. Of course I loved the image of the Magic 8 Ball from the moment I sat down to start designing this cover, but I couldn’t figure out a way to work it into the first two swirly designs. Taking a more minimalist approach let the 8 all stand out and, in this case, stand in for the characters. The font of the tagline and Sandy’s name here is a little nod to ASLD (plus, it’s called Handsome. How could I NOT use it?) 
Signs Point to Yes Purple Magic 8 cover
Purple Magic 8 Cover
Purple Magic 8 Cover
As a designer, I hear, “Put a _____ on it!” a lot, and it’s not always an effective solution (as they found out on Portlandia that one time). You know that Coco Chanel quote, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off”? It applies to design, too. A lot of the time, less is more. So when I was thinking about how to make a Magic 8 Ball look cute and romantic, I tried to resist the “Put a heart on it” impulse…but you can see how far I got with that. I’m going to argue that since I modified the white circle and turned it into a heart, I didn’t technically add anything, so I’m still in Coco’s good books. The cover is still pretty simple, and—I hope—effective. It says romance, but it also says chance, and the heart lightens up the otherwise visually heavy Magic 8 Ball. Color-wise, I thought it would be wise to stay in the pastel world of ALSD, since the other elements of this design are quite different (though, as you can see, there are still some curlicues in the type!). 
Signs Point to Yes Lifeguard Cover
Lifeguard Cover
Lifeguard Cover
This is the last cover I did for Signs. (This might sound obvious, but in fact I’ve probably done fifteen or twenty. This is the one I was finishing up right before the cover meeting last week!). I went back to the idea of creating a Sandy line look, and started thinking about which elements of ALSD I could eliminate without losing the feeling of the cover. I decided to keep the silhouettes and the hand-drawn type, but lose the ornate border. For me, Teo’s little sisters were such a key part of the story that I had to include them on at least one cover (though, ahem, they might find their way into the final cover anyway, depending on which direction is chosen). To keep this cover from looking too simplistic, I gave the silhouettes some red accessories, and chose another summery, pastel color palette. 

Voting has now closed. Thanks for your help!

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