Random Thoughts on Cover Art

I was thinking about electronic distribution – indeed, not a surprise for any of our long-term readers.  However among my usual speculations, it struck me that electronic distribution is changing cover art.

Think of how used we are to cover art.  It's on our albums, it's on our books, it's on our games – and also in advertisements for those products.  It's omnipresent and at times surprisingly impressive (paging Boris Vallejo and Michael Whelan).

Only now, with electronic products, things are changing.

If there's no physical cover, cover art is a different thing – a blurb on a website or an online store.  It's not going to be designed, conceived of, or implemented the same way physical product covers would have been done.  It's not on a shelf – it's on an online store, which requires different tactics of design.

In some cases, there may not even be a noteworthy cover.  Electronic and POD publishing often downplays cover complexity because it doesn't look that good online.  A nice colored background and text can make something stand out without blowing the money on a cover artist.

Think about it for a second.

I've seen book covers redone as posters, the same as album covers.  I've been wowed by subtle design and fantastic art on game covers – I still recall the epic art on the now-ancient game "Demon's Winter."

For electronic products, ever more prominent, it's different now.

For artists, for writers, for game developers, it's a change that seems small but in reality is a huge impact.  How you get people's attention, how you present your product, and the artistic opportunities in the market have changed.

Just one thing of many changing these days.  For artists, writers, and game makers in the geekonomy, more to be aware of.

– Steven Savage