Brief: Cover for the novel "Immortals’ Requiem"
I've not been on this platform before but believe this is might be a challenging brief. I require an amazing dark fantasy cover (book description below) that really stands out when people are scanning through books online at thumbnail size, but which has much more detail when viewed at full size. It needs to convey the genre and type of book at both levels, so that people can tell what sort of book it is at a glance.
-I've attached a word doc / pdf of the brief as well in case it's easier to read rather than this plain text.
-Also attached is the detail.doc/pdf which contains specific character details, location details and a battle scene excerpt from the book referenced in this brief.
--List of pinterest boards for inspiration:
The book is a Dark Fantasy. It is not what you get with a large proportion of Dark Fantasy novels at the minute. It is not a teen/romance vampire/demon book, or similar. Immortals’ Requiem is for mature audiences and is a fast-paced action/horror/adventure.
Its foundation is based in the classic fantasy of Lord of the Rings, but it is set across a contemporary British city and a parallel realm inhabited by fairy folk; elves, giants and ephemeral vampires. These are a jaded people who have embraced modern dress, culture, and weapons. The very broad plot is that a mythical monster – a creature that the elves treat as a bogeyman; a tale told to scare their children – returns intent on domination and annihilation. This antagonist is called Cú Roí. A mishmash of human and fairy characters set out to stop him. It is, unapologetically, a classic save-the-world-story.
Influences are taken from films like Highlander (in so far as some of the characters are immortal and will rejuvenate quickly after suffering physical harm) and Aliens (gruesome monsters gestating in people and bursting from them, though in a modern city). There are nods to Conan, though his ‘mighty hewed’ contemporary wears jeans and wields a chainsaw rather than a sword. Other enemies include elf zombies: Imagine The Walking Dead, but the zombies are the millions-strong remnants of the elvish race, haunting a vast and labyrinthine tower floating in the clouds beneath an eternal dawn’s sun.
It is a big book, and there are a lot of concepts that make it difficult to adequately describe in a few paragraphs, but I hope that you at least get the idea of what kind of book it is.
The detail of the locations will be included in the attached detail.pdf in case you wish to read them to help in the formation of your concept.
===What I Would Like===
The cover will need to cover the entire front page, spine and back page with dead space on the back page for the blurb / barcode.
As mentioned before, I would like a cover that really stands out at both thumbnail size as well as close up. I’ve made a Pinterest board to give some inspiration:
This board will hopefully trigger some ideas (see JSP in comments on the Pinterest board for my input). Some of my initial thoughts are:
--1. The top two thirds (or as much as three quarters or as little as a half if feasible) of the cover big and bold so that it can easily be seen in thumbnail view. The bottom third (or again, quarter or half if practicable) consisting of a much more detailed scene, that becomes apparent when the cover is seen full size.
--2. The image within an image concept, whereby at thumbnail size it looks like one thing but when you look at it full size there’s an inner image that’s much more detailed. Very creative / clever designers could have some fun with this.
I am very excited about having a cover that works on both levels at the same time.
I have done some research and I have the following suggestions that I hope will help inspire you. I am not, of course, saying to follow these ideas specifically; I am not a designer, so I am looking forward to seeing whatever you think will be awesome.
I am very, very excited about having the Tattooist’s face on the front cover (see detail.pdf for character description). His jet-black skin, red hair, white lips and fireballs for eyes would really stand out. I have a vision of the right half of his face dominating the top two thirds of the cover. He would be looking out at the viewer and the other half of his face (his left half) would be cut off by the edge of the book cover (opposite side to the book’s spine). However, his eye would be a roiling ball of fire, spilling looping flames down his cheek with healing burns on the flesh of his cheek. I imagine that this, on a dark background, would be very eye-catching. This would be like the Avatar movie poster, or the Season 7 Game of Thrones Billboard Poster with the White Walker on it (see pinterest board for the images I’m referring to):
Further concepts around this:
-1. Maybe his eye could also be the sun of the tower at dawn (see detail.pdf for locations) and his lips could form the bridge in the battle scene when looked at close up so that one big image blends in to smaller images on closer inspection. I imagine that this would be very difficult to do successfully; it is just an idea.
-2. Two half faces, (like the avatar movie) with the Tattooists face on the spine side this time (so his face can blend around to the back page), and Cu Roi on the other reflecting him. An idea would then be to have the bridge in the battle scene made up of the gap between their faces going in to the distance; again, just an idea.
Please see the below link for some other artwork that may help you picture this idea (JSP in comments for my input):
---Close Up/Full Size:---
The only way I can think of getting across the actual genre of the book is depicting a battle scene from the story. I’ve attached an excerpt from the book in the details.pdf (only 3 pages, don't worry it's not war and peace). I believe that this scene would work best to keep the fantasy genre ascendant whilst providing a dark background that would match the larger design.
Please find links to some Pinterest boards that have been put together to help you visualise what I would like (see JSP comments for my input):
There’s a lot that can be used with this scene. The image doesn’t have to reflect the battle scene accurately as long as it gives the impression of it. If you can think of something that would work then please feel free to get creative, but it must reflect the general idea. Again, please read the excerpt from the book (in detail.pdf) to familiarise yourself with the scene.
The character of Grímnir is key to the story. Although in the excerpt he travels over the bridge whilst Cam and Dow fight the horde, it would certainly be nice to have him in the cover. Within the boundaries of practicality:
-1. Perhaps Grímnir could be running towards the cover with Cam and Dow fighting the horde in the background.
-2. Perhaps you could skip the bridge entirely, and just have all three of them fighting with the horde all around them.
Again, these are just suggestions and I look forward to seeing what ideas you create.
Any other suggestions or ideas are welcome. If you need clarification on anything, please just get in touch. There’s a lot of material to work with to be creative here, but the finished product must look professional, modern, and eye-catching. I know this may be a difficult brief and if it starts looking too busy, just try one face and the title for example, throw some concepts out. Although I have some ideas, I am not 100% sure what I want and you are the professional. If you think something looks better, then I would love to see it. I’m hoping for some clever, creative designs that will really make this cover stand out.
I will say that I will be discussing with my team and promise to review and comment on ALL submissions. It may not come instantly after you post it but we will at the very least have the courtesy to respond and provide feedback to every piece of work uploaded.
Having read numerous complaints on the web regarding design theft etc I will be making this a blind contest as soon as I can get hold of 99 designs to enable it.
-Deliverable: I would like a layered Photoshop file. The blurb may change in the future and I would like to be able to modify it myself if needed. Also I might look to taking certain layers to populate some of the website in future so I would like to be able to remove the title, author text or extract certain aspects of the image if needed.
-Stock Images: I'd obviously prefer not to have to pay for additional stock images and have to worry about licensing issues. However I fully understand if they are needed to make this cover look as attractive / realistic as possible so if it will enhance the look of the cover feel free. Same for typography fonts, I would prefer if we can get around it but if needed to make it look fantastic willing to pay to buy the necessary licenses.
-Book size: I am currently looking at using Createspace, you can find the relevant dimensions on the createspace website:
The book is 580 pages and a standard size of 5.06" x 7.81", cream coloured pages and just black and white (no images so no bleed).
-Contest length: I have set this for the standard 7 day contest. However as this brief is so detailed and we're expecting such a detailed / complex design we understand that it might take additional time to get something really impressive drawn up. Please let us know if you are running out of time and send us what you have already. We may consider requesting an extension to the contest (no promises) if we're really impressed by what you are creating.
Any other questions please just ask.
Thanks and good luck!