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June 29, 2018

Lessons from a Designer: Tips for Creating Your Custom Cover

How can I make a template my own?

When you customize one of the provided templates, you have the option to choose the fonts, art, and personal photos that will be used on the cover of your Bible. Design the cover around a theme by selecting your favorite colors or those of the recipient. Use art and photos that work well with that theme or overall mood. By using the Cover Expressions template and tools, you are able to make the cover your own because you are the one creating it.

How do I know which photos I should use?

It is best to use photos that have been taken with a smart-phone camera or a personal camera. Photos that are taken from online social media collections will not provide the best quality for your printed Bible. As you select pictures for the final design, find images that have clear lighting (daylight or overcast outdoor lighting is best). Use images that allow faces and scenes to be clearly cropped and placed for optimal viewing.

How do I choose colors that will look good together?

There are many ways you can choose color schemes for a design. It is often good to use a family of closely related colors, such as blues and greens, then to add a complementary accent color, such as red or yellow, that will be used very minimally (in one or two places). Within your family of colors, you can also use neutrals to help things stand out and create contrast. Neutrals can also be used as accent colors. It is best to avoid using too many drastically different colors on the same cover. This will ensure that the colors don’t distract from, or become too busy for, your overall design.

How many different fonts are too many?

I generally use a maximum of two different fonts within a design. Different fonts have different purposes, so it is best to choose fonts accordingly. If it is a funky, expressive, or handwritten font, it should probably be used for headers that don’t have many words and can be displayed at a larger size (such as a name, date, or title). If it is a simpler font, such as Times New Roman or Arial, these can be used for smaller text or text that is longer in length—for example, a verse, poem or short paragraph. Most everyday fonts that have simple lines or minimal decoration can also be used for headers. It is important to choose fonts that can be read clearly and work well to support the structure of your design.

How do I make sure my cover doesn’t look chaotic?                                                      

“Less is more” is always a great rule to use when planning the design of your cover. Here are a few tips to help achieve this goal:

  • If you have a busy background, use fewer images. Always be sure to select the images that best support your design.
  • Don’t use too many contrasting, bright colors.
  • Be sure to use the size of the words on your cover to communicate their importance (name, date, verse, etc.); and make sure all the different pieces of text are not the exact same size.
  • Always edit down, asking the question: “What can I remove or make smaller?” rather than, “What can I add to make it better?”
  • It helps to think about the elements of your design as though they need “room to breathe” so they don’t get claustrophobic. You can do this by allowing a lot of space around images or words or by making your font size smaller than you think it should be. Another helpful idea is to think of your design as elements that lead the eye around the page rather than confusing the eye so it doesn’t know where to look. Overall, you want a good balance of content that is just enough—not too little, but not too much.

How do I get printed photos or pictures from my phone onto my cover while maintaining high quality?

If you have photos already printed that you want to use on your cover, you can scan them at a high resolution (300ppi or higher) and save them to your computer to be uploaded onto your Cover Expressions template. It helps to scan the largest actual size of the photo that is possible to achieve the highest resolution. If you have pictures on your smartphone that you would like to use, email them to yourself at the highest resolution (“large” or “original”) and save them on your computer to be uploaded to your template. Once you place an image into the Cover Expressions template, it will alert you with a red exclamation point if the photo is not good print-quality resolution. This will help you know which digital images should not be used on your template.

Any other tips?

When designing your cover, enjoy choosing your theme and matching it with the colors, fonts, art, and photos you use. Think about the person you are designing for and what they would like. Most of all, have a lot of fun creating, and give yourself the freedom to make a truly wonderful, heartfelt gift—for yourself or someone else—that was thoughtfully designed by you!