Book Covers & Websites: David E. Johnston

Well then, the time has finally come to discuss one of my favorite projects to date, the branding of David E. Johnston.

This expansive project included the redesign of his book covers (15 in total) as well as the design of a business card and website. It all started with the most innocent of requests. At the beginning of Covid-19 quarantine, David reached out to me looking for a rack card design to advertise his books. During the research phase of the project I saw that his existing covers, though eye catching, lacked a cohesive feel. The ability to locate his books, available for sale only through David directly or Amazon, suffered from Amazon’s poor search abilities. After completing the rack card design, I proposed redesigning his book covers and then a website, creating a branded look for his works. David embraced the suggestion and we began to collaborate on ideas for the project.

The task of redesigning the book covers was exciting and interesting. I was provided with the original cover art, a synopsis of each book, and the full book texts to assist in the design process. I day dreamed of reading each book, cover to cover, before starting their designs, then reality struck after reading the second book. Though I thoroughly enjoyed them, I didn’t want the project to stretch into eternity, so I revised my approach. Many of the ideas came together quickly using the existing cover art and synopsis while others took more time and thought. I did find it necessary to read a few of them in their entirety to best represent them graphically.

I started with the cover design for The Shift. After finishing the book, I considered the overall themes before beginning the design. The Shift refers to a constant and unpredictable shifting of time (that occurred in the world of The Shift) where one minute our hero is casually walking down the street and the next he is forced to leap out of the way of a semi-truck which suddenly appeared in his path with only a flicker of advanced warning. I decided to incorporate images representing time and movement, finding it interesting to show two seemly different (yet the same) plains of reality existing together. This was achieved by including the tile text in the artwork, as if it were a window into the second plain. Complimentary colors of blue and gold were used and set off by the white outline of the title and the author’s name.

Once the cover designs were completed and approved by the author, the time came to start on the website. To keep costs down for my clients and to ensure the sites are mobile friendly, as well as easy for them to edit themselves, I use WordPress.com for my website designs. They offer many free and low cost templates which can be personalized to fit my client’s needs. This also allows me to shorten the overall time it takes to build and deliver the final site to the client. The book cover art become the main focal point of the website design, using pieces of the covers or layers taken from their Photoshop files to create interesting visual elements among the text. The website allowed a place for David’s fans or interested new comers to see all his available written works, their summaries, and links to purchase each book (as a Kindle or in print) on Amazon.com. I also included an interview with David to give his reader’s an insight into his personal life and where he gets his ideas from and a blog for David to keep in touch with his followers on a regular basis on a more personal scale than social media pages allow. You can view this website at www.authordavidejohnston.com and while you are there subscribe to the blog for all David’s latest musings and news.

Speaking of social media, at the client’s request, I set up an Instagram account for him. Check it out and give a follow and some likes at www.instagram.com/davidejohnston where teasers for his books and interesting tidbits can be found. David has many works coming in the future, both finishing out tales and telling brand new ones to delight his readers…will you join in on the adventures?

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