Many people want to tell their stories. I recently designed a medley of memoirs. Self-publishing and printing are excellent ways to accomplish this and reach the perfect readers. The following memoirs were written by first-time authors whom I guided through the design and book-production process.
What design elements are generally used for the cover of a memoir?
- A favorite photo of the author; new or old, so people can put a face to the name
- A high-resolution file for printing
- Preferably, an image that will wrap around to the back cover
- A place for title, subtitle, and author’s name
- Typefaces that reflect the book’s attitude
The following memoirs were printed for family and friends. They were not distributed to the public, although one author changed her mind and published her book online several months later.
Projects, specifically the book cover
Living Out Loud – Randee was inspired to tell her life story after taking a writing class. She provided the images: family photos and newspaper clippings. She did not have an image that was “cover worthy.” Randee hired a professional photographer who was excellent. The book was printed in hardcover. When doing a hard cover, I had to make sure the cover artwork was adjusted for the book’s hinge. (The inside portion of the flexible area where book cover meets the book spine).
The Reluctant Traveler – a collection of travel memories from across the globe. The design is friendly—Judy’s photo was highlighted with decorative corners like a scrapbook. I added an illustration of an open suitcase, the perfect place to put the author’s name. I chose a stylized font in dark teal that reminded me of handwriting. The subhead color is a complementary color to dark teal. The light blue background color and teal stripe at the bottom wrapped around to the back cover. This memoir was printed in paperback.
Stories from My Journey – Paul Schaper was also inspired to write after taking a class. At our initial meeting, Paul saw Randee’s Living Out Loud finished book and he wanted to do the same size, 7×10 inches. Here was another case where there wasn’t an image that was cover worthy. Paul’s son-in-law took new photos of Paul walking outside that implied his “journey.” This project was a rush—Paul was at the end of his life and wanted to see the book printed before he passed away (mission accomplished). The memoir was printed in hardcover.
Diary of a Mystic – This memoir did not use the author’s photo. Bonnie’s concept was a diary. The cover design went through several layouts and iterations. During a search for fonts, I found an “eclipse-style glowing font” that spelled out “Mystic”—it was perfect for the cover typography. Other graphic elements included a gradient blue background and glowing lines with sparks. Adding a keyhole with a female figure was a finishing touch. This paperback was first printed for family and friends. It was recently distributed as an ebook and paperback through IngramSpark.
It was an honor to help these authors. Their stories were personal, often profound, and professionally written. Whether they were just for family and friends or intended for a larger audience, they reflected their authors’ personalities, “voice” (speaking or writing style), and unique spin on their experiences.