The covers as they exist in reality. (Click for larger view.)

Project 2 encompassed creating hard back and paper back book covers for a book of our own choosing. The goal of the project was not only to create book covers that followed good design principles, but that conveyed a sense of what the book was about, as any good book cover will do. We also had to pay attention to detail and ensure our covers contained all the common elements book covers have that clue people in to the fact that this is a “real” book. As the instructor put it, the true test of success would be to go to a bookstore and put our books on the shelves and see if anyone picked them up.

I chose Swim the Fly by Don Calame. This is a book in the Teen Fiction genre and is about three friends who set themselves a difficult goal to accomplish each summer. This year, the three boys are 15 years old and the goal they set for themselves is to see “a real, live naked girl.” In addition, the protagonist/narrator, Matt, is smitten with Kelly, the new girl on the swim team and, in an effort to impress her, he volunteers to swim the 100-meter butterfly in competition. Matt can’t swim the fly for one length of the pool, let alone 100 meters so he begins a training regimen that he hopes will get him in shape in time. While trying to accomplish his training goals, he inadvertently gets signed up for an ultimate survival course that he must finish or go to jail.

The hardback cover (Click for larger image.)

The book centers around competition. There’s the obvious competition of the swim meets, but there’s also the competition between the boys and the looming end of summer with them trying to meet the goal, and there’s the competition of trying to “get the girl” that Matt gets sucked into with Kelly’s ex-boyfriend. In addition, there’s a competition between Matt and himself. The ultimate survival course is taught by a German man named Ulf, who sees in Matt a lot of the chutzpa he sees in himself. Matt sticks with the course in the beginning because he doesn’t want to go to jail. However, Ulf eventually gives Matt the opportunity to quit the course without consequences, causing Matt to decide what he’s really there for.

The paperback cover (Click for larger image.)

In keeping with the theme of competition, I chose to use a picture of swimming pool lanes for the cover. The lanes immediately bring competition to mind. The pool itself has a nice outdoor summer lighting to it that’s very inviting. The picture covers the entire front and back of the books to give an immersive quality that, when I look at it, makes me want to dive in. I included a blurb about the book on the back and an excerpt from the book on the inside flap of the hard cover book along with an extended author bio. The paperback book has an abbreviated author bio and blurb about the book on the back of it. The inside flaps on the hard cover are white to emphasize the inviting quality of the pool. I had tried using cyan tints, but they just detracted from the overall image.

Let me know what you think, please. Do they pass muster? Would you think they were real if you saw them in a bookstore? Any and all constructive criticism is welcome.

By the way, I highly recommend the book. It’s a fun read and certainly reinforced for me how glad I am I don’t have to be a teenager again.

If you’d like to see the original book cover, you can find it here: Swim the Fly by Don Calame