Cover Design Prototypes – Taking a Poll

I’m at that awkward, in-between point. Colonel Brandon in His Own Words is basically finished, and it’s out to a few trusted beta readers. Until I have their feedback, I can’t do much more with the manuscript itself. So I’ve been thinking ahead to the cover and even the audiobook.

As many of you know, I have a strong interest in art as well as writing. And so I particularly enjoy the cover design process, which combines the two. I always take a very active role, but I have to leave the technical stuff to my graphic designer. I simply don’t have that kind of expertise.

That’s still true, at least as to the final product. But I did discover a free online design program that has allowed me to play around, indulging my imagination and creating some possible prototypes. It’s pretty addictive, in fact. Once I got started, I was having so much fun I couldn’t stop!

Before I knew it, I had a dozen designs, made, as you will recognize, using images borrowed from the 1995 adaptation of Sense and Sensibility. These are just for inspiration, you understand. I don’t have permission to use the movie stills in the final product.

However an “artist’s rendition” might achieve something with a very similar look and feel (as I did with Fitzwilliam Darcy in His Own Words). So I thought it would be fun to show some to you and take a poll – to see which design you prefer, and if you have any further suggestions! Here are 4 contenders for your consideration.


What do you think? Do you have a favorite? What would you do to improve on it? Which elements do you think are most effective? A new combination to propose? Or is it back to the drawing board?

The Colonel, though disclaiming all pretensions of connoisseurship, warmly admired the screens, as he would have done anything painted by Miss Dashwood… and after they had received gratifying testimony of Lady Middletons’s approbation, Fanny presented them to her mother… “Hum” said Mrs. Ferrars, “very pretty,” without regarding them at all.  (Sense and Sensibility, chapter 34)

About Shannon Winslow

author of historical fiction in the tradition of Jane Austen
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42 Responses to Cover Design Prototypes – Taking a Poll

  1. June Geraci says:

    Four, definitely. You are telling us of his thoughts, so here he is by himself, thinking.

  2. Marie H says:

    THREE! I love that one and I think you should do your own artist interpretation of it. I’m curious to know which is your favourite. I’m not fond of the multi-image depictions. Number three focuses entirely on him and I like that he seems deep in thought.

    • I’m really torn, Marie. I like things about each one. I don’t think I would attempt #1 – too many faces to paint. And I am favoring the image of Brandon in #3&4. The two image motif (man/house) came from the FD cover, so I kind of like the idea of staying with that concept.

  3. deborahanne2 says:

    I like number 4 the best with his introspection, the lettering, as well as the banner with the cottage at the top.

    • Thanks for the specifics! The cottage is really too large, but it was the best I could do with the image I had. So I would scale it down in the artwork, if I go with this design.

  4. Stephanie L says:

    Four. Absolutely says we’re in his thoughts. That’s gorgeous.

  5. mandyharpist says:

    I like 4 the best, and I feel like it matches the style of Fitzwilliam Darcy’s book the best.

  6. Wyndwhyspyr says:

    Three. It’s perfect.

  7. Alyssa says:

    I love that you’re continuing the cover feel from “Fitzwilliam Darcy in His Own Words”, it makes for a cohesive look. With that in mind, I’d pick version 3.

  8. Alyssa says:

    I need to make a correction. Cover 4 is the one I like that would continue the feel of “Fitzwilliam Darcy in His Own Words.”
    Apparently, I can’t match titles with the correct picture.

    While I like cover 3, the border around the edge reminds me when photographers realized they could add the line border in photos… and then they added it to everything. 😂

  9. Robin G. says:

    I like #4 best, with #3 in second place.

  10. Nicole says:

    Cant pick between 2&4 love them both

  11. Melanie Rice says:

    Number three hands down, it shows a contemplative Col. Brandon and is perfection in its simplicity. His gaze says it all, he is hansom no doubt but still waters run deep. IMHO

  12. Suzanne says:

    Three is my favorite…the introspective Colonel Brandon just ‘fits’.

  13. I love #3. It captures his essence so well.

  14. Definitely three — I like the single image; the rest feel too busy, and I really like how thoughtful he looks. I also prefer the subtitle against his dark hair. The only part I don’t like is the yellow lettering for the main title. It’s a bit distracting. Overall, though, this is my fave, with #4 as the runner-up. 😉

  15. Janet Taylor says:

    I like #3. It is simple but poignant! He is introspective and draws me in.
    Good luck with your decision.

  16. Elin Eriksen says:

    I like #1 because of the agony written on Colonel Brandon’s face in combination with the HEA on top. It sets of a lot of emotions and I like to be moved.
    Best wishes on choosing a cover, it’s not easy to decide.

  17. Sonia says:

    My pick is #3. We see the introspective man without any distractions. Although I do love the expression on his face in #1. Remove the picture of the Colonel and Marianne at the top and the picture would be perfect, I think.

  18. Marilyn Neely says:

    I like #3. Colonel Brandon appears to be reflecting on something important from his life. He has had quite a life and is well-acquainted with grief and disappointment. The photo itself is simplistic and matches the title well
    His thoughts lead to his words.

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