‘Haywired’ cover process diary

So one of the projects I’ve been working on lately for Mogzilla Publishing his been this – the cover for a steampunk novel by new author Alex Keller.

The process went something like this:

1) I created some cover design concept sketches (some of which are above), which were looked at by various people from different levels of responsibility – including, in this case, the author, which is apparently quite unusual. Mogzilla is a small company where everyone will be asked for an opinion – obviously not the case for somewhere like Penguin, say! We also made a mini mood-board of covers of books currently available for the same age range/genre.

3) We decided to go with the metal heart concept, which I dutifully drew using references showing ‘real’ (or at least, real diagrams of) human hearts. I coloured it up and began to mock-up a more polished version of the cover. Obviously at this point it looks iffy at best!

4) Added more cover elements to build up a more complete-looking image – the plaque, wires, newer, better font, etc. Tweaked and re-coloured until it all came together – agreed with the client on a purple/bronze colour-scheme as they weren’t keen on the green/silver (apparently green books often sell badly! Who knew?). Began working on the back.

5) Designed this little fella – a HELOT if you’re interested! – to add a bit of extra interest to the back cover. Also made a paper texture and designed spaces for the blurb and barcode/logos.

6) Pulled everything together in InDesign! Almost finished, & was blogged about by Alex, the author. Who seems happy! The font was changed once more at this point, due to some licensing problems, but ultimately the design was signed off. Huzzah!

Of course I’ve glossed over the ins-and-outs, techniques, etc. this time, but I hope it still all makes sense to everyone!

As I enjoy a bit of darkness and drama, and haven’t fully designed/illustrated a cover before, this was a fun project work work on. The book also looks to be a tip-top story (yes, I have read it, and it is available for pre-release reviews for those who may be interested). I imagine that fans of fantasy/sci-fi/steampunk that doesn’t take itself too seriously would enjoy it.


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6 Responses to “‘Haywired’ cover process diary”

  1. michaeljin Says:


  2. Alex Keller Says:

    Well done, Rachel. Looks great!

  3. Jonathan Powell Says:

    Excellent work

  4. Hilary Powell Says:

    Looks wonderful and will look very eye catching on the shelves.

  5. Helen de Ste Croix Says:

    Looks brilliant, well done.

  6. Roger Keller Says:

    I really like the design. it has a great visual strength and you can recognise the heart features.

    Well done.

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