Cover design by Carol Hillinger
“I used paint swatches in the rainbow colors and wrote humorous paint color
names to symbolize Jeffrey’s journey.”
Carol Hillinger freelance art director
Cover design by Carol Hillinger
“Jeffrey’s so caught up, so close to his chaotic and crazy life it’s hard
for him to really find himself. It’s not until he takes measures to drive
the distance and step back that things become clear and he can really see
himself. This book design symbolizes this struggle. View it close and it
seems a chaotic, crazy mix of colorful circles–but step back and view it
as you might on a shelf at a book store, and an image of a man with his
eyes closed (also symbolizing Jeffrey not wanting to see himself for who he
really is) takes shape.”
Carol Hillinger is a freelance art director
Cover design by Debbie Pahls
“This typographical solution integrates the title of the book “Sweet by Design” and the name of the author as part of a damask wallpaper pattern. The sweet, flowery vintage feel of the wallpaper would fit in well in Audrey’s Chicago Gold Coast residence, and it is a nod to Jeffrey’s profession as an interior designer. This wall covering is beautiful and elegant, however it is a layer that is beginning to pucker and peel. It is starting to reveal the not-so-pretty wall that is it hiding behind it. This visual is symbolic of Jeffrey peeling away his layers to get to the truth and revealing his reality.”
Debbie Pahls is a freelance art director in Kansas City.
Cover design by Dave Wittekind
It’s obviously playing on the difficulty of “coming out of the closet”. I aimed for simplicity and a lightness of tone to compliment the book. (The figure is based on Giocometti’s famous “Walking Man” sculpture.)
Congratulations on a wonderful book. As someone who spent every summer in Egg Harbor!
Cover design by Marcus Chavez
“I think the cake is a natural image that is both a play on the title and relates to weddings and birthdays, major elements of the plot. I also think the quirkiness of the story requires bright colors, but I tweaked the image to suggest a patina of elegance, a trait of Audrey, the stabilizing force in the story.”
Marcus Chavez is Sr. Graphic Design Specialist at FLIR Commercial Systems, Inc
Cover design by Jennifer Meinders
“Sweet By Design is such a great title it doesn’t deserve to be slapped on a page. It needs to have a little design of its own.
You could say there are many metaphors in this book cover. The faceless man. The decorative background. The man blending into the background. Or is he coming out of the background?
However you read into it, I just wanted to do a cover that says, ‘hey, this looks like a cool book to read.'”
Jennifer is a freelance art director based in Chicago. jennifermeinders.com
Cover design by Bernie Gomez
“Simple design, yet many metaphors. Choice, consequence, deliberation, regret…”
Bernie is an AD/ Group Creative Director at Euro RSCG, Chicago
Cover design by Dave Wittekind
The novel is really engaging and has some great characters. I love the way it’s being unrolled also. Kind of like the old magazine serialized stories.
Anyway, I haven’t seen too many illustrated submissions so far, so I thought I’d go that way. As for any sort of “artist’s statement”, I guess I took a pretty literal route, with Jeffrey sitting somewhat self-consciously looking toward a hidden framed art piece, as if there’s “more to this picture”.
Thanks for opening up this contest. Lots of incredible submissions so far. I’m really looking forward to the rest.
Cover design by Robin Williams
My design may seem simplistic, but my thoughts were that the positive symbol could be interpreted as both a reminder of the HIV or as a crossroad in life.
Cover design by Stephen MacDonald
I am a recent graduate from Columbia College Chicago and I am looking for work as a copywriter. Below is a link to my portfolio.
Cover design by Stacy E. Layman
For this design, I liked the reference to the interior designing of the main character, but also to it being a fairly blank canvas. He’s going through this journey and discovering his new life. He’s starting anew, much like he does when he starts a new project. This time, the project is himself.
Cover design by Puja Shah
“I went with playing with the ‘?’ that symbolizes the questions/ confusion
Jeffery Sweet might have in his head and the ‘S’ in the book title/his name
‘Sweet’. Added the background color for the pride.”
Formerly at Euro RSCG, Puja is now an art director working in Switzerland.
Two cover designs by Christopher Scott
Christopher Scott | colorandstory firstname.lastname@example.org
Cover design by Rich Wakefield
“It should be: A Novel. (Big) Sweet by Design (small)”
Rich is an art director/creative director. This is his second contribution to the Rogue’s Gallery: http://theroguesgallery.wordpress.com/photo/
Two cover designs by Christopher Pradzinski
Evening observation. I debated heavily on whether or not to use the skyline but I found the gold lights of Lake Shore Drive to be a great representation of what makes the Gold Coast the enchanting jewel of Chicago. As he is an interior designer, I imagine Jeffrey’s character falling for its charm and allure. The picture also represents the night and how lonely and massive it can be, it’s easy to get consumed and lost if you don’t know who you are.
I used floral vintage background to represent the interior design side of the story line. The colorful blades are meant to represent three things 1) an onion, as the layers are pulled back, we are invited to see the challenges and complexities of our character’s life and 2) a flower, each pedal represents a different side of who we are, we are many things to many people, to some we are a friend, to others a client, some a co-worker and of course we are a brother and a son. Lastly 3) the colors are a subtle representation of a rainbow.
Daylight observation. Though the skyline and blue skies are beautiful and the life on Chicago’s gold coast can be mesmerizing, it’s also very easy to get lost and/or consumed.
The blurriness of the character accomplishes two things allows the viewer finish the details of Jeffrey Sweet’s look with their own imagination and also is meant to remind us real life is not always lived with a simplified clarity, the swoosh or brush stroke which comes across the eyes like a mask is also to remind us of the mask (image of ourselves) we choose or must present to others in order to be accepted. Sooner or later, you must choose to continue the live lie or start living your truth.
I choose the chair only because the tree design reminds everyone of us that we all have different branches to our personalities, we can show our friends one side of ourselves, co-workers another, while showing our family a completely different side.
Lastly the typeface was chosen for its clean lines, something an interior designer who must court a Gold Coast Clientele could appreciate. I can envision the attitude, the subtle arrogance needed to climb the ranks and become an established force. The rich love to buy their look and their designer.
Two cover designs by Scott Shellstrom
“See, Hear, Speak no Evil.”
Sweet is so worried how others see him he never truly sees himself.
The photo is 3 separate shots combined. I believe the image is provocative and begs the viewer to interpret. The shot is rough; if chosen I would take the time to do it better
What would Sweet pack for his Dad’s birthday in Wisconsin? He would probably pack as little as possible in his Halliburton Zero. After all, his “Emotional Baggage” is filled with lies.
Cover design by Bryant Benoit
Acrylic on canvas, 16 x 20.
“I see Jeffery as a hustler in the interior design world, a pimp in his own mind. Audrey is the boss and Kara is a “casualty of doing business”. The scene sets up as Jeffery in the Hugo Boss suit and pink tie.
The reflection in the mirror is of his true inner self and also represents his idol Audrey and her flamboyance.
Symbolism of the pink tree represents Jeffery’s history and knowledge he has gained thru his relationships in the interior design world and growing up gay.
The grave represents his mortality, his dealing with HIV. The door and path represents his life choices.
The broken ladder represents his climb to success or what he perceives as success.
The clock in the window represents time and the untimely incidents that have profound effects on his life.
The curtain is his fabric as a designer. It also represents a shield or wall he has built up in his personal and professional life. He soon finds, that with all of his transparent windows overlapping, that his shield or curtain can no longer hide his secrets.
The Hugo Boss shadow represents his past. No matter where he goes, his past follows.
The overlapping windows represent his secrets or his life dimensions that are coming to light.
At the very top, the window with the figure climbing in/out is his only escape… his heaven… his peace.”
Cover design by Bernie Gomez
“Lying like Jeffrey has is enough to keep any sane person up at night. I picture him debating the voices from within and from without, in an attempt to rationalize and justify his questionable choices. My cover submission is more a representation of his tormented soul imprisoned by the deceptive tastiness of his fabricated life.”
Cover design by Rei Young
“Fabulous chandelier for the fabulous Jeffrey.”
Cover design by Teresa Jay
No photo fess. I took most of the pics with my iPhone. For the rest, I had to use a slightly larger camera. My helicopter could not get close enough to snap with the iPhone. 😉
Two cover designs by Dana Lambert
I wanted to design a cover that would grab your attention and at least make you open the book and read the inside flap. I did this by combining unlikely stock images (no limitations unless you’re planning on selling over 500,000 books) and then manipulating the colors to make them “pop.” I choose the rainbow chocolate because it is sweet (a play on words, obviously) and colorful (similar to a pride flag). The frame, commonly used in interior decorating, can also be viewed as a mask since the man is hiding behind it. Will the hidden man’s “true” colors show in the end?
I wanted to design a cover that was more “graphic” in nature. I decided to make an “upscale” chair with a party-hat as the focus of the piece. The chair pays homage to interior design while the party-hat foreshadows the b-day party to come. The man in the back is silhouetted out because he has been living in the dark- not revealing the truth to his brother or family. What events in the book will come to light?
I am a graphic design student by night at Columbia College and by day I work full-time at a non-profit that plans and presents a giant Humanities Festival each fall. I began my journey as an art student but veered off track to explore other careers; I find myself coming full-circle and returning to the thing I love doing most- designing! This is the first time I’ve attempted cover artwork.
Cover design by Jennifer Griffith
There’s something fun about the juxtaposition of a sweet cupcake smashed on the ground.
My name is Jennifer Griffith and I’m a digital designer
Cover design by William Shandling
I wanted to incorporate some of the more disparate details of the novel into the cover art in a way that would be intriguing but without revealing their relationship to one another. For the sake of using a face image that I had the rights to, I snapped a quick shot of myself before running it through the usual Photoshop machinations. So if it somehow beats some of the incredible designs already submitted, I’d get my ugly mug on a novel cover, too.
William Shandling is a copywriter intern working in Chicago.
Cover design by Lindsay Anderson
Lindsay is Senior Art Director/Designer, Kellogg School of Business. She is co-founder of the band, L’altra, and a mom working and living in Chicago for the past 13 years.
Cover design by John Versical
Loving “Sweet by Design”. My wife and I are both reading it. I had my still camera in the bedroom after shooting lightning out the window from last night’s storm. When we woke up this morning and saw the sunlight pouring through the window onto our antique dresser I saw a nice shot that might be a nice cover for the book, and took it. Attached is the result for consideration. 🙂 Who knows!
And yes, we really do have a headless mannequin in our bedroom. My wife is a former/sometimes current costume designer, which, I think makes it normal.
Cover design by Louis Goldberg
“I am a graphic designer…background is corporate communications, having worked at several design and PR firms, and in in-house marketing departments at major financial and real estate companies based in Chicago.”
Two cover designs by Emmet Emma Isabella Grahn
Someone shared your project via a link on Facebook, so your social network “experiment” is working 😉
My concept: A book is always a gift, since you never know what the story is inside. In this case it also symbolizing the fathers 80th birthday, which we’re assuming is when Jeffrey’s coming out? “Happy Birthday, Father. I’m gay!” The background resembles wallpaper, evoking interior design.
I’m a graphic design student (until graduating in September) who also loves to read, so publishing is where I’m heading! Swedish by origin, I’m living in Hamburg now, but looking forward settling down in San Francisco.
Cover design by Paige Miller
Paige is a junior AD working, and looking for work, in Chicago.
Cover design by Jo Stichbury.
“Strange experience designing a cover, I’m normally on the other side of the fence: an author – usually whining about the publisher’s choice of cover! I’ve chosen a shattered/exploding disco ball to represent Jeffrey Sweet’s experiences in the book. The font is something I’ve wanted to use for ages. Graphics are stock photos (no limitations unless you’re planning on selling over 500,000 books).”
Jo resides and works in the UK.
Cover designs by Davi Cambraia Barros
“Super cool idea. Not just because of the iPad =) but giving a chance to designers, illustrators and creatives -both very nice and clever… I am a Brazilian art directior (jr.) working in Hamburg, Germany. Right now I am trying to develop my own style of illustration. After reading about your idea at Creativity-Online, I thought to myself: why not? So, here are two different covers using the same illustration technique.”
Cover designs by Michael Franzese
“Attached are a couple of cover submissions for your ‘experiment’. They use stock photos (one RF the other RM) so there would be costs to purchase the images through Getty if you choose one.”
Cover 1: What better way for a designer’s life to go to hell.
Down a fabulous staircase.
Cover 2: Life is a game and that game…is complicated.
Everything from thought to finish.
Cover design by Claudio Venturini
“This cover represents the world that Jeffrey Sweet has created for himself, a space which is just a facade like so many he has designed before.”
Art Director, Claudio Venturini’s contact information.
(415) 794 7893
Cover design by Joanne Gipson
“Get ready for one sweet coming out party.”
Joanne was an art director/creative director at Euro RSCG before taking time off to be a mom and take on other interests.
Cover design by James Filut
“Some texture and a smile.”
Cover design by Tad DeWree
“A cover is an invitation. It should provoke interest, provide a tease and set the tone for the story…The irony of life, design, sexuality and story are teased in the design. Getting iconic, the lampshade is the mask as well as a hint to the world of the story, the titling the “flourish”, the flower represents the secret, and the naked body the sexual perspective. Instead of giving answers it provokes questions: who is he? whats the story? What is meant by Sweet? Is the “design” literal or figurative? To distinguish between the subject and the author, the simple “a novel”, clarifies.
Best thought? When scanning a crowded bookstore or online site, what design, colors, graphic say “hmmm, that’s interesting…”
Available for corporate gigs.
(Except during Longhorn football games.)
Cover design by Will Payovich
“Facing the truth means you’re simply seeing yourself for the first time.”
Will Payovich is an art director by trade and the Director of Creative Services at Euro RSCG in Chicago. (Yes, he’s the first colleague of mine to submit!)
Cover design by Lou Goldberg
“My cover is simple…the lamp and the “chain pull” are deliberately vibrant red…the lamp is an interior design element, but the red also symbolizes the character as a person with a soul…the chain ultimately representing tear drops of blood…symbolizing the “letting go” of one’s old identity and becoming new, and the expression of one’s vulnerability to the outside world…
…I am a graphic designer…background is corporate communications, having worked at several design and PR firms, and in in-house marketing departments at major financial and real estate companies based in Chicago.”
Cover design by Megan Mitzel
“I drew this by hand and then put it on my computer where touched it up. I wanted to depict Jeffrey on the struggle bus! The cupcake is a shout-out to the birthday journey…
…Looks like everyone else is doing an “about me”- so I’ll jump off the bridge with them: By day I play with social media and marketing while working for an awesome blog advertising company; by night I create handmade cards for fun (www.cantforgetcards.blogspot.com). You can catch me here: www.twitter.com/megsterr”
Cover design by Helene B
“The attached is one idea that uses graphic paper as the background (graphic paper to symbolize both Jeffery Sweet as an interior designer, but also a larger symbolism of how graphic paper can be used to ‘graph’ our life, design/organize our life and where life takes us; something that I’ve taken from already about the main character of Jeffrey Sweet, but also could be applied to Audrey or any other character. The couch symbolizes (obviously) a main element in an interior designer’s toolbox (duh!), but also has connotations of sitting and talking, sharing, thinking about, etc of complex thoughts including life’s journey. (I’ve used the word journey to also allude to the upcoming journey back home to Green Bay). And last but not least, I’ve used the hint of purple, for the obvious (but subtle) reference to Sweet being gay. (Subtle because at the end of chapter 3 we see that his wardrobe will be transformed so that he appears more subtle in all black).”
Cover design by Meagan Ross
“I went with the idea of fish all swimming together and then one deciding to go the other way. Your name holds the hook, revealing Sweet’s decision to live a more honest life.”
Meagan works at a small marketing firm in the southwest, and attended an even smaller school. She has aspirations to work at a bigger firm, perhaps in Chicago or New York.
Cover design by Zachary Finn
“Yo, Steffan! My name is Zachary Finn and here is my entry–it’s all done by hand in Microsoft Paint, which was pretty difficult to pull off, but I managed to do it by the grace of God Almighty. The letters go in a maze-like function because the main character seems confused about his gayness. The mouth at the top has a gold tooth in it, which can happen if you eat too much sugar, or in this case, if you’re too “Sweet.” I put a rainbow flag at the bottom as a sign of support for the gay community.”
I didn’t know whether his cover is a put-on or just wonderfully perverse. Zach told me it was the latter. You be the judge.
Zach is a freshman at the College of Southern Idaho, where he is getting a degree in digital media. He’s a full-time student with a part-time job. I’m guessing he could use the free Ipad
Cover design by Margaret Mcannister
“This concept is strongly rooted in the idea of a gay main character and the font I used hints at his sweetness factor. As for me, I attend Iowa Western Community College and have taken only a few classes in graphic arts, but I hope I win!”
Cover design by Madison Morris
Birthday cake – name of the author and title should be made by actual cake decorator. Perhaps a small piece removed to reveal the title/author under.
PS: I am currently staying at home w/ a newborn and a very active toddler – it can explain a shaggy hurried execution.
Cover art by Teresa Jay
“Creative Director – Art– my books, my paintings, my MAC and I are adrift in my Mecca trying to make it work. These are the things I like doing to the point that I lose all track of time — reading, painting, singing, creating new stuff. Couldn’t afford music lessons but I still sit in with a couple groups around town. I’ve read thousands of books and majored in painting and marketing in college. I started my circuitous advertising career in Detroit working on car accounts and starring wistfully off into the western skyline. After several years of that, I spent another fifteen years on the east coast working on consumer, health care and pharmaceutical accounts. Eventually I began the trek back, lugging my books and paintings with me. I stopped in Cleveland for three years as Creative Director for a pharmaceutical agency — bought more books, made more paintings. Finally I got my directions and myself together and I made it to Chicago where I find myself starring wistfully at Lake Michigan every chance I get. This is my first book cover design.”
Cover design by Richard Wiley
“The image has been distorted and manipulated and is a monkey. The evolution of man, some believe, began with monkeys, so I thought of Mr. Sweet as a monkey going through a transformation to become a man. The way I made the letters of the title shows the ups and downs of life…
…I mow lawns right now to pay for my college tuition and I sure could use that iPad. I go to school in Kansas.”
Cover design by Madison Morris
“I have no formal training in graphic (sweet or otherwise) design. I do not work as a art director. As a matter of fact, I am as close to adland/creative field in general as Lindsay is to winning an Oscar.”
Your turn! Examine the synopsis and start reading chapters. Submit your design anytime via JPEG or PDF to Steffan1@rcn.com. (Book size is roughly 6″ x 9″ but that can be worked out later.) Designs may be illustration or photography. Your design must be legally usable by me any way I see fit: book cover, advertisements, publicity, website, etc…
Your design will appear right here.
The contest goes on until just after last chapter is published. If you have questions, please write me at the above email address. If you have insecurities, get over them. I did.