Your Cover Art

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.


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


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:


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.”

Benoit Gallery on Facebook


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
Jennifer’s blog


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
Claudio’s Website


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.”

James’ blog


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.)

Tad’s blog


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 (  You can catch me here:


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.

Madison Morris/linkedin

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 (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.


114 Responses to Your Cover Art

  1. Jasmine says:

    Zach’s cover has got to be a joke.
    Just saying…

  2. michal says:

    Madison’s idea and design is really sweet!

  3. tjay says:

    These new ones by Michael Franzese are very effective. Tough choice between the spiral staircase to hell and the blind-folded boy about to wack the pinata in the game of life. Sweet!

  4. BrianneLise says:

    i’m 100% for will’s design. although some of us claim not to judge books by their covers, we do. will’s design (dunno what the graphic is but it looks sorta currinish/mad men) pushes my aesthetic buttons and evokes “international high-literature.” i don’t know if the S is intended to be a point or so higher than the D but it appears that way to me. (yes, i used a post-it to spot-check.) think the text or background color could use a little tweaking for contrast’s sake.

  5. Fave So Far says:

    I like the Staircase, Men in Pants and the Flowerpot in that order…

  6. christine says:

    Really like the the black silhouette figure in room (orange cover)! It makes sense because it’s like a self-portrait, maybe commenting on the main characters inner struggle.

  7. Nice. I still like my stairs, but the shattering disco ball is pretty awesome. Way to go Jo!

  8. Jackson 15 says:

    Really liking the crystal ball execution. Dig the typeface.

  9. Robert says:

    I would buy this book just by looking at the cover (made by Madisons – I like idea of birthday cake) 🙂

  10. bob says:

    There are some good options here, I’m liking the orange cover with the silhouette the best. Treatment to “Sweet by design”, the silhouette and the color choices are working really well.

  11. SRP says:

    Looks like Claudio has a fan club. Well deserved…

  12. clason says:

    i have to agree with bob, some good work here but in terms of illustrating the story of jeffrey sweet … claudio did a great job.

  13. Ashley Shipley says:

    My current pick is Lindsay Anderson’s. Although it doesn’t link as intricately with the story as some of the other covers, I think this general theme will help to not alienate a large portion of the target demo/assumed target demo. The melting of sickly sweet honey could touch on the deteriorating facade that Jeffery has created. Maybe?
    I love the vivid contrast in color as well as opposing typeface. This is a cover I’d proudly display within my book collection.

    Great concept Steffan. I love looking at all the potential covers (and reading the chapters of course)!

  14. Fantastic Jazz says:

    Megan’s takes the cake- great colors and balance. Love how the cupcake is positioned just below the cutout of the G, as if it could be a swirl of smoke from the candle. Great work!

  15. Deborah says:

    I have been informed of the intense story line of this book. In my mind I love Dana Lambert’s design with the picture frame. It is colorful and draws me to the cover which I would want to pick-up and read.

  16. HB says:

    I think a lot of the book cover designs are sweet (sorry about that, not punny). That said, Dana Lambert’s frame design is easily my favorite. Dana does a great job explaining its meaning: “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 find that to be profound. The image is also intriguing as a thumbnail; makes me want to click on it to get a better look.

  17. Rem says:

    I was intrigued by this competition since it combines two loves of mine: graphic design and books! I kept returning to Will Payovich’s design for its humor and simplicity, but ultimately came back to the very first design listed here, the one by Dana Lambert of the frame with the rainbow-colored candies. It’s unusual, visually arresting, and is bound to catch the book browser’s eye. Plus, I was struck by the hands holding up the frame—you instantly get the sense that there’s a man hiding behind the frame—as well as the sense of light reflecting off the frame.

  18. LLK says:

    After reviewing all these images submitted there is one that stands out. I am drawn to the image of the man holding the frame by Dana Lambert. I think there is depth and mystery to the cover art. It conveys a sense of suspense since you don’t know who is behind the frame. It also has a sense humor since there are brightly colored chocolates being displayed in such an ornate frame.

    I think she did the best job explaining her art, and seems to be the most relevant in relation to the storyline. Can’t wait to see this book once its published!

  19. Andrew says:

    When it comes to having people deal with personal issues, it’s always moving to see shadows or silhouettes. The man is coming to grips with serious moving moments that will forever change his life. Having bright colors or silly images makes me wonder about the topic of the book.

    Dana Lambert’s book cover gives the gritty feeling while making a reader want to pick up the book. The colors, lines, even the individual birthday hat makes me go, “Why is it there, and what is the man’s image doing behind the chair?”

    If you’re looking to market a book that will get passing potential reader to stop and pick it up, this is the one. With hundreds of books fighting for one’s attention, especially in today’s book market, why not make them wonder what lies within the two covers.

  20. Ian says:

    Cool contest. I tried to imagine myself browsing the new fiction table, waiting for something to grab my attention. I really like the first two, the egg/frame one drew me in but ultimately the purple one is a book I’d want on my shelf. I did like the staircase as well, but I prefer covers without photos because the photo always winds up in my mental picture of the story.

  21. Yani says:

    There is something intriguing about the first cover proposal of Dana Lambert. It invites the reader to want to discover what’s behind the frame. I like the intensity of it and makes me want to read the book.

  22. Megan Mc says:

    I love megan mitzel’s cover design. its bold and pops and really gets your attention. its simplicity is eye catching and i would definetly pick it up if i saw it at a book store!

  23. Francis says:

    I believe Dana Lambert’s because the cover conveys strong emotions and almost challenges and dares me to open the book. Its just wonderful and powerful.

  24. Amber says:

    There are really some amazing covers here. The cover by Jennifer Griffith of the smashed cupcake is good, but my two favorite covers are the first two by Dana Lambert. The colors in on the first cover are bold and it would really capture my attention on a book shelf. The second cover is my favorite though. The silhouette of he man really makes the cover.

  25. Alfonso says:

    Dana’s Cover 1 is my pick. At first, the colors and shades quickly caught my attention, but later, after reading the design’s description and how it relates to the story, I thought it was simply perfect for this book. This cover is not only beautiful, but carries a deep message. I’m impressed. I also like Michael’s Cover 1, but it is just not as well thought-out as the before-mentioned one.

  26. Debbie Clarke says:

    My pick is Dana’s. I like the play on words that the picture represents. The rainbow colored candy and the mask over the man’s face!! Definitely my favorite!!

  27. Wanda Kimsey says:

    Love Dana Lambert’s art work for the book cover, especially the chair with the birthday hat. Causes one to think and arouses curiousity as to what the book is about and what it reveals.

  28. SRP says:

    Dana’s got herself quite the fan club -deservedly so!

  29. JH says:

    While many of the covers hit on one or two of the themes; design, identity(sexual and otherwise) and the Sweet tie in, as well as eye catching artwork, Dana Lambert’s first design brings all of the elements together in the most striking manner. The idea of the frame as a mask is wonderful.

  30. Suzy B says:

    Some attractive new additions and a couple duds… I still like the “Pants” and/or “Staircase” best.

  31. Bob L says:

    Dana Lambert did an amazing job of using the frame to cover the man’s face while using rainbow colored chocolates to sweeten things up. The colors of the chocolates really pop while the man stays shadowed in the foreground. The idea of hiding behind something (such as the fate of his life) is cleverly depicted in this cover. Well done! I would be intrigued to pick this book up.

  32. VLW says:

    Dana’s covers are my choice. I especially like the cover with the frame, which makes me want to pick up the book and start reading to find out what lures behind the mask. Indeed, “will the hidden man’s “true” colors show in the end?”

  33. Barb Bailey says:

    I vote for Bryant Benoit!!

  34. Lynda Herbert Parrott says:

    I totaly love Bryant Benoits cover..So original and intriguing! ..and the! Leaves me wanting to know..whats inside?

  35. Joey Benoit says:

    I love the cover design by Bryant Benoit. Excellent choice of colors and artistic expression.

  36. marilyn lajoie says:

    bryant benoit’s illustration is my fav….great color comb, & pleasant vibe…attracts the eye.

  37. Monique Miller says:

    My vote is for Bryant Benoit’s cover. A very artistic use of symbolism and color.

  38. Jennifer Sinclair says:

    My vote goes to Bryant Benoit. I like the way he ties everything up, symbolically for Jeffrey.

  39. Erika Hebert says:

    My absolute favorite is the Cover design by Bryant Benoit. I am ready to start reading the book with this cover. It’s inviting!

  40. Shawn Thibeaux says:

    After reviewing all the images submitted there is one that stands out. I really love the cover design by Bryant Benoit. I think he brings an excellent choice of colors and artistic expression for a cover design.

  41. Claudio Venturini is my favorite thus far and it is characteristic of your other book covers. Bryant Benoit’s has the most character.

  42. Traci Jells says:

    My vote is for Bryant Benoit’s cover.

  43. Melissa Benoit-Lemoins says:

    The design that is most appealing,original and intriguing to me goes to Bryant Benoit. I think the book cover gives a hint of the content and it sparks your interest to want to read. The color choices are also inviting.. Great Job Bryant!

  44. Lizzy Living says:

    They say “Never judge a book by it’s cover” but in this case they are sooo wrong. I think Bryant Benoit’s illustration is the only one that catches my attention. Can’t wait for the book now!!!

  45. Lizzy Living says:

    They say “Never judge a book by it’s cover” but this time they got it sooo wrong. I think Bryant Benoit’s illustration is the best I’ve seen. Can’t wait to read the book.

  46. ESBuchanan says:

    I love Bryant Benoit’s cover. There is so much mystery and symbolism in the depiction. I am very curious to see how the whole story unfolds. I would imagine Jeffrey Sweet is a very complex man with some sort of storm raging to cause those curtains to stir that much. This cover shows how much one facet of a person’s life inpacts and overlays on so many other facets.

  47. Candy Duhe says:

    I love Bryant Benoit’s cover. It has the book totally summed up in the cover and the symbolism is awesome!

  48. Michelle McZeal says:

    I vote for Bryant Benoit’s cover. The illustration kept me engaged and I am looking forward to reading this book. Awesome Job!

  49. Pingback: Covers for Steffan Postaer’s Novel | Shellstrom Creative

  50. Jeana Anderson says:

    These are all so different, but I’m torn between the chandelier and the disco ball. Do you get to reveal your favorites?

    • SRP says:

      I like those two for sure. And several others. A lot.
      I’m not going to reveal my favorite(s) until a winner is chosen.
      And I’m not choosing the winner all by myself.

  51. rachel thibeaux says:

    Some great possible covers – of course, some are a bit boring/usual… However, I do have to say that Bryant Benoit’s work on a book cover, would make me interrupt a complete stranger and ask what book they’re reading because I’d be so intrigued by the story depicted in the art! Great Work!

  52. tjay says:

    I have read a few novels and that staircase by Michael Franzese is still working for me.

  53. Justine says:

    I love Dana Lambert’s cover with the picture frame! I think the way she tied in the colors, candy and frame and the meaning behind them is awesome.

  54. T Jones says:

    I have artwork in by home by Bryant Benoit. I get comments on it from everyone who walks in. I have had to place several orders for more of the same print for friends that walked into my home and wanted a copy. As an avid reader, I would pick this book by the cover if I was walking by the new book section to see what it was about.

  55. librarian anne says:

    You have some very wonderful work to review. As an airport bookstore browser (and a Masters in Library science book person), the design that would make me want to buy is Lindsay’s dripping honeycomb cover. Her maturity and subtlety is amazing (minimal but not cold). It is sensual, organic and enough color to stand out in the clutter, but not too much to be visually misleading. thoughtful without over thinking (maturity). It can sell a book (sophisticated).

  56. Tad Dewree says:

    Steven McDonald hit a homerun. Clever, intuitive and evocative. I want to read that book.

    Might even be better than mine.


  57. Goupry says:

    Really like the first cover made by Christopher Scott and the one made by Jennifer Griffith. Nice colours, clear and effective layout.

  58. DaveR says:

    The cover with the boy and pinata made me want to read the book. The fact that the pinata is so out of reach and yet he is joyful, expectant and totally clueless is terrific. Make the pinata more rainbow colored and you have a perfect cover. (Sorry, the CD in me slipped out.)

  59. Beth says:

    I’m partial to the staircase. Great imagery!

  60. Gene P. says:

    Two faves:
    Pinata by Michael Franzese
    Daylight Observation by Chris Pradzinski

    Followed closely by:
    Bucket by Tad DeWree
    Hive by Lindsay Anderson
    Cupcake by Jennifer Griffith

    Good luck!

  61. Aidan Gilbert says:

    I really like the staircase, both visually and metaphorically. I especially like the sense of movement — isn’t it funny how we tend to rush into descent at full speed?

  62. Charles says:

    What a wonderful array of covers. Should be tough to choose the winner.
    There are some that are better than others, Dana’s frame image is very attractive and stands out. It’s bold and yet charming at the same time. Hiding behind the jellybeans gives the reader a mixed feeling on who the character is. My other vote goes to Claudio’s interior room. It lends itself to the story. Not knowing anything about the book I have to believe there is a twist to the meaning of why he chose to depict the character as part of the decor of the room.

    Good luck with your decision.

  63. Pingback: “Sweet by Design” book cover submissionDave's Ink Illustration | Dave's Ink Illustration

  64. Pingback: Sweet by design

  65. tjay says:

    I vote for the Dave Wittekind cover.

  66. Mary Whitehead says:

    There are many amazing covers here, but my favorite is the first by Dana Lambert. I love the way she used the sharp bright colors of the candies against the ornate frame, it really grabs the viewer’s eye.

  67. Thomas says:

    My favorite is Dana Lambert’s picture frame. It makes you think!

    Who is behind the frame? It is a man. He must be someone who is in the “Design” business — look at that ornate frame. Could that person be gay? The colors in the frame make you wonder. Is he hiding his identity or his thoughts? Is it the content of the frame that is “Sweet” or the person — or is that a last name?

    I think this cover will capture the readers interest. Bravo Dana!

  68. Good Gawd! You have choices!

  69. Many fine choices, indeed.

    I’m going to cast my official vote:

    Cover design by Rei Young – “Hanging Chandelier”

  70. Jeff G says:

    Wow, this is an amazing collection of covers. This internet thing may just yet catch on.

    If I had to pick one, I really like the Honey Comb design by Lindsay Anderson. It has a visual stopping power that would make me pick it up in a book store and I think the design connects to the title in a very smart, simple and organic way.


  71. Ashton Lee says:

    I’ll go with Tad DeWree’s design.

    The visual is intriguing, and captures both decorating and coming out. And it avoids all the wrong connotations of sweet.

  72. Sarah says:

    What a great selection of covers! I love Dana Lamberts, her cover really stuck with me all day. Dana’s cover is bold, to the point and you cannot ignore the great colors.

  73. Stephanie says:

    My favorite is the book cover with the beautiful array of colors. (When I was scanning through the selection, I was drawn back to this particular cover because the idea was so addicting. There’s some kind of mystery seeing someone holding the frame, but no face. I, especially liked the lightening throughout the image.

  74. Wanda Kimsey says:

    Voted previously and I still think Dana Lambert’s are the best!

  75. Maria says:

    The first Lambert cover just nails it. Professional presentation, interesting contrast of images, and a wonderful pallette.

  76. Maia Reed says:

    I love the first cover by Dana Lambert, it’s incredibly creative. As someone notorious for judging books by their cover, I know this will catch browser’s eyes!

  77. Matt says:

    I like concept 1 from Dana Lambert. Those metallic jelly beans are really eye-catching.

  78. Ian says:

    I left a comment a couple of months ago, but I’m still partial to the Dana Lambert designs. I’m seeing that other people like the first of Lambert’s two submissions, but I’m partial to the second, graphic design: it’s different, it’s eye catching, it will stand out on a table full of glossy jackets, and it doesn’t look dated when you pull it off your shelf for a second read.

  79. Andi says:

    I have to agree with Ian, I think Dana Lambert’s more graphic looking submission is eye catching. It is visually simple yet tells a complex story. I love the bold chair with the party hat… a curious combination when combined with the illusive man standing in the background. Not to mention, pin stripes! I’ve noticed the colors are a little muted depending on your monitor quality but I am sure that could be easily fixed by the artist for printing. Way to go Dana!

  80. Adam Crell says:

    I think Dana Lambert’s cover artwork is the most professional looking and visually stimulating submission that I’ve seen. I’m partial to her first graphic design of the man behind the frame. Not only do the colors contrast beautifully with one another, but I’m impressed by how well the imagery blends with the context of the novel – creating an overwhelming sense of curiosity not only about the man behind the frame but the pages behind the man.

    It reminds me of René Magritte’s “The Son of Man” – famously known for the depiction of the artist in a bowler hat whose face is hidden by a hovering green apple. Magritte had the following to say about his painting, which I also feel translates delightfully well to Dana’s submission:

    “Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see. There is an interest in that which is hidden and which the visible does not show us. This interest can take the form of a quite intense feeling, a sort of conflict, one might say, between the visible that is hidden and the visible that is present.”

    Well done, Dana for creating an equally intense interest between the visible that is hidden in the pages of the novel and the visible that is present in your cover art. I’ll buy a copy simply for the sweet design if for nothing else!

  81. Gene P. says:

    Sorry, but the type on Dana Lambert’s “Magritte” is not happening. Take it from someone who grew up in Kroch & Brentano’s and is still growing (out) at Borders:

    Michael Franzese – pinata (not the staircase…it’s been done)
    Christopher Prad – daylight observation!
    Lindsay Anderson – honeybee
    Will Payovich – nice urban vibe

  82. RM says:

    I think that Dana Lambert’s cover with the frame and the rainbow is the most intriguing. Often when I am wandering through a bookstore it’s the cover that draws my attention even if I have no pre-existing interest in the author or subject. I have found many of my favorite books in this fashion. Dana’s design would definately draw my attention in a bookstore.

  83. Lisa says:

    I agree that Dana’s cover would draw my attention at a bookstore. Great job by all, but if I were to choose, Dana Lambert’s would be it.

  84. Vonda says:

    Previously voted and I still like Dana Lambert’s book cover the best!!!!

  85. Pingback: 2nd “Sweet by Design” book cover proposalDave's Ink Illustration | Dave's Ink Illustration

  86. And the winner is (my opinion)…. Debbie Pahls.

    Brillant solution on so many levels.

  87. karen g. says:

    Carol Hillinger’s cover design portraying Jeffrey’s image in chaotic dots is terrific!
    I love the concept… it nicely mirrors the uncertainty of Jeffrey’s life. Take a step back, and both the reader & Jeffrey can view everything with a bit more clarity. Smart idea!

  88. WK says:

    I like the Pantone color chips by Carol Hillinger. Bright colors, funny names, and they can really tell a story.

  89. Linda M Gebhardt says:

    For whatever it is worth (because I didn’t read the book beyond the first couple of chapters, and a submission would be for ego only), I would read David Whittekind’s cover because it says struggle and I would read Lindsay Franze’s honeycomb because it suggests a provocative read. Just saying.

  90. Jennie R says:

    My top three votes are:
    1) Dave Wittekind (both entries are great)
    2) Tad DeWree
    3) Emmet Emma Isabella Grahn

  91. franniefarmer says:

    Carol H’s pixilated postaer cover is a winner to me.

  92. Julie H says:

    I love the symbolism Carol Hillinger captures in her portrayal of Jeffrey’s image using colorful circles.
    Super creative and eye-catching.

  93. Christine Osborne says:

    Carol Hillinger didn’t go for the obvious “Sweet” thing in either one of her designs. I like both, but those paint swatches really pop. You couldn’t miss this in a bookstore.

  94. Sarah says:

    Debbie Pahls. Hands down.

  95. CateM says:

    Of any of these books I would buy the one designed by Carol Hillinger’s “dot matrix mirror”. It has the most intrigue about the name with the design and I would pick it up to see what it is all about…the ones with candy and cake really don’t refer to the story line. (except the rainbow jelly beans). My second favorite eye catcher is the one by Bernie Gomez which makes you stop and think…”what is this all about”?

  96. Gene P. says:

    New Fave:
    Dave Wittekind– closet

    Christopher Prad – daylight observation

  97. As a retired artist agent of 22 years I vote for: 1. Will Payovich .. oddly enough I’m not positive if the image is illustration or photography. I been crawling into to it has much as possible, fingers crossed it’s illustration. Runner up would be Lindsay Anderson .. I know, I know .. totally different concept and treatment. To be totally honest I’m very fond of the cover art you used in your banner. Probably stock .. (boo).

    Good luck to you Steffan 🙂

  98. David Toyoshima says:

    I personally like Carol Hillinger’s dot pattern.
    For me, the literal cupcakes, sweets, candy are simply too cliché. The staircase design is interesting, but I’ve seen this image so many times, it too feels cliché. I avoid stock art like the plague. Sorry. It reminds me of of a scene from “Vertigo.” Benoit’s surrealistic work is interesting, however, a truer rendition of a Dali-esque illustration might be better, the idea is nice, but execution could be a bit better.

  99. Pingback: The wait is over. Presenting the finalists for the “Sweet by Design” cover contest. « Gods of Advertising

  100. Janey Reilly says:

    I like both Lindsay Anderson’s honeycomb and Will Payovich’s men in pants. They are the covers that would be most likely to catch my eye in a bookstore. Just stylistically speaking, men in pants is my absolute favorite.

  101. What a fabulous contest! An impressive range of wonderful designs, indeed. But both my graphic-designer-side and gay-man-side agree that you have chosen that best design of them all. When is the book to be published with it’s gorgeous cover? I will own one.

    I’ve bookmarked the chapters and can’t wait to read them.

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