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Book cover design and direct sunlight

2013 July 6

One surprising postscript to my notes on the cover design of my book, Brilliant Deduction

I spent most of this afternoon in Author Alley, the author fair organized by Loganberry Books as part of the Larchmere Festival. As the afternoon advanced, I found the shade in which I had placed myself on arrival creeping further and further back, until eventually I was sitting in searing early-July direct sunlight.

I was okay, thanks to sunscreen and (though intended for an entirely different weather challenge) an umbrella. But I couldn’t shade everything; my books were on their own.

They were okay, too, partly because of a design choice I made without realizing its full implications. I may have mentioned that the final cover art for Brilliant Deduction began as more or less its tonal inverse, i.e. a dark, more or less black cover. I went back and forth between the two versions for some time, and my eventual selection of the lighter, brighter cover was by a fairly narrow margin.

In retrospect, I believe it might have been an easier decision had I given consideration to reflectivity. Imagine those books sitting out there wrapped in dark, sunlight-absorbing livery! They would have gotten appallingly hot; I know, because I set a dark pen in the sun for a while and it was nearly too hot to hold the next time I picked it up.

It’s a minor issue, certainly, but for what it’s worth it seems like a pretty straightforward choice: design with a relatively bright color scheme, or don’t attend any unshaded author appearances outdoors in summer. Difficult for people to buy your book if it’s too hot to handle!

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