Be Cards & Trustmakers Book Cover Design

Read About my Design Process and Failed Attempts

Just a couple of weeks ago, another book that I designed got printed. The book is called Trustmakers, a business book about building trust to improve board effectiveness and performance in a company. With this book there is this card system, called Be Cards, consisting of 11 cards that are used as a tool.

Be Cards

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Trustmakers book with the set of Be Cards.

Colors & Concepts

Be Card colors

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The original colors are very bright and some of them a bit too close to each other. There wasn’t a perfect harmony. At first I presented way different colors. Colors I really like, just to see what my client thought of it, but I quickly got an answer back that I should stick to the palette already in place. A bit of fine-tuning would be OK, but nothing too drastic. My client definitely wanted to keep the brightness, and didn’t want pastels or muted soft colors, so I ended up with this set of colors.

Concept 1

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Concept 2

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Concept 3

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Cover Design Attempt

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Back to the drawing board

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The idea of using figures got quickly dropped since my client wasn’t really convinced of how it actually turned out. It needed to be more abstract, but most of all more professional looking. Maybe it was the overal style of the figures themselves that made it look a bit too cute and not professional enough. Anyhow, we decided to drop the whole idea and try out something totally different. I was thinking of creating something purely geometrical and abstract. At first I sketched this really simple idea of using the 11 Be Card numbers placed randomly on a grid made of diagonal lines and hexagon shapes. It was a good starting point, but maybe a bit too limited in a way. It needed something more. Then I tried out a couple of compositions of geometrical shapes, each card with its own type of shapes and color palette (based on the old existing colors). I showed my client two of my creations and she totally loved it. This was definitely the right direction.

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The cover design

Once starting on the cover design, I decided to I use the shapes of the 1st Be Card graphic as basis for the front, spine and back of the cover. Then I added in a couple of more colors, and some other graphics to end up with a composition that flows seamlessly from front to back, leaving enough room for some text on the back.

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Final cover design of the book, shown as one open spread with the back, spin and front.

For the front of the book cover I used these overlapping triangles, which also became part of the company branding. It’s also used on Be Card 7, but I’ve also been using circles and compositions of parallelograms a lot in all the design work. These colorful compositions of shapes in combination with the colored dots connected with lines are reoccurring in all of the designs I’ve been doing for Level Five Executive since then. The coral red, which is the color of Be Card 1, became the primary color. It’s also the color I’ve used for the chapter pages in the book.

By adding in a couple of ‘other’ subtle colors (the blue, aqua & green triangles) that work well with this coral red, I was able to push my will a little bit in the end after all. I’m combining the colors of the Be Cards (used in the small dots) with this new mix of aqua blue and green hues. These colors now also reappear on most of the designs I create for L5. Never give up trying to present what you think works best, but always respect what your client feels is important and should remain. Never push it too far either. It’s a balance you learn to find by experience I guess, because each client is different. If you stay open for suggestions and use your creativity at best to solve these kind of challenges you can get very far.

This article first appeared on Veerle’s Blog 4.0

Written by

Belgian graphic/web designer, author of Veerle’s blog and chief of the playground at Duoh! Loves soulful deep house music & riding her bicycle. Vive le vélo!

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