11 August 2010

The Two Potential Covers

This was supposed to happen with the Servants of Plague cover, where I posted two different options for consideration, but if that project stalled anymore, it'd go straight into a death spiral, ending only when it smashed into my head and severed into hemispheres. Nobody wants that.

So in the interest of continued sanity, here is a new prototype I'd been working on. I'm not too terribly sold on either one, but the first one is the layout I'd been using, and the second one is the one I've been working on. It's not a finished prototype, but there are certain things I like about them both.

The current "look" of the V series of modules produced
by yours truly.
Option One
This one is the basic, utilitarian version. It's got a black bar, then a picture, then some description text. It's simple, and unpretentious. It emulates the modules of old without assuming prior knowledge of them. It's clean, and is composed of sharp lines and straight edges. It's got a timeless look to it, as proved by the fact that it's how most adventure modules have looked since, well, adventure modules started looking like adventure modules.

On the other hand, it's fairly basic looking. There hasn't been a lot of innovation in module design, and it mostly looks like this. There's nothing wrong with that, per se, and it certainly beats some modern designs. There's a lot of modules that look like this, and that's kind of a problem. Mostly, because any comparison of my hobby's products will pale in imitation to the original greats, or especially anything that the OSR comes out with. Much like any other form of lazy presentation, it makes one wonder as to the effort made inside. If they can't be bothered to create an original and appealing cover for their work, what makes anybody think they put any effort into the inside? Of course, that's vastly unfair to those of us who are not artists by any stretch, but such is life.

Option Two
The potential new "look" of the V series of
Labyrinth Lord modules.
This cover keeps the solid background and the emphasis on text over art, but adds a splash of color in the corner and a little beveled text boxes, two things which help the cover stand out at least a tiny bit in comparison. In addition, there's room for a silly little woodcut graphic of a knight, an image I like very much.

The cons? Well, I'm not sure about the red, or the bevelled box for the title, or the fact that it cuts over the image. In addition, I'm feeling that the "V2" text should be white, not black. Other than that, it's ok. It seems perhaps like it tries a little hard to have a "new and improved!" feel, when it's really impossible to improve over the balanced and classic design of the originals.

What do you think? Emulate the originals, try and improve on them, or try something else entirely?

EDIT: Hybrid Option
This is a hybrid design, taking the rounded box and font of version two and keeping the more reduced aesthetic of version one. The knight on the lower left is still there because, after all, he's still pretty cool. The attribution could stand to be a little bigger, and the knight image a little smaller, but still, tweaking isn't such a bad thing.

If this ends up being the final design, then it'll be absolutely no problem to edit Servants of Plague to conform to this standard, since these templates are made in Inkscape, which is about the best format known to man, as far as ease of use goes.

I kind of like the hybrid, to be honest with you. It might end up being the "final draft" so to speak.


  1. I prefer version 1. It may be "basic," but I find the tasteful, simplicity of design, to be rather pleasing.

  2. Well, I prefer the title above the picture, as in version 1, though I like the title font better in V2 and I can take or leave the rounded box. If it matters, I also like the first image better. The splash of color is nice, though I think it's an unnecessary copying of the "old stuff".

    I appreciate the consistency in the look of the V series - and I'm looking forward to checking out this one when you finish it.

  3. @James: I'm with you. It was easier to make, and there's no reason to reinvent the wheel. :)

    @D.R.W.: The rounded box was the reason I was hesitant as well, but it looked "naked" just in its own text. Definately with you about the font in number two; the "dirty" font fit with a module about plagues, but not so much about a more "clean" module concept. And I think I'll cut the little wedge out.

    @Dave: Thanks :)

    I'll be changing the font and maybe tweaking the dimensions of the layout, but otherwise I'll just leave it alone. Thanks for the input!

  4. I also like the font and box of the title in version 2, but think it would look better above the picture.

  5. @David: For what it's worth, I actually toyed around with just that image after I read the first three comments. I'll stick it in the main post so you guys can get an idea of what I'm talking about.

  6. Yeah, I like the hybrid version - but I still like the picture in v1 better - I think it evokes more "mood" than the standing stones, though if they're a prominent feature of the adventure, then they're the better choice, of course...

  7. I like the design of the hybrid version best.

  8. @DRW: I agree about the picture, and I totally didn't even think to change it. The one with the standing stones was there merely to give them different art. Maybe I shouldn't have, I dunno. I'm not a graphic designer ;)

    @ Chris: The hybrid one is my favorite as well; now we just need to get a better cover image and write up the rest of the adventure!