Friday, July 28, 2006

Cover Poll-I NEED YOUR HELP!--Voting Closed

Update: Thanks for your participation. Stop by tomorrow afternoon to get see which commentor wins the FREE BOOK!: Standing with Peter when it is released in the fall. Thanks for all your comments. In reading them, I think we've learned alot-but I know we please everyone.

Last year we unveiled a couple draft covers for "Catholic Laity in the Mission of the Church" by Russell Shaw, which was released in November 2005. This time, we think we have the general concept down, but we are trying to fine tune it. These are a little rough, but if you would, please weigh in on what you like and what you don't like about them: Vote-its your civic duty!

Please also, spread the word to other bloggers and readers of blogs to weigh in. The input we received last time really helped us fine tune the cover. The more comments the better. I will leave this post on top at least through the weekend so no one has to go searching.

First, by way of introduction:

In May 2006 Rev. Charles Curran came out with his memoirs entitled "Loyal Dissent-Memoir of a Catholic Theologian" (Georgetown University Press). In this book, Curran tries to make the case for dissenting from Humanae Vitae and outlines his view of moral theology.

But there is another side to the story. Dr. William May’s memoirs: "Standing with Peter-Reflections of a Lay Moral Theologian on God’s Loving Providence" (Requiem Press, anticipated September 2006) tells the story of a Catholic moral theologian, on same Catholic University of Amercia faculty as Rev. Curran, who barely kept his job at times because he taught that artificial contraception was morally unacceptable-standing with Pope Paul VI on this defining moral teaching of our times.

In his memoirs William May takes us from his early years in the seminary, the illness which precluded his ordination, his first career as a book editor, his error in 1968, and finally his academic career at CUA and the John Paul II Institute. With personal anecdotes, humor and humility, William May weaves a tale showing how God takes care of us and has plan for us-how God brings good from our mistakes if we are willing to co-operate with his grace. In the book Dr. May also illuminates the errors of moral relativism and other questionable theological “innovations”.

With that introduction, here's what we're thinking in order: A, B, C:

A couple notes about the cover. The picture of course is Dr. May and his wife with Pope John Paul II and then-Cardinal Ratzinger in 1988. The "newspaper" headlines and stories in the backgrounds were originally going to be real images from the NY Times on 30 & 31 July 1968. Unfortunately they wouldn't give permissions to use their images or headlines. (Their story changed a couple times, so I don't know what the real deal is. First they said the often give permissions for bookcovers, but after they saw the mock-up they claim they never give permissions for bookcovers. Who knows?) So I looked at a bunch of headlines from various sources and stories and then made up my own.

Thanks in advance for participating. And PLEASE spread the word!


TS said...

I like A & C. Probably C first, but that's a tough call.

Atlantic said...

C first, definitely, then A and definitely not B.

Bill said...

B is right out. The reversed type distracts and gray and red aren't good together here. I prefer C to A - A's red banners are unattractive and overblown. C is a clean bright design despite the busy background, and the proportions of its elements remind me of some good Ignatius Press covers (and they have some masterpieces).

Iosue Andreas said...

Like the others, I like C, then A, and defintely not B.

Jeff Miller said...

C first, then A.

If the subtitle text was in a differnt color I think it would be better, perhaps a dark blue.

Mike the Geek said...

I like C very slightly more than A; B a distant third.

Steve D. said...

I like "C." "A" is a distant second and "B" is out of contention in my humble opinion.

Andy W said...

I like A best then C I am not fond of B.

Daniel Muller said...

I definitely prefer A. The reversed text red header and footer frame the cover and make the rest of the text pop.

C is second place. I agree that B is "right out."

But why red? Sales appeal? Martyrdom?

JCurley said...

A few have asked why RED? Simply good contrast in bringing out some of the colors in the photo. But if think another color would be better-Give us the suggestion. We'll try it out.

Thanks to all so far who have participated.

Elizabeth Ann said...


Okay, I hate to say they are all wrong, but B definitely. The gray is much more attractive and makes the picture stand out. Remember, the white, and newsprint behind it, will detract from the title, picture and author lines. Spent years in typesetting,editing, printing. Go with B. AND I would make a BIG STINK about the NY Times refusal. That was petty (I know, I know, what else do I expect!).

MissJean said...

I like A best. B looks like a college textbook on media (grey was a popular colour a few years ago for media texts).

Gashwin said...

Hiya there neighbor! (I live in Columbia ... well, I'm overseas right now ... ) I'd go for A first then C. Don't like the gray. The red and white contrast are great.

Keep up the good work!

Evan said...

C,A,B in that order Is my opinion. Now, If I saw any of them on the shelf in the bookstore I would say, "Looks nice but ho hum".

Here is a wild thought.

Change the red to a deep dark red and for the background drawings similar to the background on the vatican website.

That would cause me to take it off the shelf and read the back of the cover for sure.

The image might stand out more with the light browns in the background.

I have gone on too long. Forgive me.

JCurley said...

Evan-Don't apologize. This is exactly the kind of suggestions we want. On the last book we changed colors based on comments. On the first we changed fonts and colors and positons.

So go at it everyone. This is your chance to design a bookcover.

Paul said...

To buck the trend, I rather like A. C second, and B a rather undesirable third. I just like the way the red bands at the top and bottom stand out and frame the rest of the cover. The reverse-color with the gray in B is very awkward.

laurel said...

i would have to agree with evan. not a fan of any of them. looks dry to me. i would glance at it on a shelf, but there's nothing about it that would make me say "ooh - what's that about?"

of the three choices, A is the most eye-catching with the bold red - C is okay, B is definitely distracting.

I think Evan's on to something with a deep color background. I have a tendency to pick up books that are beautifully designed... classical images, deep colors, elegance and simplicity... this looks like a newspaper article, not a book to me. Too many things going on. My eye was drawn to the text in the back - I found myself reading that before I read the subtitle or even registered who was in the picture.

Ok - I've said too much, but that's my two cents!

Nancy C. Brown said...

I like the mostly white third one best, second is the top one with the white lettering on red, and last the one with the gray, which I think distracts. The one that seems easiest to read to me is the red on white.

"Marie" said...

First C, then A

TS said...

For what it's worth, my eye IS drawn by the newspaper headlines. I think that's a nice feature about the cover. This topic is of great interest to me so I think I'll like what's inside too. :)

Emily said...

I'd say A for the first choice; c's not bad, but the Title doesn't stand out in quite the same way. The grey on B seems a bit dark to go with the red. Either the red would have to be a darker shade or the grey lighter (or maybe a tad less bluish) for it to work.

Clare Krishan said...

Honestly as a consumer none of them appeal to me, and I am interested in the Theology of the Body. Please be very careful 'faking' a newspaper mock-up, its tacky in the extreme and instantly dilutes your message as unauthentic. Cover elements should convey the true contents, not muddy the waters. Typographically the words ISSUES EDICT BANS ALL has more prominence in all three versions than the italic (harder to read) subtitle on God's Loving Providence. What message are you sending? Artificial mirth patrol is ok, but artificial birth control is not? Perhaps Requiem Press readership is a "bunch of old dudes" but the book deserves a wider readership amongst those still young enough to practise what TOB preaches, no offense intended, so I think your photo could go to the back-flap in favor of a much more attractive classical work of art (see 2-spot color treatment of a Byzantine Icon of Sts Joachim and Anne on cover of A New Vision of Marriage in the Light of John Paul II's Anthropology at The papal photo on the front of Ignatius's edition of Wojtyla's Love and Responsibility at
is so effective because of the emotive grip of John Paul IIs hands and the gripping gaze of his eyes that evoke the theme in a physical and thoughtprovoking way. Your snapshot doesn't have that cachet I'm afraid. The jacket design for your title on Catholic Laity appeals more, but the author is a known quantity so I may be biased there too. Sorry to be blunt, I worked in Corporate Advertizing for Hewlett-Packard where aiming for excellence. Perhaps you could get some more insights in graphic design from browsing a copy of the new book "Beautiful Evidence" by Edward Turfte
(featuring Durer's engraving of Jerome in his Cell and Carolingian manuscripts as fine examples of illustrating the printed page in our Catholic tradition)

A VHS tape from EWTN on St Peter communicates its contents well:
but I'm not sure if your title is about Peter or the Vatican in general.

Mac in Alberta said...

In order of preference: C, A, B.
If you're trying to look like a newspaper front page, the title bar in C looks more like a newspaper masthead that the one in A. A looks less like a newspaper than C, and B looks vaguely like a matte from the old hot lead days. However B really failes because the small, white italics under the photo fade into the grey background.
The layout of the cover is quite effective.

Banshee said...

I like C, and then A.

Why is "On" capitalized? ("On God's Loving Providence") It's a preposition, just like "of".

Mary Kay said...

Of the three, B was the only one I could read on my computer screen.

At first, I thought of using Humanae Vitae as background instead of the newsprint. It's about the Vatican document, not the newspaper stories about the Vatican document.

On second thought, I'd scrap the wordy background all toghether as too busy and too distracting.

Curran's book cover is much less cluttered. OTOH, your single photograph is a powerful visual counterpoint to Curran's split screen cover.

For some reason, I also don't like the bright red, but can't articulate why or know what would be better. This may sound weird, but that red looks too commercial. The title says standing with 2,000 years of authority, so the colors should reflect that. If you used a triadic color scheme, you could have a darker red or darker blue for a larger font on light background, but have a brighter third color for a smaller font.

Scratch the triadic colors. Maybe better with a monochromatic scheme, maybe dark blue on light blue with a medium blue for subheadings.

Curran's cover is brown and gray which is pretty lifeless. It would be a nice contrast if your cover was a vibrant color.

Just thinking out loud.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Clare.
I don't like the idea of a fake newspaper.
I would like more blue (the cover of Our Lady), richer tones, and a classical look, as Clare stated, with an icon representing the Church.
The picture you have posted I would put on the back cover with a paragraph "about the author."
Yes, the author is standing with Peter, but JP II and CR are looking down and it's not a good picture of them.
In fact, they are talking to each other and are not "engaged" with the author and his wife.


Anonymous said...

Meant "color" of Our Lady, not "cover"

Darrick said...

A is the best, C second, and B is simply too dark.

Jennifer S. said...

Of these, I like A best, then C, then B.

But I agree that they are pretty ho-hum. Moving the photo to the back cover is a good idea, as it makes it look like it's a book for old people.

PennyPickle said...

I prefer C to either A or B. I agree that the color red is okay but perhaps a deeper hue would be better. I would prefer a visual clue to what the book is about so perhaps a packet 1960s era birth control pills on the front with the cover photo moved to the back.

Richard said...

A is the best. Strikes just the right balance by reversing just the title and bottom.

Mary Kay said...

Now that I've read the other comments, I agree with those suggesting moving the photo to the back and Lily's suggestion of "about the author."

I like the idea of an icon, but am too unfamiliar to suggest one.

Anonymous said...

Of the mockups you present, C is best. Definitely not B -- the gray just doesn't set right. Too much red in A, but not terrible.

I don't generally care for the newspaper background. If I want to see that, I'll buy a newspaper. I think a more classical, "art-ful" design would be better. A rich deep blue or green background with gold title would attract me more than white/red.

Also, the posed photo looks tacky. It's not even a good posed photo -- who are those floating heads in the background? I believe you mean to illustrate the title literally -- OK, I get that -- and you'll probably PhotoShop the photo to spiff it up. But it looks like someone's scrapbook leftovers. The author and his wife are stiff and the Holy Father and Cardinal are otherwise occupied. If you really want to use a photo, how about a closeup image of the author shaking hands with the Holy Father or something -- more personal, more direct, not posed, etc.

Sorry to sound so savage about your design -- I know someone worked long and hard on this. But I think this author and this story deserve something timeless and artistic.

God bless,

Heather said...

I agree with Karen and the other comments above that the photo is not a good cover picture, even though it is meant to literally show the "standing" of the title. I think it would be better to put that photo somewhere else, and go with a less cluttered-looking cover. I like cover B best because it is the one that most mutes the busyness of the newspaper background. After B, I like C, then A.

This looks like a great book, but the cover looks very much like a copy of the Imprimis newsletter from Hillsdale University. The red borders, the newsprint and the photo do not give the impression of a significant book on an important topic. It's busy and distracting, and because there's no good focal point to rest one's eyes on, the cover is not going to make a casual bookstore browser want to pick it up and read more. I would recommend going with a more solid, dark background, with an attractive gold font. Or in a more contemporary vein, I like the idea someone mentioned of a cover in a softer background color, with an image like a round package of the Pill below the title. That would definitely be more visually appealing, and perhaps grab the attention of someone who has that same Pill package in their own medicine cabinet.

Anonymous said...

As it is, I like A the best, C second, and B not at all.

However, I agree with whoever it was that said that the headlines in the cover grab too much attention. My eyes went there first.

Also, I must admit that I do not care for the picture.


Michael in ArchDen said...

I'd vote B, A, C. Even looking at the covers in your "Good Books" list, I see darker, more colorful cover predominating. I'd also agree with the above posters who think the picture is not a strong seeling point, especially since the Holy Father looks distracted.

My $.02...

Barry Michaels said...

I like A best. The bold red is better than C.

I like B the least -- I think it gives the news about the Pope's teaching an "ominous" sort of look -- like you might print the newspaper headlines from 9/12/01 on the cover of a book on 9/11.

maria horvath said...

I like A best. The bright red strips will help it to stand out at the bookstore.

I am looking forward to this book very much. It's about time his story is told.

Linda Cacpal said...

Aloha from Hawaii

I like B best. The white backgrounds as on A and C take all the light away from the central photo. The grey on B highlights the photo with its color, etc. On B the photo seems to "stand out" and that's what you would want to catch the shopper's eye, right?

I like the bright red border and it doesn't seem to clash with the grey.


Meredith said...

B - not good. The newspaper lettering hurts my eyes and the grey is unattractive.

A is better. Still too busy though. C is the best of the three: The double grey line under the title makes it look more like a newspaper header and it is cleaner overall.

But sadly, I too must say that I don't care for any of them. The photo is not really a good book cover photo. I think you need something simpler and more dramatic.

Anthony said...

I like A, the scarlet at the top of the cover catches the eye, then C.

aortic said...

I heartily endorse the suggestions for a more "classical" look for the front. Not too overboard, so as to look "full of itself." The Vatican website scheme is an interesting suggestion; I would be sure to pick up anything that reminded me of that. But also when I saw it was by William MAy, I would be interested. (The photo would make a wonderful back cover photo.)

If you must keep the photo, I think it might be better more subdued. All of the covers have the problem for me of not having a clear focal point, and the photograph competes with the text, which competes with the background headlines. (Why those??)

I like A best for its visual contrast, but I think B could be in the running if you changes the title to be red on white (like C) instead of white on red.

Consider moving the photo, though, or making it stand out less.
Thanks for your time.

Anonymous said...

I agree with those who say that the photo and the newspaper headlines look tacky and too busy. You need a much simpler more dignified look. The author is a theologian not a politician or journalist; current events are not his first concern. The cover as currently designed therefore doesn't send the right message.

St. Izzy said...

C then A; not B. And all for the same reason: contrast and ease of reading.

It is easier to read darker text on a lighter background. While I like the frame that the red supplies on A, I find it easier (and therefore more likely) to actually read the title on C.

Brian Douglass said...

I like C best because the contrast makes it look cleaner (at least on my monitor) than A. I will also have to agree with those who say that the background looks too busy. It reminds me of the old Subway Restaurant wallpapers and takes away from what I would think is the message.

Maria Kaplan said...

I'm voting for A! Title stands out more than C and you can read the news headlines better than in B. At least that's what it looks like on the computer. Now in person I don't know.

Rosemarie said...


Defintely C.

In Jesu et Maria,

Jenny said...

C is the best of the three and B the worst but I don't really like any of them. Using newspaper headlines say 'expose!' to me and that doesn't seem to be what this book is.

I know why you want to use the picture (yea- 'standing with Peter'- I get it) but it is looks like it's from some tourist's camera. It's not really very flattering to anybody that's in it (especially the Mays), a lot of distracting background, two guys with floating heads, looks like somebody got cut off on the left. I'd like it better with a nice sketch of St. Peter's dome or maybe an image of St. Peter or some other symbol of the papacy- keys, perhaps.

leonora afuyog said...

Nix the newspaper print. Of the choices I choose C.

gabriel said...

Definately C

Anonymous said...

I liked 'B' best and the relief 'news'text, with 'A' as my second choice.