Help Me Pick a Cover for: “Undiluted– rediscovering the radical message of Jesus”

That’s right folks– we officially have a name, and book cover options!

Thanks to all who voted and gave suggestions for the book name– the final choice that my friends at Destiny Image Publishers and I decided upon was “Undiluted: rediscovering the radical message of Jesus”. I think it’s the perfect title for what this book is about– a journey of rediscovering the counter cultural nature of the teachings of Jesus.

A few days ago my publisher sent me over some initial designs for the book cover, and I must say, I am thrilled with these options! I’m also appreciative that they listened to my ideas and incorporated them into the choices.

Since you guys did such a great job on picking the title, we also want YOU to have a hand in picking the final cover. Below, you’ll find three design options. While I’m not going to publicly reveal which one is my favorite, I’ll show a few of my cards here:

I like all three, but there is one that I like the least. Of the remaining two, I would be completely content with either choice. However, I do have a mild favorite that could become my hands-down favorite, with some minor changes. But, I’m not sure– I love them both!

So, here’s your task: which of the three do you like the best, and why? If you were the designer, would you tweak it at all, or do you like it exactly the way it is?

Once I’ve considered all of the feedback you guys have– which I will take strongly into account, I’ll pass on my final choice to the folks at Destiny and let you know which option I picked.

Thanks for participating!  I value your input, as always.

Option 1

Option 2


Option 3


You guys get to shape this book from beginning to end, so what are your thoughts? Ready, set… GO!

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • The pure red color is by far the superior one. The first one is exactly opposite–isn’t the book about getting away from a stained-glass Jesus? The third one is meh.

  • Kevin DeShields

    Congrats! And yes, Option 2 easily.

  • Eric Phillips

    yeah, second one. awesome. It’s simple and clear. The 3rd doesn’t convey much to me and the first gets a little complex with the i’s getting replaced with drips??? would increase the leading of the subtitle. let it breathe a little.

  • $3669657

    My first impulse is #3, but there’s something irresistibly alluring about envisioning #2 on my bookshelf. So my vote is for #2.

  • My guess is you don’t like #2, and you’d be OK with either #1 or #3 (since they are somewhat similar). I’m not sure what you would change (maybe the image of Jesus to something else?), but I would personally vote for #1. The dripping liquid design is the one that says “Undiluted” the best to me. I also like the line coming down that connects the title, the subtitle, and your name. It’s communicates continuity and connection (connecting us back to the original message of Jesus). #1 is, IMO, the best design of the three (with #3 coming in a close second). #2, while simple, also looks plain, boring, and, well, cheap.

  • Vidda Chan

    I choose #3. #1 is a classical depiction of Jesus based on the Vatican’s requirements of the artists of the day, typically self-suffering and self-effacing. And with the Christian message being to emulate him, that we should do the same. NOT!!! #2 is a no, coming from the place of a avid book purchaser/reader that the cover in its simplicity would not catch my eye on the book shelf. Very image and visually oriented, if I wasn’t aware of you and your work, would probably skip over it. My choice is #3. Though the same image of Jesus is used as in #2, it does not dominate the cover, instead giving just the right amount of visuals effect. Instead, the titled (and the message) is what stands out and grabs my attention. And that IS why I would buy the book. As an added feature, your name also stands out…. a good marketing ploy for future publications from you.

  • Danna Watkins

    I LOVE the red one. I can’t stand the picture of Jesus on the other two. I think it would be a turn-off for the audience you’re going for.

  • Linda Ashton

    What about #2 with a blue or teal or water color cover with white lettering?

  • M.A. Mills

    Absolutely! Great idea. Make it look like water instead of red. I don’t understand why the red. But #2 is totally the best design. The others are too old-school looking. Not at all progressive like the target audience.

  • M.A. Mills

    completely agree!

  • Theo

    Imagining I’m in a bookstore, browsing the shelves, I have to say I would never buy #1. The picture of Jesus up top is very stereotypical and, let’s be honest, probably not an accurate picture of who Jesus actually was. But the dripping is interesting and I’ll probably approach it. But then the dripping looks like dilution and the title will make me think that it’s going to be a fundamentalist viewpoint, and I’ll never open the cover to find out the truth.

    #2 is decent, and has the benefit of not having a stereotypical, probably unrealistic Jesus on it, but without that picture, the subtitle, aka the reason I’m going to pick it up to learn more, is waaay too small. If the title were smaller and the drop gone and a more prominent subtitle, I might get it.

    While #3 is still plagued by the problem of the Jesus picture, it’s not the prominent piece, and more importantly, your message (the title) is on top of it, which is an amazing visual shorthand for the book. The only thing that really bugs me about this cover is that your name isn’t capitalised. It doesn’t bother me on #2, but I do think that dropping the line slightly to make room for some caps would look better.

  • I’m a bit shocked that #2 is the trending favorite. Steve is correct– while #2 is a sharp and clean design, it’s actually my least favorite. My concern is that even though it’s a clean design, I don’t think it’s the type of book I’d pick up off the shelf to read the back. From a marketing standpoint, I think it’s important to have a design that makes folks stop in the isle and pick up the book to check it out. I’m totally open to #2 but my personal favorite is #1 with some minor changes– change the white space to a dried, cracked paint look to contrast the dripping paint.

    Keep the feedback coming, this is all helpful!

  • You’ve nailed it. I like #2 in theory, but I’m afraid that it’s so “clean” that folks won’t pick it up off the shelf to investigate it further. I see why people like the design, but I’m not sure it would be the best marketing decision.

  • I thought about that as well. Water–undiluted. But the red speaks more to me.

    1. It’s a more exciting color. For shelf appeal, a red spine will stand out more than a blue spine.
    2. The dilution of a drop of water into a drop of water goes against the book’s title and/or meaning.
    3. The red bespeaks a major throughline of the Bible–the sacrifice of Jesus, undiluted.

  • I hear you on cover designs. My own designer tried to get me to select other designs than the one I first fell in love with, but in the end I went with my gut feeling. (I also did what you’re doing–shared the book cover ideas with my friends w/o telling them I liked one or the other. They pretty much all agreed with me, though, on the strongest one.)

  • Joel

    #1 is my fav by a long shot. IMO, the font for #2 and 3 is a bit lacking and overall, the two covers are just a bit too cheesy and youth-work-y. #1, IMO, is easily the most mature looking of the bunch and gives off a more heavy (but not dry) theological vibe to it (but with an edge). Kind of a peter Rollins-esque.

  • Terry Firma

    The first one, by a margin. Clean and creative, a head-turner. It has the best legibility of the three. Number two looks like a business card, and number three looks like a Dan Brown knockoff.

    Re white cracked paint… No. Non. Nope. It’s superior as is, unless you want to visually imply that the word of Jesus is old and worn and needs replacing/rethinking. (Which, come to think of it, would suit me just fine. ;-) )

  • Would much rather be associated with Rollins than Chan! Thanks for the feedback.

  • What about making the negative space a little less? I’m not sure how I feed about the negative space taking up most of the cover… I might be inclined to reduce that a little, and then add some dried paint/cracking to the title/subtitle. Thoughts?

  • Cindy Harthorne

    I love Number one’s basic design, but I don’t like the that particular depiction of Jesus, although a better pic of Jesus still including the lamb, which I adore, could be wonderful. The dripping paint idea is eye catching in itself. I despise # 3, mostly because it seems to contradict the title somehow. Sorry I can’t explain that better, it just strikes me the wrong way, and I would pass by on a book shelf. Also, if we can’t get a better ‘head shot’ of Jesus, I would seriously consider combining #1 (dripping paint concept), with #2, maintaining the drips, but having them originate from the textured red of #2, or better yet burgundy. Then place the Title toward the top in white on the burgundy, and increase the font size of the subtitle, which is great, and should be more readable, placing the subtitle below the drips, along with your name. And yes, decrease the percentage of the negative space for sure. I wish I had a good art program to show you what I’m seeing. And #2, as it is, is just boring!

  • Cindy Harthorne

    I like the starkness of the white at the bottom half of #1, but cracked paint might look good too. It is a hard call without seeing it. I definitely like #1 the best, even with no changes to it, but I think Jesus looks a little,….hmmm, I don’t know..ummm..feminine…? Sorry. I might buy the book anyway though, because the dripping concept would pull me in enough to read the back.

  • Cindy Harthorne

    Trust yourself on this one, my friend.

  • Number one. The dripping captures the “diluted” idea in a way that the others don’t. The second I’m definitely not a fan of – too plain, won’t stand out at all. Third one is ok but doesn’t stand out as well as the first.

  • JJ Smith

    I like Cindy’s idea of the drips originating from burgundy with the title/subtitle playing off each other in reverse, white on burgundy/burgundy on white. Seems it would be crisper, more dramatic and eye catching.

  • Victor J. Castillo


  • Di Grace


  • gimpi1

    I vote for #1.

    The “dripping” effect gets your “undiluted” message across in a clear, graphic way. The iconic image of Jesus makes it clear this is a Christian message.

    #2 is edgy, simple and graphic, but doesn’t communicate the Christian message clearly.

    #3 does state “Christian” clearly, but doesn’t give you the emphasis on the “undiluted” concept that #1 does.

  • gimpi1

    I agree that a bit of color in the negative space could add some drama.

  • Hate to say it, but not a fan of any of the choices here. not to say they aren’t well crafted, but if I am someone who is looking for the real undiluted truth, I’m not going to choose a cover with an image that immediately brings to mind organized religion (let alone one that depicts Jesus as white). Beyond that, I think all three designs style-wise have already saturated the market, especially in the theological/religious genre. While this might draw the attention of some (seeking a familiar look), it is not as effective overall as finding a purple cow (see Seth Godin).

    Undiluted means to state in a simple, clear way, without trying to disguise it or make it easier to accept ( I would try to stay true to this in the design (No. 2 kind of fits this criteria, but the water drop confuses me – water is added to dilute things, so why is there a drop of water?) Watered-Down was in the working title, but I think the water imagery needs to be dropped with the undiluted title choice.

    Just my two cents. It is not easy to create an eye catching cover that stands out from the crowd these days. Good luck and God bless!

  • Thanks, Dave! Great feedback. I’m going to compile all of my thoughts and send them onto the publisher… nixing the white Jesus is at the top of my list.

  • I rather agree with David Tornström. If I went in a library, I wouldn’t be attracted by anyof the three. The second is simple, but that won’t attract much people. Maybe, the less worst is n°3. Nevertheless, the effeminated WASP Jesus is too diluted to be Jesus. But that figure is much less ugly than the Byzantine head of Jesus. Why not an unusual Jesus head? A black or yellow one, as often Br Robert Lentz uses to depict Jesus on his icons.