I’m not one that has ever been known to be creative in designing things. Well, anything for that matter. Cindy, who is the head of the creative department at InterVarsity Press, called me and asked if I could take a trip out to their headquarters and meet with the design team and talk to them about the potential cover design. As soon as she asked I got sick to my stomach. I didn’t want to do that at all! I told her I would try my hardest to think of something, but in the back of my head I knew it was going to be a feeble effort.
There are some things some people can do, and there are some things that some people can’t. And mine is creative design. I was hoping to just be surprised one day with a sweet looking cover that I loved. I guess that wasn’t going to happen.
So I took a trip out to IVP and met with the design team. I was quite nervous, but as soon as I got there I gave everyone a hug and felt much better. Phew. Hugs do the trick for me! When we sat down in the conference room I blurted out that
“The design thing isn’t my thing so I literally don’t have any ideas of what it should look like.”
I just wanted them to know from the start where I stood so they didn’t expect anything miraculous, you know? But then the craziest thing happened, they all smiled at me and said that was awesome because it gives them more freedom to do their thing. Now that’s what I’m talking about! So Cindy told me to just start emoting …
And if there is one thing I can do really well, it’s emote. I emoted for the next hour as they all just quietly sat there and took notes. I talked about my feelings, what I was trying to communicate with the book, my story, and how I just wanted to give everyone in both communities’ big hugs and let them know there is a hope for a better future. A few of the designers then asked me a couple odd questions (at least I thought they were odd because they didn’t seem to have anything to do with cover design), and I went on another long speech about more of my emotions, feelings and random thoughts.
I almost felt like I was in some type of improve acting class – free association for three hours!
Then we ended with the question, “What don’t you want.”
Well I knew exactly what I didn’t want! And the list included the following:
1. No Rainbows. Everything that I have ever done in the print media has been designed around either rainbows or rainbow flags. Now I totally understand that because it communicates the point very quickly. But seriously, enough is enough. And the last thing I wanted was to stare at more rainbows for all eternity on my book cover. (the links don’t show the rainbows, but when they were in print there were a ton!)
2. No black cover.
3. No white cover.
When you walk up and down bookstores and check out the shelves all you see is black or white covers and book spines. Boring! Recently when I was in a bookstore there was a yellow book cover that totally caught my eye, and I picked it up just because it was yellow. I ended up buying that book and actually enjoyed it quite a bit! So the one thing I did want – color. I know, kind of sounds weird when I didn’t want rainbows. I didn’t mind rainbow colors, just not in the form of a rainbow or a flag. Easy enough? (And I wish I had a picture of the book spine – it’s awesome!).
Anyways, after almost 4 hours or so we parted ways and I had no idea what just happened. But a week later this beauty shows up in my inbox! And I LOVE IT! I don’t know how they did it, but they sure did it well. It was pretty funny because when I got it I called Dave (my editor) and said:
“That is the most gangster frikin thing I have ever seen in my life.”
He started cracking up and asked if he could quote me on that one to the rest of the staff. He sure could!
And here we are now with another new and exciting experience in the books for this whole mysterious publishing process.