Designing our book cover was so much fun! We chose to work with our publisher, Portfolio/Penguin, because they agreed to let us collaborate on the cover-- many publishers don’t allow authors (even illustrators!) to be part of the design process. Below, we’ll show you how we narrowed over 20 designs down to one.
Step 1: Starting out
In January 2018 (a year before the book was published), our editor, Leah, introduced us to Chris, the Art Director of Portfolio/Penguin. Chris recommended that we create a pinterest board of book covers we love and that Liz create a few draft illustrations that his team could use in their designs.
Here were Liz’s original illustrations and ideas, several of which we sent to the Penguin team:
Step 2: Reviewing the initial designs
A few weeks later, Leah sent back several designs, or “cover comps,” the Penguin team created.
Our top choices were 1 (the red cover with the animals) and 8 (the yellow cover with the paper bag) best. We wanted to keep the cover coloring similar to the interior of the book (white, gray, and blue) so we asked to see the animal cover with a blue background. Though we liked the clean design of the paper bag cover, it soon realized we wanted to feature one of Liz’s illustrations to make the book feel personal and unique.
Step 3: Getting the animals right
In February, Liz drew several alternate animal combinations, which we had our friends and family members rank. The favorite was an elephant as the CEO, a lion as the boss, a sloth as the teammate, and “you” as an owl.
We then worked on getting the sloth right. This was the second earliest sloth:
Leah wrote, “Right now it looks like the sloth is blinking, or speaking with pride, maybe because its spine is perfectly erect. You could try a few body language tweaks to say ‘sleeping,’” and suggested Liz draw sloth with its head back and mouth open. Leah sent us this image as an example:
We went through many sloths:
But ultimately chose this one:
Step 4: Putting it all together!
We sent the final illustrations to the Penguin team, picked a font, and then we were done!