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I mentioned here that  I’d show you how I apply the various compositional grids we’ve discussed so far on an actual cover design, so here it is. I don’t usually work with finished images but rather roughs, However I felt  it would look better for this post.

Here I’m working with images I digitally painted , but you can work with Photos in the same way. In your photo editing  software Paste two copies of any image you intend to scale, at full resolution into your art. Name one “Final Image ref no” and hide it, and name the other “rough ref no“.  Now you can scale the “rough ref no” image up and down as much as you want because this is just your rough/design image. Once you have settled on the final size and position, use this as a template to scale and position the “Final Image ref no” layer and then hide the rough.

Pro Tip: When it comes to using the final image, remember if you scale it up more than 20% bigger than its original size the quality will be reduced to a point where its not usable. Scaling down is not a problem.

I decided to work with two grids. On the left is the Golden Ratio 9 section Grid, on the right you can see The Rule of Thirds, another 9 section grid.

So I fooled around for quite a while but finally I had six variations I was fairly happy with. Again “Golden Ratio” on the left, “Rule of Thirds” on the right.

There may seem to be not a lot of difference here, but look at the placement. I’ve place the figure so she falls within the grid in a very specific way. On both versions she is occupying the left and central columns and the lowest horizontal dividing line bisects the hips just above, where her right leg flows into the right column. There are other subtle points of grid alignment that you can find if you study both images but they may differ in each image. The end result is that the figure in the Golden Ratio (on the left) is slightly smaller and is placed slightly higher. She fills just over half of the cover while in the image on the right she occupies almost 2 thirds of the cover.

At this point I also put some text in, its not going to be the final fonts but its giving me an idea of what properties the font will need and how well the title is going to work in this format. Notice the text falls higher on the page in the “Thirds” grid.

At this point I’m liking the “Golden Ratio ” more. So now its time to try further alternative:

I wondered if I could get “Book Title” across the top and so this was the result.

In Both cases I’m Filling the left vertical column and bisecting the central vertical column with the woman, leaving space at the top for the text. This was leaving a large blank space on the right that put everything out of visual balance so I placed a moon in there, bisected by the uppermost horizontal line and the furthest right vertical line. The flames are also helping to fill the grid in a balanced way.

In this case I prefer the result on the Right in the “Rule of Thirds” grid. Next I decided to try and make the text more dominant:

For me these two are too clearly divided up, but that may just be my personal bias. On the good side the title of the Book will be very clear indeed. In any case its worth studying how I’ve used the grids. Take special note of how, on the right, I have added a second grid (marked in red) within the upper two horizontal sections of the first.

By this point I now felt I had enough  information to make an informed decision and decided I like the very first layout I did. So the next stage is to refine it some more. I’m going to discuss that in my next post since there are still quite a lot of issues to be considered.

Here again is the photoshop template for you to use. Its at the correct resolution for a 6 x 9 book including bleed with overlays for both of these grids. It’s 450 DPI at actual size and includes 3mm bleed. It also includes a template for the Kindle cover format which is 1.6 and slightly different to the 6×9 cover. Right click the link to save and and Download here:

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