Judging Books by Their Covers

Brain Game Books Case Study

Design Firm: eklektos
3D Designer: Edward Tuttle
Client: Barnes & Noble Publishing

Project Summary

Ed Tuttle and his eklektos design studio were approached by publishing giant Barnes & Noble to press restart on a series of brain-game books. The content was right on target but the covers were missing the mark. Using the Adobe Creative Suite and Strata Design 3D CX, Ed was able to solve the design puzzle and hit a bulls-eye for the client.

The Challenge

This project wasn’t Ed’s first book cover project with Barnes & Noble. He had previously done a series of TV Guide Crosswords books that the client was pleased with. Based on this work, Ed already had a direction in mind.

Brain Game Books Case Study

The nature of the brain twisting puzzles found in these books is that all the action happens inside the player’s head – not on the page. The puzzles are all two-dimensional. Portraying the action found in the mental contests had to go beyond a simple representation of one of the puzzles.

The Solution

Ed knew the answer was in vibrant color, a sense of motion and pushing the puzzles into the third dimension.

“The client told me they wanted something with more motion than the existing covers.”

Brain Game Books Case Study

The Ideation Stage

Ed was given copies of the books in their existing form. Flipping through the pages, Ed found inspiration in one of the puzzles. He quickly created a comp using Adobe Illustrator and Design 3D CX to show the client his intended direction.

Brain Game Books Case Study

Client Feedback and Pushing it Further

The Art Director on the project for Barnes & Noble was Kevin Ullrich. Kevin liked Ed’s comp but wanted more – brighter colors, a bolder headline and clean/clear elements.

Bowing to Merchandising

Further into the project Ed was hit with the realities of on-shelf merchandising – space must be reserved for a sticker indicating special pricing. Ed’s next comp adjusted for this requirement and Kevin’s design requests.

Brain Game Books Case Study

The Flexibility of 3D

One of the things that Ed really likes about working in 3D is the flexibility that it gives him. In Design 3D, Ed is able to customize lighting, textures, position, reflections, etc. It’s like the world’s most flexible photo studio. With his shots ready, Ed rendered final images for import into Photoshop for adjustments. Final layout was done in Adobe’s InDesign application.

Final Approval

Approval came by providing email comps, with a final print sent to the client. These full cover proofs were printed on an Epson 7880 using Epson Professional Semi-gloss Photo Paper to ensure the client was looking at accurate color.

Brain Game Books Case Study

The Results

“Just as with the TV Guide books, Barnes & Noble was extremely happy with Ed’s work. And Ed was extremely happy with his tools. “As always, Strata works seamlessly with Adobe’s design suite.”

It’s no puzzle – in this case you really can judge a book by it’s cover, an artist by his work and tools by their results.

Brain Game Books Case Study