I’d like to welcome a special guest today on the blog. Jake Berry is not only an accomplished computer programmer and graphics designer, he just happens to be my son. Jake is a senior in college majoring in computer science with an emphasis in game design. I asked him to talk with you about a project that has helped with my marketing efforts for The Waiting Booth. Today’s discussion will be on the experience of developing a concept for a romance trading card, also called a collectible card. I’ll now turn it over to Jake to explain the process of making a romance trading card!
Dreaming Up a Collectible Card
A while back my mom and I were playing with the idea of designing book covers for people who self-publish or perhaps a collectible card for her book, The Waiting Booth. After some back and forth over card text, little design ideas, and a last-minute change to fit the printing requirements, we came up with the card below.
The actual process, like most graphical work I’ve done before, happened in two stages.
The first stage is slow and arduous; we came to an agreement over the general idea of the piece, text and images, color schemes, and layout. This stage also includes sending prototypes back and forth with notes and revisions. For instance, I chose colors that would complement the book cover on the opposite side of the card. I also thought the wood frame would fit nicely with the theme of the novel which is part of the Whispering Woods series. The QR code is a nice addition for readers who might pull up the website with their mobile device.
The second stage of the process is much more interesting, enjoyable, and (sometimes) quick. After all the revisions have been done, I have the chance to really sit down and tweak the minor aspects of the layout that bother me. Maybe there’s a stray few pixels sticking out from a shape or there’s a pair of letters that the auto-kerning put too close to or too far away from each other and I have to fix this manually. I make tiny adjustments to color... to the transparency of layers... to alignment, shadows, shapes, lines, points, and any number of other minutia that the client will NEVER see or notice but will bother me every time I see the work from then on.
But as I said, the second stage is sometimes pretty quick. For the card above, this was the case. I didn’t see any areas where the text looked too weird or the spacing looked off. I did spend some time tweaking the coloration and shape of the card’s border.
After I sent my mom the final version as a PNG image, she ordered the card from GotPrint.com (http://gotprint.net/g/uploadCollectorsCard.do ). I advised that she only order 100 cards at first to check the quality. She ordered the 14pt. gloss-coated cover with color on both sides which turned out really nice. The cost was $15.75 plus shipping and handling.
I was a bit worried (although not as much as my mom I’m sure) that the cards would turn out to be upside down (in respect to their opposite side) or that the alignment would be off, but they turned out very well. I’m proud of the design and my mom keeps telling me the nice things people have said about them. Thanks for all the compliments!