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This is a re-design of a book named Paper Towns. Just for practice, I've re-designed the cover.

enter image description here

Here, I can't notice any problem with the elements I've placed, but it somehow looks little cluttered or forced. My guess about problems is:

  1. Overall composition isn't balanced. Since the mountains on right side are big, weight of overall design seems to be shifted on right

  2. The book title (PAPER TOWNS) doesn't look much readable (looks blurred) and also seems misaligned.

Can these things be corrected?

EDIT: I did a few changes after reading answers. Changed size of paper elements.

Now content looks a little more balanced (at least to me). But bottom part still has problem. To me, it seems like it is interfering with yellow curve, and also there seems some unnecessary/unbalanced empty space above it. Can it be fixed? enter image description here

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    Were you aware of the two different alignments you used, centred and flush-right? Were you aware that the title of the publication is "crowded" into the lower-right corner which is a low-priority "afterthought" position from a layout POV? – Stan Jun 7 at 22:25
  • @downvotes please tell me the reason as well :) – Vikas Jun 8 at 2:23
  • @Stan yes, unconsciously I was aware while writing book title at bottom. But it was yellow line which was interfering when centered align title, so I place it at right. – Vikas Jun 8 at 2:24
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    I down voted. This is nothing more than idea gathering and asking others for essentially "free work" in designing a book cover. As the critique guidelines suggest, questions should be objective enough to be properly voted upon. You have merely asked for broad "feedback" with no direct focus based upon "something looks a little cluttered and forced". In a "forum" setting that would be fine, but it's not great for the SE Q<>A model. – Scott Jun 8 at 2:38
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    Sorry, no. "feel comfortable" isn't quantifiable. So, the idea gathering comes form asking "How would you design this?" or "What are some ideas to make it feel more comfortable". It's not outright asking for ideas, but the gist is really just wanting design advice without any direct, answerable, question being posed. How I would design this.. is asking me to use my design skills to help in the creation of something..i.e. free work. – Scott Jun 8 at 3:03
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Swap the author and title positions so that the title is at the top and the author is at the bottom.
That will pull the "paper" elements and the title together to strengthen the implied metaphor.

Then, use consistent alignment. Centred would probably work to help organize the layout.

Blue is a recessive hue that when used in the foreground causes some cognitive dissonance at a reptilian level. That decision should be reconsidered. You'll see what looks nice.

Good Luck

  • Please check the edit. It looks better at top but bottom still looks little uncomfortable to me. Can it be fixed somehow? – Vikas Jun 8 at 2:55
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    @VikasKumar Play with it. You'll see what looks nice. – Stan Jun 8 at 15:58
  • Yeah I made it a little better. Anyways, any idea about why 3 downvotes my question? – Vikas Jun 8 at 16:04
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    @VikasKumar No downvote from me. Different opinions. Rather than consider what other people think, you should do what you think is best after trying a few variations. Why so sensitive about "interfering"? I have heard a rumour that some have the audacity to let different elements "touch" or even "overlap" each other. What's so special about that multi-coloured (DISTRACTING) pile of landmass sitting on a tilted horizon cutting your layout in half? Does that make you comfortable? Does the same font for title and author make you comfortable? Play with it. You'll see what looks nice. Good luck. – Stan Jun 8 at 16:19
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    @VikasKumar Why is everything on one line? What would happen if the title was stacked and doubled in size overlapping some of the stripes in the rock outcropping in the background? Is that John Green lying on the ground (nice nails)? Is that the same reason that his name is lying on the bottom of your layout? Keep playing. – Stan Jun 8 at 16:52
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You still having the same issue always: no visual hierarchy, all the things at the same level. The result is a flat design, exactly like the one in this question.

The same way you make this cover as an exercise, try to make a visual perception exercise to find some visual hierarchy. What's the most important to show, which object is uselessly eating the whole cover, what are the unnecessary elements, what can disappear without affecting the meaning and communication of the cover.

See those two pictures, which one communicate better?

enter image description here

Going back to this question, make with this cover exactly what it's proposed in the answers.

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    If I were shopping, I'd probably spend more time with the dis-organized display. Is it better to increase my shopping time which may increase my chances of purchasing something? Maybe it's better to let me quickly look the display over and leave. What are the chances nobody wants to disturb a "perfect" display so they leave without touching anything? Great comparison. – Stan Jun 7 at 22:51
  • @Dan please check the edit. Did you mean something like this? – Vikas Jun 8 at 2:54
  • @Danielillo if you don't mind, would you please check what's still wrong in my question? – Vikas Jun 8 at 11:52
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Not sure what this is used for, but i would clean it up a bit: no location icon and no blue stroke on the text at the bottom. Generally white text works on dark photographic backgrounds, so no need to add useless detail. Then, the overall composition is.. i don't know. Overloaded? Maybe let book designers worry about book covers :)

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I'd almost like to see some exploration into the font style for "paper towns", rather than just a heavy stroke on a sans-serif. or at least customize it up a bit.

The pin above the A is interesting, but I'm wondering if you could incorporate it better. like making it part of the O or something, or part of the p

Also, there's something about the straight road markings on the actual photograph vs the curvy illustrated ones. not sure I like the conflict

  • Fixed pin. Hope it looks better. – Vikas Jun 8 at 2:56
  • I disagree about the pin above the a – to me it just looks like it says “PÅPER”, which is not a word. It looks like a metal umlaut. The pin itself is not necessarily a bad idea (though I don’t think it really adds much to the design either), but the placement needs work. It looks much more integrated in the edit. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jun 8 at 7:26
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Insert more paper. But not random pieces, put something which has a logical reason to exist. Ideally it also gives a reason for something which already exists or happens.

An example:

enter image description here

  • It solved the issue I was seeing. Doesn't seem forced now. – Vikas Jun 8 at 14:17

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