Circles or Triangles

The Art of Daily Cultivation, A Celebration of 365 Story Paintings has gone to print. The book cover design kept me awake at night. So like most would, I went out to my friends and book supporters to vote. I figured this would make everything clear. Guess what? A tie. 50/50. I think it stumped them for the same reasons it stumped me.

Final Dust Jacket Cover

Tough decision, the cover of a book, especially a hardback book with a fancy dust jacket can bring radically change the temperament of blood pressure. I thought a post about the design would be worthy thought note.

Early Design Version-Circles

Early Design Version-Circles

The project content of paintings and stories was created over a 12 month period with 12 themes in 30 day sets. I wanted the cover to express this somehow. While the circles reveal the image more clearly and in a way is more aesthetically pleasing, the composition was a challenge. You see the space to fill here in a 9 x 11 book is large. I worked on making the title larger and more typographically interesting. I filled the cover with the images at one point. I made the circles into a flower to represent blossoming with the months in the center at another point in the design process. In all examples it ended up looking like a splatter plot. The months not in order. I lined up the months with the images in line and it looked like a totem pole or a multi-directional wine country sign.

Triangles Cover

In the end, I agreed with viewers that the triangles – though jagged and not as aesthetically pleasing as the circles did convey integration and the sense of building. The mountainous feeling with the months woven through is more accurate than the scatter plot representation.

So, I’m marinating on the final cover. Hopefully, in time, I will grow more affectionate towards it. It’s never easy to love a product in the initial stages of shipping. I know this as a product designer over the years. You are simply raw initially — wrung out and hopeful that everything will go smoothly.

I am thrilled to be here at this stage of development. I can’t wait to see the proofs. I will post ordering information in the weeks to come. For now, it’s teatime and hot baths.


You may also like


  • julia james May 8, 2014  

    I love the concept
    Perhaps it is the color of the red that has a small argument with the background color.

    Excited to see what you change.

    • niya christine May 8, 2014  

      Thank you for your comment Julia. The screen color of the background isn’t accurate. It’s actually a mossy green and looks lovely with the darker/brownish red. Earth tones. But as a low resolution file, the color shifted strangely.
      Also, there won’t be any changes as the book has gone to print. I just wanted to note the interesting issues that came up in representing (triangles or circles) the concept of 12 months, 12 theme chapters, 365 paintings for the book. The time for design is over so now I’m just settling into the decision and sharing it. Thank you for weighing in though – sorry the time is past. Niya

  • kathy May 8, 2014  

    I did like the circles because the images were better seen, but I love what you say about the weaving, climbing, building; that does have a lot of meaning and is more important than seeing the images which will be seen inside anyway.

    I agree with Julia about the color, but if the red is not accurate, it is not an issue.

    Can’t wait to see the book live and in my hands. I love all the prints, cards, etc that I have bought from this project.

    • niya christine May 10, 2014  

      Thank you Kathy.
      I like these comments, very insightful. But even if I wanted to change something now, that ship has sailed. Mostly I just found the issues it brought up as fascinating to share. And, I sort of chose the lesser of 2 evils. But I think this cover will grow on me, and the experience of seeing the images in book will hopefully balance the impressionism of the cover. Thanks so much!