Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I might go with this logo color, though.




Also I am a bit worried about Gamut warnings on CMYK printout now. The whole yellow-to-blue gradient behind ZX's head shows as outside the range. On some test printouts I did it looks fine but I wonder when it'll go to the proper print machine itself...

8 comments:

Tom Busler said...

I know marketing is probably the least of your concerns when creating art, but I feel that the original, "bluer" logo was a bit more eye catching... it popped more against the darker hues of the cover's background. This one is beautiful, too (and appears more detailed in its swirling nature), but will it jump off the shelf towards a prospective reader who may not know you? I know we shouldn't judge a book, or a comic, by its cover, but these are just some thoughts. I'd hate for someone to miss out on your fantastic illustrations and story because their eye wasn't speared by the brilliant blue of the previous logo...

Your heart is within, though. I have a question that has occured to me while writing this post: Do you consider the cover as promotional / marketing, a lure? Is it actual content? Do you consider it, in a way, to be the first page of the comic? Is it meant to foreshadow something to the reader? Or simply introduce one of the main characters? It may be many or none of those things. I am just curious as to what your goals were for your cover, and what purpose you feel they serve in general. It is obviously important given the time and effort you have poured into it...

Helm said...

Tom, thank you for your interesting message.

I do not hold marketing to high regard. Least of all rudimentary psychological schemes based on now widely applied Freudian concepts on instinctual desire. The whole "women smokers are more liberated, didn't you know?" thing.

To be frank, if there is anything I consider morally reprehensible in the process of commerce (outside of the exploitation of labor) it's the use of such means to sell something to someone that doesn't actually need it. I feel this describes most of the purchases people are led to make with their disposable income nowadays, really. Advertising started out as a way to 'get people to be aware that these products existed in the case they needed them' and slowly but surely mutated into the marketing of generic inessentials as shortcuts to self-contentment on the psychoanalytical level.

That's a big discussion with a lot of caveats of course, and examples should be examined in a case-by-case basis.

I would never 'hype' my comic with lies or deliberate diversions in order to get paying customers that a few days later realize they didn't really need to buy this comic. Even self-aware witticisms like "THE BEST COMIC EVER" that some other modern creators use irk me considerably. The mere idea of people being stuck with my comic as a purchase they regret offends me more than any scathing critique ever could.

In conventions I always engage readers as humans first and not customers. I tell them that if they have any opinion on the material they can reach me through the blog and that if they're unhappy with the comic they can return it for a refund. None have taken me up so far. I realize that even if they were unhappy they probably would not go through the trouble of contacting me (I expect it might feel humiliating for them also) but on the other hand a lot of people have high tolerances for what I consider humiliating behaviour and furthermore the conventions I present my comics in are recurring and there are a lot of readers that revisit them and give me their impressions. No one so far has come up to me to tell me they were disappointed.

All that said I kinda am playing on a base impulse with the cover but it's no more advanced a marketing ploy than a child could come up with, really. I've set a very bright thing amidst darkness so that the reader will look at it and get that prime, reptilian-brain response of 'there is something shiny there that I covet'. I do not aim to get anything more out of this effect than just a potential reader picking it up and leafing through it. I can - I think - allow myself that amount of marketing and still sleep at well at night. Besides, the coloring scheme befits the linework.

I think the character+logo combo are shiny enough for these purposes and I didn't want the logo to have priority over the ZX head, hence the change. Also the overall palette is more cohesive like that. I might touch up on the ZX head further actually.

I consider the cover both the first and last page of the comic: it is the first thing the reader will see on their initial reading and the symbolic qualities of it will be vague and not yet associated with the content, or will even look vaguely bizarre. Why dead leaves and technological bits and domestic artifacts? Why this strange angel-like halo around what seems to be a suggestively shaped robot head?

After the reader has finished the comic for the first time they will close the book and look at the cover again and now its symbolics will be clearer. And yes, the cover detail work is premeditated to a large extent (the said technological 'heart' with the lamp-transistor, the dead dried leaves, the ruler, the scalpel, so on) while some of it is just designs that I intuited as being good to have on a cover, nobody can make 100% rational calls when talking about the process of creating art.

Sergio said...

I like the blue one, personally.

kaseri said...

please draw him looking towards the right, this is too damn sad :(

excellent cover though, and i think the new color is better; the shape of the ZX logo is robot-y enough in my opinion, so the color doesn't have to be so cold.

Good job!

Helm said...

"please draw him looking towards the right, this is too damn sad :("

Heh, I'm sorry, no.

Glad you like the cover :)

Earweed said...

the blue one is strong Helm, the other suits better in the eye though but it's up to you.

can't wait to hold the printed version!

Helm said...

Thanks. Tomorrow I'll do the final pass through the spelling mistakes and I'll start sending e-mails to the greek publishers.

Earweed said...

good luck!