Superpower Design Needed for Cover Concepts

Today senior production designer Erica Johnson offers her behind-the-scenes insights on a fun Young Adult series from Darby Creek. Enjoy!

This fall we released a new YA series, The Gift, about teens who receive supernatural powers from a mysterious man. The concept proved tricky to capture in cover images. The photo research, design, and editorial teams worked through a number of concepts:

· Portraits of teenagers looking serious. But would the supernatural concept come across?

· Add effects to portraits to increase the supernatural feel. But then, we would need to differentiate between abstract powers like channeling and thought planting.

· An illustration or type concept could help solve the “abstract powers” issue. But a strong photographic cover was preferred.

· Use atmospheric photos to play up the mystical concept.

We went with the last option, choosing to drop the human element in order to build upon the mysterious storyline. We used moody photos and distressing techniques to obtain the right look. The final result: basketball for channeling traits in All You Are, houses on a street for thought planting in Calling the Shots, stoplight signal for attraction detection in Certain Signals, and a skyward view with motion blur for time travel in No Regrets (all pictured below).

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