Lean Media book covers: How we used feedback to choose 2 finalists

By | May 10, 2017

Thanks to all of the people who shared feedback on the first round of 9 cover designs for the Lean Media book project. I really enjoyed reading through your comments, which helped me see the proposed designs in a new light. Like any design-oriented Lean Media project, the feedback is not intended to be a popularity contest, but rather to inform the creative team. At the end of the day the creative calls will fall upon my small design team, which includes myself and the designers at TLC Book Design. But your feedback played a definite role in deciding on how to proceed. In this post I will share how we used test audience feedback, and then reveal the two basic finalist designs and variations (we need feedback on those, too!)

Here’s the email I sent to the designer about the feedback on the round #1 designs:

So I went through the designs. Lots of thought-provoking ideas! I also had potential readers in my target audiences take a look, and they gave feedback as well (http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,250634.0/all.html and on Facebook and Twitter, too). I find it fascinating that some covers I didn’t care for were well liked (such as #9) while others I was open to found few supporters (#5). In others we were more aligned.
In the end, the two that I would like to move forward are #3 and #6. Here are some comments from me and testers:
#3: 
Positive:
  • Stands out as a thumbnail
  • Easy to read title and subtitle
  • Obviously there is some important concept taking place
  • From a reader, this was unexpected but he or she is right: “the colors and shapes all reflect the tripartite concept verbalized in the subtitle.”
Negative:
  • Color is too bright (maybe #4 color better? Could also try some other colors)
  • The stock symbol does not actually reflect the concepts in the book.
For this one, it would be great if we could get a symbol that reflects one of the 2 main conceptual diagrams, or use the diagrams themselves, or some element of the diagrams. I’ve mocked them up in Google Sheets but as I said during our meeting in Portland they still need a pro design. I’ve attached the sheets versions for your reference.
#6
Positive:
  • I thought it was fun, and had an easy to read title and subtitle
  • “I like the more subdued colour and the highlighting of key words in the subtitles”
  • “Reminds me of classic manuals. I took it that it was showing how busy things are, and why you need to get lean.”
Negative:
  • Byline is very difficult to see. Perhaps a little bigger or bolder?
  • “Looks a bit dated and busy, the opposite of lean.”
  • “Good concept, contains elements of different types of media and technology, but it looks a little cartoony, maybe even geared toward kids.”
I found it interesting that some readers thought the busy-ness was a positive attribute, while others thought it clashed with “lean.” My take on this is the media ecosystem is indeed very complex, and Lean Media helps people concentrate on what’s important.
Regarding the color: I would actually like to see what it looks like with a starker (more contrasty) color scheme using different palettes – maybe try a medium green color, charcoal, and a burnt red for the background instead of light blue?

Based on my feedback, as well as the feedback that some of you provided, Monica at TLC designs took the #3 and #6 designs from the first round and created four mockups of each. These second-round contenders are displayed below. Which ones work for you?

Round 2, Design #1

Lean Media cover a1

Round 2, Design #2

Lean Media cover a2

Round 2, Design #3

Lean Media cover a3

Round 2, Design #4

Lean Media cover a4

Round 2, Design #5

Lean Media cover b5

Round 2, Design #6

Lean Media cover b6

Round 2, Design #7

Lean Media cover b7

Round 2, Design #8

Lean Media cover b8

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