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Book Cover Case Study: Barbara McNally

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When we first began working with Barbara McNally, author of her memoir Unbridled, we knew right away that her design did not reflect the brilliance behind her message.  She came to us as a blank slate and asked us, simply, “What can you do for me?”  She did not expect that we were to reinvent her project completely.

The original cover

The original cover

Barbara's new cover, designed by Monkey C Media

Barbara’s new cover, designed by Monkey C Media

The phrase “Never judge a book by its cover” is great in theory, but is rarely executed in real life.  The original cover is shown on the left.  We knew right away that this cover did not represent her ideas.  When judged purely by its cover, it looked like a work of young adult fiction- far from her intent.  Barbara’s memoir of escaping a stifling marriage and adventuring to self-liberation is an empowering message to mature women who feel dissatisfied with their current livelihoods to take life by the reigns and live unbridled.  She needed a cover that captured the essence of her adventure.

We wanted to keep certain aspects of the cover, but change them to be more sophisticated.  The landscape in the background was essential, as a majority of her memoir takes place in Ireland, and Barbara frequently rides horses throughout her travels.  We chose a more vibrant landscape photograph and an abstract image of hair flowing in the wind.  The hair can be seen as a woman’s hair or a horse’s hair, and we enjoy this ambiguity.  The title and tagline were also changed to be more consistent with the maturity level of the design.  Overall, we feel the new cover is not only more appropriate to the subject matter, but draws in a much more diverse and expansive group of readers.  What do you think?

To learn more about Barbara McNally’s journey, or to buy Unbridled, visit her website (also designed by Monkey C Media).

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