M. S. Corley, Designing for Aaron Mahnke's Lore

Freelance designer M. S. Corley has always been interested in supernatural folklore. A fan of the Lore podcast since its beginning, when he learned that not only had a related title been in development, but that he would be given the opportunity to design the cover for it, Corley described it as, “The dream job, he didn’t know he wanted.”

Cover Design: M.S. Corley

Cover Design: M.S. Corley


Corley began his process for creating the cover by re-listening to Aaron Mahnke's podcast critically acclaimed for exploring the dark side of history, and reading over the manuscript. “I was given complete freedom, which was wonderful,” Corley states. "My general approach is to read through the brief a few times jotting down any notes I may have to keep in mind for the design. I'll dig through some of my inspiration folders to look for things that spark additional ideas based off of the creative brief. Then I often go for a run as I tend to have my best ideas, or get through any creative blocks, when I'm out on a run."

His design process also involved a lot of research. Despite Corley’s love of the supernatural, there were plenty of monsters and ghouls that he was unknown to. However, he avoided too much image-based research. “I tried to avoid any actual artistic representations of the monsters so that I could have my own ideas without being overly influenced…Often times I would purposefully try to make a monster design that isn't exactly the way that most people draw them because there isn't really a 'right' way to draw any of these and I didn't want everyone seeing my art thinking, 'Oh yeah, seen that a million times before.'”

Original Design Concepts


Despite, the obvious challenge of grappling with how to depict the various monsters and ghouls in a recognizable but original way. The process was “quick and painless.” Corley has pitched a wealthy number of concepts, with various art styles, routes and concepts. From that point he had received an immediate yes from one idea, one color change and it was done. 

“It's a great book,” says Corley. “The writing reads just like the podcast, so if you are familiar with that you know what to expect with the book. I'll for sure own a copy for myself and plan on giving away one on my social media when it comes out.”

We’ll definitely keep an eye out for it. It certainly has an incredible cover!

For designs by M. S. Corley's work, visit his website.

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Lucy Davies is a recent graduate with a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Graphic design from Falmouth University in the UK, where she focused on book and editorial design. She aspires to be a book cover designer.