Nikki Green on Creating the Cover for The Lady in the Cellar

Nikki Green is a graphic designer based in the UK. She recently created the cover for Sinclair McKay’s The Lady in the Cellar, published by White Lion Publishing. Here Green answers a few questions about the cover.

Can you give us a little bit about your design background?

I have been working in the graphic design industry for 9 years, working my way up from designing coffee shop flyers to developing established brands and designing award winning packaging.

Currently I am working in a fast paced environment creating packaging designs for the FMCG market so I relish the opportunity to create something that allows more creative freedom and is less commercial.


How did you come to design the cover of The Lady in the Cellar?

I never considered designing within book publishing before. I have always appreciated book covers and the importance of people literally ‘judging them by the cover’ but considered it more of a illustrators or photographers sector which I don’t confess to be a specialist in either.

However, I was contacted by the Senior Designer at White Lion Publishing after seeing a previous label design I had created for a gin brand. They liked the look and asked if I would be interested in producing something similar for The Lady in the Cellar. It seemed like a perfect fit and I couldn’t wait to get started.

What was your process for designing this book?

I worked on this book on a freelance basis in the evenings (anything to avoid the chores). Knowing I would have limited time with White Lion and a deadline to hit I wanted to make sure that both myself and the publishers shared the same vision. After studying the synopsis I created mood boards detailing, font styles, illustrations and the overall basic style. Once the boards were approved I produced a rough computer visual to agree upon the layout. Over the following week I started designing the final cover. The Victorian style typography was going to be the focal point, so it was important to get the balance right first and then build in some subtle references from the book before adding detail and lastly colour. We had agreed that the book was going to feature gold foiling so it was important from a practical point of view that this could be reproduced at print.

I found that investing the time at the beginning of the job to understand exactly what the publishers wanted help streamline the process and keep the project on schedule. For me this job didn’t feel like work, I looked forward to coming home, adding more detail and fine tuning the layout.

Is this your first cover? What type of books are you looking to design in the future?

This is my first cover design and I loved it! I am quite happy to design any kind of books in the future, designing this 1st one has opened my mind to a new sector I previously didn’t consider and I am looking forward to any new opportunities.

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