graphic artists! seeking ideas for book’s cover

If you're a talented illustrator who's willing to volunteer a few hours in return for a possible publication credit, read on.

My book Human Transit, which I hope will come out by November, needs some ideas for a cover.  The publisher has developed one that has promise but would like to see some alternatives.

The visual message of the cover must be:

  1. Hey!  Eye catching.
  2. Cool!  Minimalist, not emotional, not "hot"
  3. Transit can be simple.  The image must not convey a sense of complexity or confusion.  That's why I'm thinking "minimalist."
  4. Transit is about humans, their needs and desires, their joy and success, their jobs and families and recreation. 
  5. Transit is not about technology choice.  That's why I tend to prefer images that are based on transit map imagery rather than images of transit vehicles. 

The cover text is:


Human Transit


How clear thinking
about public transit
can enrich our communities
and our lives

(I like this "four-line poem" layout, but it can be in any configuration.)

Author:Jarrett Walker

All this text must be clearly legible on the cover, though the subtitle should be smaller than the rest.

The cover dimensions are 6×9 inches.

If you provide the image that becomes the basis for the selected cover, you'll be credited on the title page.  Please note, however, that I'm not running a contest, just welcoming ideas from anyone who wants to share them.  The final decision about the cover will be made by the publisher.

Please pass this on to graphic artists, or aspiring talented ones, that you know!  I would need to see your ideas by July 20 to keep the project moving.



6 Responses to graphic artists! seeking ideas for book’s cover

  1. Chris Bradshaw July 12, 2011 at 6:39 pm #

    I am not an artist, but I have a graphic to suggest: a person is shown “wearing” a bus, that is pliable and comfortable.

  2. Morgan Wick July 12, 2011 at 10:32 pm #

    I am also not an artist, but I too have a graphic to suggest: a blank white field, with the only non-text elements being a horizontal blue line with two circles on it (representing “stations”) and a WALK light silhouette “walking” on the line between them. Optional: A fully-developed transit map watermarked into the background, so light as to barely change the color – metaphorically pushing transit’s complexity into the background and bringing its simplicity into the foreground.

  3. Jase July 15, 2011 at 6:07 am #

    I’m not an artist but a journalist . If I was looking at your poem I’d wonder if words could be removed, thus:
    Clear thinkIng
    about transit
    can change communities
    and lives.
    If I was designing the cover I’d put a single horizontal black diagonal line holding one station marker and the words human transit.
    Subtitle and author down the bottom in a cityscape silhouette motif.

  4. In Brisbane July 15, 2011 at 9:58 pm #

    A photo of general public people walking in the street taken at eye level, and above each one a small white circle with black plain letters a three digit number and their destination or names, just like a bus or subway train has destinations. You could even put via X if you wanted to.
    The essence of the image? To depict Life in Motion.
    So I don’t have an image or any graphic design skills, but I can offer that idea.

  5. In Brisbane July 15, 2011 at 9:59 pm #

    If you use my idea, one of the destinations must be Brisbane!!!

  6. WJF July 29, 2011 at 9:17 am #

    Not a graphic artist, but I was thinking using the ped signal “walk guy” as a simple shape for some transit lines or rails or something crossing.