The Cover Is An Invitation

The cover image for 3 Nations had its own story. Several years ago, I attended a show at the Tides Institute in Eastport, ME (the easternmost city in the US) and fell in love with the work of Canadian print artist. Lesson one: never fall in love with a single artwork when working on a cover. Lesson two: know when to walk away. It took me a while, I didn’t want to give up on the piece, but eventually I did (the piece was tangled in an estate). The book still needed a cover.

At Off the Coast, people sent me artwork and I would select an image and then design the cover with it. I had nothing for 3 Nations. So I went to work and did what designers do, I sketched and tinkered, and finally came up with a photocollage made with the bridge across the narrows from Lubec to Campobello Island, a blueberry barren, a map of Passamaquoddy Bay, a fish weir, and an image of the St. John River. Layer after layer, cut, altered, rendered, adjusted; the digital equivalent of cut and paste, paint and erase, the image came into view.

One of my web design instructors told me a website is a series of problems that need to be solved. I have learned that almost every project, from cover art to tinkering with the CSS on the epub, to learning the sometimes convoluted language of InDesign has all been a series of problems needing to be solved.

I like how it turned out. The “3” on the cover pops, and is reminiscent of a Passamaquoddy birchbark etching design. The design leads you into the book, upriver to the bridge and its crossing. The spine (some of the most valuable real estate on a book cover) will be visible on the shelf when crowded in with other books. The blurbs on the back attest to the fine work of the authors of 3 Nations and their magnificent voices and stories.


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