The Creative Spark! – Cover Up!

Cover Pages and Presentations

What makes books sell? The covers, partly. And what makes your essays nab great first impressions? The covers.

We all know that presentations?not just cover pages?rank high when visual eye-candy gets served. We tend to love slideshows of optical illusions, but loathe screens stuffed with bullet points?especially when the speakers? words and the text don’t match.

Even if your content lacks luster, your cover page can embellish your final product. Remember the story of the groom who wanted a divorce the day he saw his bride without makeup? Well, he might be grading your paper.

Many professors breeze through papers, I’ve heard that some sometimes grade without a full read. So, the first two pages often serve as your grade benchmark. Polish them. With that in mind, why not make your cover page or presentation shine? You don’t need to spend a lot of time playing with designs. You just need some basic design principles to speed up the flow.

So, we’re going to show some design principles to help you make a stupendous slideshow or essay cover. The book Design Basics Index by Jim Krause ranks as the all-time best-design-book I’ve ever read. His advice, like eye candy, gets served in bold font below; mine gets catered as the aftertaste.

Place it in the oddest sp°ts. Not really. Better stated, place your cover page text (and text alignment) at a point that is not center. Better still, place your cover page text (and text alignment) so that they stand at unequal distances from every side of the page, says Krause.

In a prior article, I showed how off-center alignments work much better than center ones. Now, I show you that, when it comes to design, inequality rules.

To clarify, look at the following image:

Notice how the red dot is located on the page at unequal distances from each side of the page? That inequality, says Jim Krause, creates intrigue?like the eureka that comes during solving a puzzle. So, place your text (and text alignment) at unequal distances from each paper edge.

Color sends emotions. (p. 74) To ignite emotions, use bright colors with grayscales. Use warm colors (yellows, reds, and, oranges) with complementary cool colors (greens, blues, and purples). Also, use colors to convey themes like isolation. For instance, the single dark red pen amid grey pens can stir emotions. Similarly, small yellow circles grouped together on a page with one big blue one in the corner can show loneliness and power.

What gets EMPHASIZED? Make one aspect of your design pop and the other take backstage. In other words, let either just your image or just your text take up two thirds of the page. If you have a telling image, let it take the lion’s share of the stage, or if your title pulls you in, let it dominate the scene.

Group by Theme. If you are using multiple images or text blurbs, then group them by theme. For instance, if you have an image of a question mark, place it so that it overlaps with an image of Isaac Newton. don’t put those closely related items on opposite sides of the page!

Similarly, if you have a slogan to place on your title page, like “I think, therefore I am” put it next to, say, a picture of a spider weaving an intricate web. Group thematically related items?and spark interest wherever you can.

So, use design principles to cover up your essays?flaws and all. Eye candy, like syrupy raspberry-chocolate-mints, can liven up the driest of read, convey emotions, and send hidden signals to the person assigning your grade.