The book is 8.5 X 5.5 inches. It is currently 302 pages long. This could change by a few pages. I should know the final page count by the end of the contest. A design template is attached (\template\BookCover5_5x8_5_Cream_310.pdf). I need a design for the front cover, back cover and spine.
I have also attached a blurb (\writing\Blurb.doc) that I plan to put on the back cover. I might need to make slight modifications to it.
The attached preface (\writing\preface.doc) is just a snippet to give you a feel for the book's structure. It doesn't go on the cover.
I am open to using either a photo or a drawing on the cover, whichever you think works better.
Above all else, I want a simple, clean design. If someone looks at a thumbnail of the cover, I want them to immediately recognize it as a travel book.
Keeping that in mind, I would like convey the transition from corporate life to backpacking. A juxtaposition between a briefcase (or some other corporate symbol) and a backpack (or some other symbol of world travel) comes to mind. Maybe a map/drawing of South America could be used. An expensive men's watch might also work well because time is a big theme of the book (most people I met were rushing from place to place, even those who were traveling for months at a time).
The word “Between” is in the title, so maybe that could be used to convey the dividing point between these two worlds.
Here are some of the places/adventures I discuss in the book (accompanying photos in parentheses):
driving a corvette from Texas to Wisconsin (\ideas\corvette.jpg)
a 4-day trek through the mountains in Peru (\ideas\peru_mountains.jpg)
visiting a silver mine in Bolivia (\ideas\mine.jpg)
An 8-day trek around Torres del Paine National Park in Chile (\ideas\tdp.jpg)
Taking a cruise to Antarctica (\ideas\penguin.jpg)
Paddling down an Amazon tributary in Bolivia in a dugout canoe (\ideas\canoe.jpg)
Climbing Huayna Potosi in Bolivia (\ideas\hp.jpg)
I don't want all of these to appear on the cover. These are just some ideas. I don't want the cover to be busy. If you can come up with a way to instill a sense of adventure, while also emphasizing the “quit-your-job-and-travel” aspect of the book AND manage to keep it simple, you will have my attention. (I realize it will be difficult/impossible to achieve all of these, but try to get as close as possible.)
One thing I've noticed with books similar to mine is that they tend to have a photo of one person walking with a backpack, shot from behind. This is something I don't want. It has become cliché. In fact, if you do use a photo, I don't want any people in it (at least not the subject of the photo). I have included a few covers I like and don't like for reference.
For the back cover, I was thinking a calendar could work nicely if it is placed behind the blurb. Or maybe the blurb could be set within a calendar? See \ideas\calendar.gif for an example. Thursday, September 29 was the day I arrived in Peru. Maybe you could use a calendar with that day circled in red ink and labeled “Day 1”. This is just one thing that comes to mind. I'm open to other ideas. You're the designer.