Session 12 – Working with imagery (04.02.16)

Designing book covers inevitably involves using images and as such, the importance of them was discussed in today’s session. The very basic features of images using either RGB (Red, Green, Blue) or CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) format was something I had not heard of before today’s session so this was a simple, yet very important point to keep in mind for my own designs later in the course. Deciding between the two is decided before the design has even started. RGB is traditionally used in digital as the quality and range of colour is not as high as that of printed books. Therefore, CMYK is used for printing.
Another key part of using imagery in production is that of photography. And with that comes licencing laws which needs to be considered carefully before and during a cover design. There are 3 main types of licencing for using pictures:
Rights Managed (RM) – An exclusive contract meaning only you can use that picture.
* Royalty Free (RF) – The option which allows anyone to use for different things.
Microstock (MS) – Images which are sourced from libraries – for example, Flickr.

A further aspect of using images in cover design which needs to be considered is that of the image quality. For the purposes of cover design, the most important thing to understand is ‘dots per inch’. This is the number of dots per inch printed on the image; the higher the number of dots, the better the quality.

This is the best way of displaying the difference between the two. The 72 dpi image is in low resolution and can be used in digital books, whereas the 300 dpi image is in high resolution and can be used in print books. The latter also means that changing the size of the image will make no difference; the quality of the picture ensures, for example, that the image does not pixelate. This was a very useful piece of information and will be good knowledge going forward when making my own front cover. For the rest of the session we put this knowledge to the test by having some time on Photoshop, and this is something I need more practice with as I am finding it quite confusing.

1. vsellis. (2013) Understanding DPI, Resolution and Print vs. Web Images. [accessed 10 February 2016].

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