Which Cover Do You Like Best?

Rick and I are in the final stages of preparing Small Homes for the printers. We changed the cover from an earlier version, which showed a small turn-of-the-century home in Santa Cruz (in this revised cover, it’s the middle image in the left hand column), because a single image didn’t seem to represent the diversity of images (120 or so small homes) in the book. Hence the collage.

Below are two alternatives, the same except for the background color. In the one with the red, it’s similar-looking to Home Work, Builders of the Pacific Coast, and Tiny Homes on the Move. Some of our savvy book friends think it’s too similar, and that another color would distinguish it from the other books. Hence the other with the dark green background.

Comments, please. Which do you like? Do you see any problem in this cover being similar to our other books?

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

28 Responses to Which Cover Do You Like Best?

  1. The green is easier on the eyes and contrasts with the color of the materials in the houses, making them stand out against the background.

  2. I think the red makes the photos brighter and clearer but it could confuse people. Suggestion: offer all three books as a set. I like to think your readers can differentiate the books.

  3. I like the top one much better….

    -it has more of a "unity" feel with other books
    -the houses in the photos stand out much better
    -the color/contrasts seem nicer

    *** in the top one, I can immediately identify / admire each individual house. In the bottom one it is sort of a jumble, and I have to work to sort of separate the houses from the background. (maybe I am just getting old and my color visions sucks..but…maybe not)

  4. Red by a significant margin. The green version blends too much with the colors and landscapes in the photos. Not sure I love the collage effect in general but it is ok.

  5. Green for sure. Green can be read warm or cool. In this case it reads cool or neutral in a way. It allows the warm colors in the house pictures to come forward. The red draws attention to itself and for no reason.

  6. I think that the red one is the way to go….the green makes the pictures recede…all that green in the foliage blends with the background. As far as it being too similiar to the other books….the people who know you and your work won't care, the people who don't "know"…won't care or be aware of the similiarities. I'd buy anything you made. The cover is a good one.

  7. Did I say "won't care"? Of course they care…but maybe "won't make a difference" is a better way to describe the situation? I like the red…and there's nothing wrong with continuity.

  8. Hey Lloyd
    I know what people mean when they say the red one looks too similar to the previous books. In fact my copies of your other books don't look all the same. Maybe different exposure to UV light…? I like the red one, but i think the green one looks better. Probably i would like it even more if the green colour of the background were a bit "warmer" with a bit more yellow in it. I also think that a change would look good. Consistency doesn't exist in the natural world.
    But as many other people here have said here already, your books are special.Even if the cover were all black i would still buy them…

    Good luck with your choice.

  9. I have several of your previous books and give them as presents. Love them. That being said I think the red cover makes the green foliage in the photos "pop" a little better, giving more definition to each photo, more depth and detail. Dance with who brung ya, Lloyd. Go with the red.

  10. When I put all the books side by side to compare the covers, I notice that most of the letters are yellow but really only Homework has some red solid colour, and that red is different from the one used for Tiny Homes on the Move.
    Builders of the Pacific Coast has brown from the fence as a solid colour, and only the main title letters from Tiny Homes Simple Shelter are red.
    I most definitely think that Small Homes should have its own colour and be green.

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