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behind the scenes / choosing an oh joy book cover!

Oh Joy Book / Creating a Book Cover

Oh Joy Book / Creating a Book Cover

I love sharing more behind the scenes stuff with you guys to show how designs evolve into the final product. So today, I'm sharing a bit about the cover of the Oh Joy book that came out earlier this year. That book was a labor of love between my entire team, and we spent almost year creating it from start to finish. I was also pregnant during most of that time so it felt like even a bigger feat to tackle last year. But we did it!

We probably looked at hundreds of versions but for the sake of not boring you guys with every single tweak and revision, I've narrowed it down to the main sets and groups of what we designed/looked at/reviewed with Harper Collins (my book publisher)… 

Oh Joy Book / Creating a Book Cover

When the Oh Joy team first discussed what would be fun to create as the cover, I loved the idea of using one of the techniques in our book to create the title. There's a pop-up wrapping paper project in the book, so we used the templates provided to spell out Oh Joy in those top few versions. I also wanted to see what it would be like to cut out the actual Oh Joy logo and photograph that. So we tried that out, too. All of the photos used in these initial versions were FPO (for placement only) meaning we were looking more at general layout and information hierarchy than these being the actual photos with the intent that we'd shoot the real photos later.

The publisher felt that the name of the book was too hard to read in the pop-up version and that the things in the photos underneath it were too vague. They thought it would be too hard to see what's on the book cover. They came back to us with wanted to have the "Oh Joy" on some sort of solid area so it popped out more and liked the idea of showing a bunch of objects on the cover so there was a more clear focus.

Oh Joy Book / Creating a Book Cover

They pulled the photo in the top two versions from our endpapers and liked the idea of that sort of imagery. I really wasn't sold on that photo or direction as we had styled that shot specifically for an endpaper and to feel more like supplies and inspiration. I didn't feel like that random grouping of items showed what you could ultimately make from the book. So we tried what they asked for (top two) but also mixed in some images of finished projects for a collaged option.

The publisher thought the versions with multiple images was too busy (I agreed) but was open to other ways to show what you might see if you were in the process of making projects from the book. They also were really loving the Oh Joy logo on a circle vs. on a square or rectangle.

Oh Joy Book / Creating a Book Cover

I thought about showing a desk shot to create a little more dimension and what my work area might look like when making these projects. So we created a striped metallic desk and included some imagery from inside the book mixed in. We also tried mixing in other projects (again) to give a peek as to what's inside. And, we started to introduce gold foil as a technique I wanted to use in the final printing.

The editors felt like it was really hard to see what was happening on the desk and once we added all the text in, there was a lot all competing for attention. I was feeling frustrated and the covers were just getting worse and going nowhere.

And then you know what happened next? I had a baby! Coco arrived a couple weeks early before we got to finalize the book cover. I took a bit of time off from the book to hang with my new babe, but in the meantime knew we needed to get the cover to a place we all felt happy with.

Oh Joy Book / Creating a Book Cover

What the previous rounds were missing were FUN! We had looked at over 100 options and our eyes were starting to go numb. A month or so later, we came back to the cover and started from scratch keeping in mind that my publisher preferred a closer up shot with objects that were interesting and could be seen more clearly on a book shelf. We needed color and whimsy and all the elements that you could find INSIDE the book reflected on the OUTSIDE. We tried an abstract confetti background, created a fun confetti patterned wallpaper to the previous "desk" shot, and then photographed some new flats that mixed in crafting materials with final projects from the book (in both a mint background and a white/gold striped background).


And finally, we landed on this version from the bottom right of this last round. The back cover got tweaked a bit more from here, but we finally had a front cover!

Oh Joy book

What do you guys think? Are there any previous versions you really liked?

Oh, if you have the Oh Joy book (or when you get it), I would love to hear how you're using it and enjoying it in an Amazon review. It's so helpful for others to hear and of course, nice reviews make me and my team very happy that you guys are enjoying it! 😉


  1. I liked the confetti only cover the best. It just looks fun! But I also like the final book cover. I think the use of gold is very Oh Joy.

  2. After seeing all thee version, i will admit i like the final version the best. It clean, bright and easy to ready. The confetti only cover would have looked cute too. I also really liked the blue font in the 1st version. Lovely color!
    Will post a review on Amazon soon!

  3. i love it when you do behind the scenes posts!
    the final cover is definitely the best one! perfect amount of busyness and fun! 😀

  4. My favorite actually is the paper cutouts! I don’t have the vocabulary to describe why I like it which frustrates me…I guess I like how simplified yet graphic it looks, that the words oh joy are almost reduced to pictograms or pure geometric shapes.
    And the look reminds me of old school stop motion…Idk why and Idk why that makes me like it besides the fact that I love stop motion! Maybe it reminds me of Wes Anderson too?

  5. thanks so much for sharing insight into your design process! this and the bandaid process have been so fun to see
    I love seeing how other people work, but to see your process as a person I admire greatly is a special treat 🙂

  6. I really enjoyed this post. It was fun looking at all of the options and design ideas. I know that I am super indecisive so it would have been hard for me to narrow down which I liked best (especially with all of the good options you had). While I love the final product, I was also a big fan of the ones with the confetti in the background (within the fun section). The colors were bright and playful.
    Thanks for sharing the process with us!

  7. I LOVE reading about this! I work for a stationery company, and I know how much time it takes to get a design JUST right! Especially since our cards are funny, I know several versions end up being made before one is settled on!

  8. I really loved reading through your thought process. The final cover to me is definitely the winner – it’s fun, interesting and has your design aesthetic with the foil stripe. I totally understand how it’s hard to get the fun factor in styling, you gotta work for it! xx


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