Genesis of a Cover (Episode 3)

In the last two episodes (#1, #2) I walked you through the journey of creating the cover for my musical editions. We looked at variations on a linear concept in Episode 1, and at an evolution of geometrical shapes in Episode 2. Today, we are reaching our goal, with a dramatic shift in direction. Let’s get started!

Finding something ARTISTIC

At the end of the previous episode, I mentioned how I felt almost frustrated by not having something truly artistic on my covers, rather just geometrical shapes. Granted, geometry can create wonderful patterns, and astonishing works of art, but let me remind you that, in this kind of work, the text on the cover needs to stay among the most eye-catching things. The line was good, but without dramatically increasing the text font size, it would have taken away attention from it. With geometrical shapes, one would have still had two different stories on the page and, sadly, not too interconnected.

Ever since the publication of edition ASE 0019, on Benedetto Marcello’s Six Sonatas for cello and basso (available here), I started to use the English bass clef, which I have been deeply in love with ever since my teenage years.

If you know the ordinary F-clef, this is drawn in the opposite direction, which proved ideal—by the way—for a left-handed like myself. The idea of using this as a symbol came from two directions:

  1. My partner suggesting I used some musical symbols instead of geometrical shapes
  2. The initial idea of having the stylised tenor clef as a resulting symbol when closing the cover

I tried with the tenor clef symbol, and it didn’t convince me. The treble clef didn’t either, so I tried with the bass clef. The initial result, TRY 15, was less than satisfying, but it eventually led into the right direction:

Don’t look at the colour, I used it only because I had to check whether the shape was good in any colour, and what best of a dull grey? This design has many issues, one of which being that the graphic and the text collide with each other. I therefore started to experiment with the Text Wrap feature of InDesign. One last try before reaching the goal would be this (TRY 16):

We were almost there but, still, something was missing, something was not clicking. Here is what I did to get to the final attempt, the one that you will find on all covers of my future editions for, hopefully, a very long time. First of all, I centred the clef and made it much bigger. From the front, one would have seen only a part of it and the two dots (artificially slanted in Illustrator). The composer and the title would wrap around the top curve of the clef, while the edition kind (Urtext, Critical Performance, or Arrangement) would sit in the middle-left, under the start of the spiral. The logo would stay where it was, with the lower arm of the clef wrapping next to it. The magic would then happen on the back cover, where the rest of the clef would live. The Edition Category (so far we have “Dotzauer Project”, “Dresden Cello School”, and “Forgotten Gems”) would sit inside two of the clef’s spires, with the QR code, the barcode, and the legal notices just below. A moment of suspence before you behold the winner of this long and exhausting work, the TRY 17:

I am delighted with it, and I hope you will like it too.

This is how it looks in reality, from the Boccherini’s proof I have recently received:


I can’t wait for these editions to get into your hands. The paper quality is great, the printing is superb, and it is a joy to have them on the stand.

The only thing that is going to change is the Edition Kind design, which was not too coherent with the rest. I’m sure you will be satisfied with it, though.

Wrap up

What do you think of this process? Did you enjoy the tale of how the cover got to be? Would you change something? Do you find it gives you precise feelings? Please reach out to me down in the comments or by contacting me directly through the contact form here on the website.

Bottom Line

Thank you for reading through this series of articles, much more is coming, so feel free to follow this blog (there should be a button in the lower right).

In case you are not already part of my mailing list, please consider joining it now, it’s free, and it rewards you with weekly gifts and discounts. An always up-to-date catalogue of all my products is available here.

Since November 2022, it is also possible to support me directly with my new ASE+ program (a kind of Patreon), where, with a monthly donation, you can ensure that I keep creating these high-quality scores, all the while being rewarded as you do! Check it out here, and in its presentation article here!

That’s it for today!


Published by Michele Galvagno

Professional Musical Scores Designer and Engraver Graduated Classical Musician (cello) and Teacher Tech Enthusiast and Apprentice iOS / macOS Developer Grafico di Partiture Musicali Professionista Musicista classico diplomato (violoncello) ed insegnante Appassionato di tecnologia ed apprendista Sviluppatore iOS / macOS

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