Friday, June 13, 2014

Writing: Why Are They Called "Comps?"

I recently received the first pass cover design for my next novel, Fatal Trauma, due out next spring. (And, I might add, it looks great--but too early to share it with you). After the email conversation, I began to wonder exactly why these early cover designs are called "comps." A Google search was no help, so I went to an expert for the answer.

Ken Raney is a talented graphic designer, whom I met through his wife, author Deb Raney. When I posed the question to him, here's what Ken had to say:

"A 'comprehensive' layout in graphic design and advertising is usually shortened to 'comp.' It is the layout of a design that is originally revealed to a client which shows the relative positions of illustrations and text before the final content of those aspects has been decided. 

"Back in the old days we used to have to draw everything. Now it's done on computers, but you still have to cobble everything together (the 'comprehensive') to show the client, now generally by sending a low resolution file for approval."

Those of you who want to know more about covers and cover design should check out this interview with Ken by Alton Gansky.

I'll have more to say in a future post about choosing the content for a book cover, but in the meantime, do you have any questions for Ken? I'll pass them on for his answer.

(image via

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