The evolution of an outdoors DVD cover (or how I pretended to be a graphic designer)

life of a mountain scafell pike dvd lake district
Final DVD cover art for my Scafells film.

For the past few days I’ve been busy working on the DVD cover art for ‘Life of a Mountain: Scafell Pike’. pretending to be a graphic designer of sorts. Whether I’ve pulled it of or not is up to you – then again these things can be rather subjective.

I was keen for the front cover to be striking and have impact. A simple cover which visually gives a flavour or at least entices folks to what the film is about. So while I was playing about and drumming up various incarnations, I began sharing them on Facebook for feedback. And I’m pleased I did! It certainly helped open my eyes to what appeals to outdoors-minded folks and arguably what may intrigue ‘Joe Public’ when it comes to the look and appeal of things.

So here’s a few I worked on below with brief explanations as to what I was aiming for…..

So above is my first attempt at designing the front cover for the DVD. I figured my photo of the Scafells (captured at dawn from Bowfell in December 2012) was eye-catching and it’s colour and detail leaps out at the viewer. Using screengrabs/stills from the film, I dotted these about the main image to help give an idea of who’s in it and a clue as to what all the fuss is about.

After all the Scafells for me are the stars of the show but I’ve always emphasised to folks it’s equally as much about the people who live, work, care for and play in the area. So we see “Mr Wasdale” Joss Naylor MBE, mountaineer and guide Alan Hinkes OBE, the Wasdale MRT, TV presenter and filmmaker Eric Robson and finally a hint of the local rangers and TV researcher David Powell-Thompson.

I planned on similar for the back cover but with more room to tell the story of what the programme is all about. In the end though, I ditched this design….it looked sh** and amateurish (as was bluntly pointed out to me by some online!) and I wasn’t happy with the font for the title of the feature.

lake district dvd

Attempt number two. The idea behind what I was aiming for is still here but modified. Thanks to Carol Emmons who follows me on Facebook she encouraged me to think about stretching the film’s title to fill more of the cover and make it more clear. Following on from that (after a lot of pissing about learning how to enable such tricks within Photoshop) I added in  an opaque backdrop of the Scafells in winter.

I felt this gave the overall image a bit more texture along with emphasising the DVD is about a mountain (obviously…). Again, I kept the idea of the stills of who features in the documentary. I chose to remove my name too. I wasn’t comfortable with it being in the title – it makes me think of massaging egos and such like, which is quite the opposite to who I am as a person. I was politely discouraged to do this from feedback so I reluctantly put it back in on my final attempt.

Again, I still wasn’t pleased with my efforts but I felt the perseverance was paying off. I was actually getting somewhere.

scafell pike dvd striding edge

And here we go. The finished article. Quite the change from the others, eh? I was chatting to my friend Rex on Twitter and he was saying how much he loved a certain photo I captured of the Scafells in winter (again from Bowfell) and I should try incorporating that within the DVD’s cover.

I felt disinclined to do so to be honest. I like the pic too – heck I’m well chuffed I captured the scene, I was very lucky – but I felt it wouldn’t quite work as a DVD cover.

It was only after dragging and dropping it in did it become apparent that this was indeed the striking and eye-catching front cover I was looking for (well, to me at least!). I was about to crop/remove it from the back cover but realised while looking at it supping a coffee, it was spot on as it was.

Inevitably, along with the usual details, logos and blurb I had to get on the cover it did mean I had to remove the stills of characters from the film. I did give it a go but it all looked rather messy. Simple is best I reckon.

So after some tweaking and adding the film’s description (kindly donated by a friend and peer) the cover is all done and dusted. At last! And now it’s off to the printers and DVD distributor. Job done.

Now, when can I head back outdoors again? I feel like a caged animal at the moment stuck indoors…..

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