We all know that judging a book by its cover is cliché, but the reality is we judge books by their covers all the time. A book cover done right translates the story into art. It sparks awe and curiosity so we’re invited to peruse the back of the book and ultimately crack open the cover to find out what’s inside.
Thus, the whole creation process for my own book Bling was about tapping into my intuition to find a balance between artistic awe and symbolic meaning. Every element — the lotus pendant, om pattern, and background color — is artistically intended to capture the essence of the book and make you say, “Whoa, that’s dope!”
The Lotus Bling Symbolizes an Awakened Soul
The original idea for the cover was going to be some kind of bling, but I wasn’t sure what shape or form the bling would have. The lotus bling concept came to me when I was creating the rest of the illustrations for the book.
Lotus flowers are very symbolic in Eastern culture. The plant grows in swamps, and though the roots grow in the mud, a beautiful flower emerges. Just like the lotus emerges from the mud, we can also lift ourselves regardless of what murkiness lies is in our past. The lotus flower represents growth, self-awareness, consciousness, and enlightenment, the central themes in Bling.
Intuitively, I knew a lotus would be the perfect motif for the cover. The lotus for Bling is decked out in diamonds. The petal layers form a yantra or mandala, an ancient tool to help induce deep meditation, a practice detailed in Bling. In the center of the lotus yantra is a diamond eye to represent our higher intuition or consciousness. The flower hangs on a golden chain that isn’t too feminine or masculine, which conveys that the lessons in this book are universal.
The elements tied together create a symbol of our awakened soul and remind us that the real bling in life is love and consciousness.
A Modern and Luxurious Take on Om
The pattern behind the lotus symbol is my own modern take on the ancient Sanskrit symbol for om. Om represents oneness. It’s a big theme in the book and was essential to illustrate it on the cover. However, I wanted to give the ancient symbol my own modern twist.
To complement the opulence of the lotus bling, I knew the om also needed to be luxurious — not luxurious in our traditional sense of material goods, but because the connectivity and peace it symbolizes are truly opulent. To give om a refreshed look, I looked to high-end brands like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel for inspiration. What I created was an edgy, modern take on the om that will resonate with hip-hop fans.
Black Ties It All Together
The black background is the element that ties it all together. The design team and I played with loads of symbolic colors. Intuitively I knew black was the right color, but I asked my design friends’ opinions anyways.
The black and reddish-orange covers tied. After asking myself what was I trying to highlight — the color or the graphics — I knew I wanted to emphasize the title and lotus bling. Black provided contrast and depth and was the right color to make bling the focal point. Here are a few examples of the different designs with colors and images. While it would have been easy to pull any scene from the book and slap it on the cover, I felt like that wasn’t the way to go. Instead, I wanted the cover to represent the book.
Trust Your Intuition in Design
Creating Bling’s cover was about trusting intuition and letting the creativity flow. As an entrepreneur, I understand there is always a pull from your ego to create something (whether it be a book, album, business, etc.) that will be commercially successful. Though our mind is a great tool, our intuitions are even better.
Creativity is all about learning how to let our intuition speak loudly and learning how to listen so we can develop something that not only has the highest chance of succeeding, but something we will be proud of and love.
I talk more about living a lifestyle that drives creativity and intuition in Bling. If you’d like to learn more about the lifestyle, design process, or illustrations, subscribe to my inner circle email list.