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Challenge: "Predictive Analytics" in a single image - a mystical crystal ball surprises by revealing high-tech innards
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I am a business consultant in "predictive analytics" - largely focused on teaching, writing, and chairing the industry's leading commercial conference -- but this book is not only for my industry -- it is a broadly-appealing, "pop science" book on the topic.
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I am seeking the image (only) for the cover of my book. IMAGE: CRYSTAL BALL, CUT-AWAY TO REVEAL CIRCUITRY WITHIN BOOK TITLE: Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie or Die (John Wiley, February 2013). The book is a revealing, accessible tell-all about this newsbreaking technology, written for a broad audience and packed with brand-name examples. You may read the pithy, poignant book description at http://www.amazon.com/Predictive-Analytics-Power-Predict-Click/dp/1118356853/ This project is for the IMAGE ONLY - NOT ENTIRE BOOK COVER. The cover will have the book's title and this image below the title. The image is somewhat intricate and demanding, so the focus now is ONLY on the image. I may run a separate contest after this one to design the full cover around the winning image. The image must be: A crystal ball, cut open to reveal technology within. For a broad, popular book on the science of prediction, the crystal ball is the simplest, most iconic, pop culture way to denote the concept of prediction. It is an icon that could come across as cliche, so design execution is critical. Because a book cover with a crystal ball could be misconstrued as being about astrology or other kinds of mysticism, the image requires a technology component. Rather than adding a technology theme/component to the overall image (or cover), the ball itself should specifically be revealed to actually work by way of technology. There's technology "under the cover". You don't see circuitry by peering into the ball (we are not predicting technology with a crystal ball). You cut away the ball to reveal circuitry physically within - you are using technology to make a crystal ball work. You wouldn't know there was technology under the mystical crystal ball if not for the cut-away. This image is FIRST a nice crystal ball, and SECONDARILY revealing a tech component second. Clear and clean so that one can "get it" within just a couple seconds. Very simple - so that, even when embedded within a thumbnail of the full book cover, it is possible to see what it is. This means no humans, faces or hands (which would probably be cliche anyway) -- only enough detail to convey it is a crystal ball and the cut-away reveal of technology. The viewer will see the title has the word "predictive" (and the subtitle has "predict"), and then they see a ball. It has a base (not just a sphere) and also seems to glow in a magical way. That's enough to know it is a crystal ball. The cutaway or slice, revealing technology (presumably, computer circuitry), then makes them realize this must be technology-enabled prediction rather than astrology or mysticism which may be the topic of many other books. But, before the slice, the ball being sliced must be mystical. We are evoking the pop culture concept of crystal ball - so it must glow in order to clearly represent the (mystical) thing everyone knows about. OPTIONAL DIRECTION FOR BALL'S MAGIC AND GLOW: There's a nice Photoshop instruction webpage to make a beautiful crystal ball with mystical glow and other pertinent effects: http://psd.tutsplus.com/tutorials/tutorials-effects/create-a-magic-crystal-ball/ - But that ends up being too dark, serious and foreboding. So, perhaps just a bit of the techniques there or something like them could be used to give a bit of glow and texture, since it looks so nice and is a beautiful way to give it magic. It also has a bit of sci fi glow in a Matrixy way, which could work. For my book cover the message/image needs to be POSITIVE. This isn't, "warning, predictive technology will take over the world". It is a positive, fun, bright outlook kind of business/pop science cover. The book's subtitle (The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie or Die) is humorous. OK, once it is a magic crystal ball, then it cuts away to reveal circuitry underneath (or other technology). The fact is, this must have a (pseudo-) 3-dimensional approach, because a sphere is 3D and there's really no alternative to showing its insides other than cut-away. Also, doing the cut-away will make for a surprise, eye-catching twist on a the crystal ball concept. This could possibly be like the cover of Freakonomics (an apple's inside is revealed to be an orange - http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/05-05-19images/freakonomics.jpg) - reminding people of that image would be acceptable (like an homage), but that is not a requirement. I believe Photoshop could do the trick - no "real" 3D design, just pseudo-3D by way of an arc that cuts it away so. If you do a Google images search for "core cutaway" you'll see examples. But most of those examples cut away too much for these purposes. What remains must be *mostly* crystal ball, rather than an image dominated by the ball's innards. The quarter-slice rather than 180 degree slice may be ideal, although I can imagine that is more difficult design-wise. The "apple" type of slice (or a bit bigger) like Freakonomics may also be a good choice. (An "exploded view" is another kind of option, but I assume that would be MUCH more difficult to do - requiring "real 3D" imagery - especially in a way that ended up being simple enough - in the end, we do want the book cover thumbnail to be understandable at a glance.) For the circuitry revealed underneath, I think it is best not to make it look super realistic and more to look pleasing to the eye, albeit clearly electronics/circuitry. But if I am wrong, and super-complex or detailed, textured realism might work, I leave that to you. I have attached a very simple base illustration of a crystal ball from which you could optionally start. If you think you can source a more effective crystal ball for this, or create one from scratch, I certainly encourage you to do so. Either way, note that I consider the one I attached to be extremely plain as-is. OTHER NOTES: - A balance between elegant and bold - Perhaps more playful than serious - Certainly more personable than professional - as long as the design is clean, I'm not worried about it looking "unprofessional" - after all, the crystal ball metaphor is a playful one. - This book is more a business or pop science (Malcolm Gladwell or Freakonomics) kind of book than it is a technology book. It is written for anyone to understand, and for everyone to find interesting and entertaining. It takes what some might consider an intimidating science - predictive analytics - and shows that at its essence it is intuitive, fascinating, powerful and awe-inspiring. Thanks for considering this project! -Eric
Thanks and have fun! :)
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