I'd like something young, fresh, elegant, smart, glossy, urban, and sophisticated. Something slightly feminine, but nothing too girly.
I am totally open to directions -- you can use stock photography, illustrations, interesting type. I'm not afraid to push the limits, so please send design that is true to you and not just what you see has been submitted!
I also love the crowdsourcing nature of 99designs and will give credit to the winner designer in the next of my book -- more exposure for you!
--- The "no one knows what's rotting underneath" theme -- like a beautiful menu that's tearing at the edges. Or a girl who is dressed beautifully in a gorgeous restaurant, but looks lost. Or a table setting where some of the dishes are broken. I want something glamorous and conflicted at the same time.
--- Also interested in more graphic covers, but nothing too cartoony (stock photos can work, but I'd interested in exploring other avenues). Maybe something that breaks down the title, DON'T BELIEVE / EVERYTHING / YOU EAT
-- The "double life" theme. She is a regular girl, and a glamorous undercover restaurant critic. She enjoys fabulous 4-star food food, as well as dorm food. She is constantly in disguise and engaged in deception. Could be her sitting in a 4-star restaurant in a beautiful dress, but with her school books under the table.
-- Things not being as they seem. Some sort of optical illusion, something hidden. This is the "don't believe" component of the title. She thinks she wants the glamorous life being Michael Saltz's accomplice, but that's too good to be true.
OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER:
-- The cover should have a central focal point, something iconic that people will remember. Keep in mind that this will live as an eBook on Amazon, so it should look POP as a thumbnail as well.
-- Tia is 17 years old and is 1/4 black, 1/4 chinese, 1/2 white. So... ethnically ambiguous :) In terms of looks, I imagined her as a Shay Mitchell or Vanessa Hudgens type. You can choose to show her, or do something more detached, like showing her hands, back, legs, back etc. (Actually 20% of YA book covers don't show the character's head says this article: http://flavorwire.com/292783/awesome-infographics-ya-cover-art-trends-in-2011)
-- Can think of this as The Devil Wears Prada/ Sex and the City/ Hannah Montana (but with food)
-- Here are some great YA book covers from last year: http://www.theatlanticwire.com/entertainment/2012/11/25-most-wonderful-book-covers-year/59428/
-- Amazon, as you may know, Amazon images 1563x2500 pixels.
ELEMENTS YOU MAY WANT TO WORK WITH:
-- fine dining
-- a specific dish that looks great but something is amiss
-- a gorgeous dress
-- 4-star restaurant review
-- NYC and NYU
Thanks everyone, looking forward to seeing your designs!