Meet the Team

Meet Ralph, Tellwell’s Creative Book Designer!

Introducing Ralph Cavero, one of our skilled in-house book designers! This March we’re shining a spotlight on the creative journey involved in designing authors’ books.

Join Ralph as he uncovers the secrets behind book covers.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’ve been happily married for 12 years and have three kids: two lovely daughters and an angel son. Spending meaningful time with my family is important for me. 

I completed my bachelor’s in computer engineering with a focus on computer networking at the University of San Carlos. Music is a passion of mine—I enjoy all genres and can play the guitar. Sports, particularly basketball, captivate my interest, and I also have a fondness for art, including drawing, design, and decoration. Nature, with its lush greens and serene blues, holds a special place in my heart.

How did you start your journey as a book designer, and what drew you to working with Tellwell Publishing?

During my college years, I began developing my design skills by taking on commissioned projects in my spare time. Upon graduating, I decided to pursue a career in design, alongside managing computer shops and laboratories, driven by my deep fascination in the field. 

I spent two years at Sunstar Publishing, followed by five years at Author Solutions Inc. Later, I joined Black Card Books for two years before settling into Tellwell, where I’ve been for the past three years. What attracted me to Tellwell was their commitment to valuing their employees. Even during the hiring process, I was impressed by their treatment of human resources. For me, work becomes less of a chore when you feel valued, acknowledged, and supported. Tellwell has demonstrated that it’s not just about what you contribute to the company, but also about receiving recognition and support that matches your hard work.

What gets your creative juices flowing when you’re designing a book cover?

As someone who’s naturally artistic, both music and peace of mind serve to enhance my creativity. Each book cover I design is approached with care, designed to suit each author’s vision. Music allows me to immerse myself more deeply in the essence of the books, while a tranquil state of mind fosters expansive and innovative thinking.

What makes Tellwell Publishing unique in how it supports authors and their book projects?

Tellwell invests genuine care into every project it undertakes. They ensure seamless transactions and respectful handling of all requests. Offering thoughtful guidance to enhance their books, Tellwell fosters a good relationship that goes beyond business, providing authors with a sense of camaraderie and friendship throughout the process.

Can you walk us through your process of creating a book cover? How do you make sure it captures the essence of the book while looking appealing?

Each conceptual design undergoes careful crafting and thoughtful consideration, exploring deep into the author’s perspective and preferences. 

Before creating my book covers, I immerse myself in the essence of the work by reading its summary or key passages. Drawing inspiration from various sources online, I carefully select elements that set the tone and guide me towards the intended direction for the design.

Do you have a favourite project you’ve worked on with Tellwell Publishing? What made it special?

While I hold each of my projects in equal regard, there are a few that stand out as particularly memorable to me:

Keith Clouten, The Prairie Pilot Who Flew for God

Jiya Nanner: The Orb Oracle

Dorothy Read: The Other John Adams

Alison Williams: Spell of the Wordsmith

Why do you think book covers are so important in grabbing readers’ attention?

The cover serves as the initial introduction to a book, holding significant sway over a reader’s decision to delve into its contents. Book covers are the first impression on readers. They can either attract them or push them away. It’s not just about looking nice; it should tell a story. A good cover is key to grabbing people’s attention and getting them interested in the book.

What are some common challenges you face as a book designer, and how do you tackle them?

What challenges me in creating a book cover is not the design process itself, but rather the feedback I receive. Authors often request additional changes after seeing the initial design, sometimes even asking for illustrations that exceed my capabilities. It can be frustrating not being able to fulfill these demands, but as a cover designer, there are limits to what I can achieve. I politely redirect authors’ requests to the appropriate channels for better handling. Another obstacle I face in cover design is inevitable criticism. I view criticism as a natural part of being a professional book cover designer. Art is highly subjective, and everyone has their own preferences. Nonetheless, I maintain a positive attitude and remain focused on the project until completion. I use criticism and suggestions as motivation to continuously improve my skills.

How do you keep up with the latest design trends and tools in the publishing industry?

A mix of research, networking, and continuous learning allow me to keep up with the trend. Being a computer engineer, I am able to sort necessary tools that are relevant to my craft. While being open to emerging trends and technologies, I am equipped to create designs that are both current and appealing. And while it is important to be aware of trends, it is also vital to maintain my unique style and creativity.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a book designer?

To be a book designer, one must have a love for books with a passion for creativity and design. Starting with small projects or internships matter, especially for training. Experience is the key, and remember that even small projects can lead to bigger opportunities. Don’t forget to build a portfolio, because it surely will come in handy.

Besides designing, what are some things you enjoy doing in your free time?

I enjoy walking and playing with my dogs, bonding with my family by mall-strolling, or just road-tripping, shooting hoops and chilling with drinks with my friends and cousins.

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