Commissioning Cover Art

For 4 months, Peter and I collaborated remotely to write a book together, The Digital Nomad Survival Guide.

Previous steps

Once we had the content moving forward, we started to discuss our launch plan and design needs. Lauren Hom is an incredible illustrator who was also in our RY2 group, so Peter pitched the idea of asking her to design our cover.


As a producer for design projects, I wanted to be sure that we gave Lauren the information she needed upfront to have an efficient process and prepare her appropriately.

I created a Cover Brief (Google doc) specifically to help us prepare for our kickoff call with Lauren:

  • the book’s Key Selling Points
  • our initial cover design thoughts
  • a link to a Pinterest board we started with references of what we liked + disliked
  • our questions for her about process + deliverables
  • content/copy we wanted on the cover

Creative Kickoff

On December 2, the three of us got on a call (me in Cambodia, them separately from Chiang Mai) to discuss the scope, creative direction, and her process.

We reviewed the Pinterest board together, agreed on a creative concept and direction, and determined what we still needed to give her to move forward.

A few of our Pinterest board references and the reference we wanted to work from, also from Lauren’s portfolio


Lauren sent through her fees and scope, Peter signed off on the contract, and I followed up with a summary of the call and deliverables (after confirming them with Peter) to ensure that we were all on the same page, which was essentially:

  • Creative direction: Lauren’s style, colorful, not laptop-on-a-beach, not craft-paper survival guide, embody the book’s tone of friendly but informational
  • Concept: type centered name — with supporting icon illustrations around it
  • Key reference: her Away We Go globe
  • KC + PK to provide Lauren with final text for cover, any creative direction, Kindle spec requirements, chapter contents for icons


In late December, she sent us black + white pencil sketches of 3 cover options, I wrote my initial reaction notes, Peter and I called each other to discuss what we liked and didn’t.

I sent back an email with our preferred design and a couple minor change requests.

On January 15, the three of us were in Ho Chi Minh City, so we met up at a cafe for Lauren to reveal the digitized + colored cover. We were thrilled with the result and requested a couple small tweaks.

She finalized the cover + chapter icons and delivered the files to us a few days later.

The book listed in Amazon’s search results for “digital nomad”

Phase Summary

  • Calls = 2 x 1.5 hours = 3+ hours
  • Creative direction + Pinterest board + book brief = 6+ hours
  • Illustrator scope: 5–10 hours

Next Step

Katherine and Peter are digital nomads, working remotely while they travel the world. They were members of Remote Year 2 Battuta, living around the world with 75 other digital nomads from February 2016 to January 2017.

The Digital Nomad Survival Guide is available on Amazon Kindle.

No Kindle? No problem. Download their free app for other devices.