About Velvet Jacket

Why do you design alternative covers?
When the Doctor Who DVD range first started I didn't like the BBC's own covers very much and I thought it'd be fun to try doing my own. My aim was to produce something different. I'm rather tired of the fuzzy photo-montage style of illustration (as pursued by the Black Sheep video covers and the majority of other fan versions), with a logo slapped across the top, black spine and dull wodge of text on the back. I wanted a cover design that had more structure yet looked more lively, with an illustration that was more dramatic. So that's what I've tried to achieve.

How did you go about it?
I liked the idea of a design that wrapped around the cover, but which obviously had to work as a separate front, spine and back. Using curved shapes broke up the square covers in an interesting way, and in particular created an asymmetric space for the main illustration that is a challenge to fill in new, eye-catching ways.

I deliberately try to keep the cover illustration clear and simple, rather than filling it with too many characters and elements from the story, to hopefully give it more impact. I especially wanted to use the relevant logos rather than the Paul McGann one all the time, and I was keen to give more prominence to the story title than most covers do. I have always liked the idea of numbered releases.

For the text on the back, I decided using a quote was old hat and preferred the idea of giving each story a movie poster-style tagline. Having some background information on the significance of the story before a brief 'what it's about' chunk seemed a nicer way to 'sell' the release.

In whatever I design, I like to approach it from a 'commercial' angle, to produce something that I think looks 'real' and could sit on a shop shelf quite comfortably.

Why offer them online?
Designing the covers was partly inspired by the efforts of others - there's a thriving community for such alternative covers - so I decided to give people who, like me, weren't keen on the style of the BBC's covers an extra choice.

How do I get them onto my DVD cases?
Take a look at the Printing section for some handy hints, but basically just download them (click the link on each cover's preview page), print them out, trim them and slot them into the DVD case. They're produced at 200dpi so that if you have a good quality colour printer you'll get nice crisp copies, and while that makes the download file 1-2MB, I hope this is a reasonable balance.

Will you do covers for unreleased/missing stories, or provide your template for others to use?
For now, at least, I'm producing covers only for stories as they're released on DVD, as that takes up my spare time as it is. However, I would like, some day, to produce VJ-style covers for the range of missing story CDs so that eventually, when the whole series is available on one type of shiny disc or another, there'll be a complete set of VJ covers for them.

I won't be distributing my template for others to use to fill in gaps, either. The logos in particular took a lot of work to reproduce at a high resolution and I feel, like the design as a whole, they make the VJ covers quite distinctive. I want to keep that distinction for genuine Velvet Jacket covers. Even if you want the design purely for your personal use or project, I don't want to risk them slipping out onto the web (see below). If you like and use my covers, and want the rest of your DVD shelf to match, then I appreciate your support but would ask that you be patient. Of course, I can't stop anyone reworking my template for their own cover designs, but I'd rather you didn't.

Can I upload your covers to other sites that provide DVD sleeves?
Please don't. I'm flattered if you like my covers so much that you want to spread the word and post them elsewhere, but I'd like to keep Velvet Jacket as the exclusive place to get my covers, so people can be assured of getting the highest quality, correctly sized, genuine article. I've seen other sites where they've been uploaded and aren't even at the right size to fit a DVD case! Please pass on the URL to as many people you like, or link to velvet-jacket.com directly, but don't post my covers on other sites. Thanks.