As I've mentioned in one of the comments, most locals like the features of racial unity - namely the focus on the Malay, Chinese & Indian pictures (yes, Malaysians are a peace loving lot!) :)
On the other hand, a tourist/ foreigner prefers the many pictures depicting Malaysia - beyond its people, and including the many things that this beautiful country of Malaysia has to offer. They would like to know what makes Malaysia unique & good enough to be truly Asia.
This once again proves that Malaysians have a rather distinct taste :) (I've experienced this through the first book on Batik Malaysia as well - that's why we had 2 covers for it... one for the local market, the other for the international audience).
One Cover For All
As this 50+1 Malaysia book is going to have just 1 version (at least for now), so all the feedback & comments were necessary & important.
I think we generated nearly 50 different tweaks to the cover design just to find the perfect touch - one that can be close to Malaysians and yet impress the foreigners/ tourists.
Honestly, choosing the cover & further improving on it wasn't easy. I was still in between choosing what the locals wanted or what the foreigners preferred. That was a tough choice choosing one over the other.
Then of course, there was a solution. Rather than hovering one over the another, I got some suggestions to combine both together, which was indeed a 'master stroke'!
But with that solution, there were more works like sizing the segments to allow more pictures, selection of the pictures, and the arrangement of the selected pictures.
Again, there were many views like how to make the picture flow & at the same time, these pictures must represent Malaysia, truly & colourfully. We had to view all photo submissions again and choose the best that we think represent the country as a tourist destination & also a place for Malaysians.
Another constructive comment was the blue space which seemed a lil empty (& some even mentioned the colour of the blue).
To solve this problem and to add a lil bit more Malaysian touch, we decided to give some batik motifs on the blue segment. And the blue was given 'some life' with a shading/ tone of dark & light blue.
The dimensions of the blue & yellow were also reduced, allowing for the combination of the additional pictures.
The Final Result
So after lots of tweaks & changes, the cover is really brand new... it really looks different from the first draft we did. And here, without much further ado, allow me to show the final book cover:
You can see that it now has 7 pictures from the earlier 3 only. It shows our country in a 'light form' - something of leisure, yet one can know that Malaysia is truly Asia from its many races & the beautiful sincere Malaysian smile, its food & places, and with our heritage/ tradition/ culture shown by the batik motif on the top.
I personally like this cover & do hope that you guys will too :)
*The 50+1 Malaysia book is to be released this 31 July 2008! Keep a lookout for it! (will announce more updates soon) :)