Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Exercise Judging a book by its cover

Again the problem, which book to choose? I considered Swallows and Amazons which was very influential on me as a child and probably as an adult too tho " Better drowned than duffers, if not duffers won't drown" sounds a bit harsh to me now....
What stopped me was that the books have had some great covers especially the ones based on Arthur Ransomes paintings. I'm not sure I can improve on these.
I've already done Illustration 1 and did a very bad cover for Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance because I was having computer problems which is no real excuse so I feel I owe Robert M Pirsig a better attempt. Also the covers seem to be mainly based on an image of a spanner with a flower growing out of it which was probably a good idea once but could benefit from an update for 2014.
I borrowed this selection of existing covers from http://www.trenchperspective.com/2009/08/27/zen-and-the-art-of-motorcycle-maintenance/
Some sketchbook ideas. I like the simple drawing of the Buddhist from copyblogger.com
I tried to do a similar simplified version of this photo of Robert M Pirsig on his trip
I like this image but I worry that it only makes sense if you know it's supposed to be a motorcyclist and pillion passenger.
Some mock ups with Brush Script. The Z in  Zen is difficult to read
Using Magneto because of it's suggestion of all things motoring. Again I don't like the Z in Zen
Mixing Magneto with Forte which is better
Experimenting with moving the letters around

and overlaying my ideas on an abstract background
Using hand lettering from my sketchbook ideas above. If I use the negative feature in Paintshop Pro I get a gold effect which I tried with a red background to make it stand out
Red (and orange) always spells cheap to me so I tried green which I think I like better
 Is it clearer without the pillion passenger?
 or even without the pannier and sacks at the back of the bike?
The exercise is to design the whole cover including the back and spine so I should have looked at the whole thing from the start but got distracted by the cover.

What I'm aiming at is a simple design along the lines of Simon Barnes "How to be a bad birdwatcher"
or Saul Bass I feel I'm getting a bit lost with this so I went back to my sketchbook and looked at what I need to include
Which isn't that complicated when you think about it. So here is my first full cover design
Maybe the white is a bit stark? Using colour theory I tried blue and orange
 or if you see it as an American book maybe it should be red white and blue?
I agonised over which typeface to use and ended up with Forte, Magneto and MV Boli so it seemed obvious to continue to use them in my cover without an image
 which if I continue with the red white and blue theme gives you
I think I prefer a blue background
but at the moment I prefer this cover with the image on it

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Research point Book covers

Natasha Nuttall has said everything I could possibly want to say here about Penguin Books. The designs are iconic and it is fascinating to see how they have evolved whilst remaining recognisably from the same company.
Looking at my families book collection there are a variety of publishers but my eldest, Tom, has the best collection of series like these James Bond books reissued in 2002
 There is a nod to the original layout but they differ from other Penguin titles in my collection and the image on the front is inconsistent even though it looks as though they were published at the same time
 These books by different authors and published at different times are only recognisable as Penguin titles by the logo.

 In my research I came across this clever ad campaign which trades on the recognisable house style

 I also looked at the Swallows and Amazons books which were published by Red House which is the children's division of Random House (incidentally now part of the Penguin group following a merger in 2013) The red Swallows and Amazons book was published before the others in his collection. The typography in the rest of the series is the same and similar colours are used but I think the images of the boats are stronger than those with the children in.

This YouTube clip has interviews with cover designers giving some background to what they are trying to achieve with their designs and how they approach the task.