The next book cover in our Words Matter series is a classic of religious thought by a 17th century French philosopher Blaise Pascal: his Pensées or Thoughts (as you will see, we used original titles for all the covers).
I will be honest with you: we’d wanted to use nails as a typographic material for a very long time. So we were extremely pleased to find the perfect cover for that. After his conversion to Catholicism Pascal not only wrote in defense of the Roman Church but also led the life of an ascetic, which supposedly included some painful self-mutilating practices. Even more importantly, nail is a very potent Christian symbol, being tied to Christ’s death on the cross. And finally, despite its simple function and status, it may be very decorative and the way we used it, it begins to look like much more precious material.
This cover was much, much more time-consuming than the one we showed you last week but this wasn’t unpleasant work. The material was fairly easy to manage.
In the end we used some rusty nails in addition to the shiny silver ones to create more of an impression of precious stones, as used on some covers of very old Church books or religious objects. We believe this really added to the texture and color scheme.
Once this was done, we filled the background with shorter nails. This was mostly mechanical work but it was fairly easy to mess up the rows so it took some concentration, a lot of time, and a few episodes of a silly show about witches that was on in the background.
As you may see if you compare the making-of photos with the finished project, this cover took a lot of photo editing. It wasn’t the most difficult editing of all the covers, but it might hold the second place. But we’re sure it was worth the time because it might be the most complex design, meaning-wise.
For the back we didn’t want to repeat the same process, just the same material, so we chose a much simpler arrangement of the logo from nails: