Archive

Tag Archives: book cover

re-surrealisme-05When creating the Words Matter covers sometimes we looked for novel ways of building tangible letter forms but sometimes we reached for things remembered from childhood. Now, plasticine was the toy of our early years and I still remember how it would always get stuck in a carpet or Lego blocks. I had a love-hate relationship with it at best. But we really wanted to use plasticine for letter building because it’s in a way a natural tool to explore and because we hadn’t done this kind of letters before. So we decided to pair it with Breton.

When we first chose Breton’s 1924 Manifest of Surrealism to design, we had very different ideas: we wanted to gather weird objects maybe suggesting sexual meaning, or to recreate elements of famous surrealist works of art. But we realized it was all too complicated and too literal and so we decided upon this more abstract approach.

We used many rolls of white plasticine to which we added some red in order to create a splotchy, fleshy color and of this we formed the letters. We wanted them to suggest something a little flesh-like, a little dream-like, with elements loosely resembling works like Tanguy’s or Arp’s, but which would most of all be a unified collection of letters. (It took a whole of Fame to form these, in case you wondered.)

re-surrealisme-01re-surrealisme-07re-surrealisme-06We didn’t want the letters to be too perfect so they retain finger and nail marks, which adds to their slightly disturbing quality.

re-surrealisme-08 re-surrealisme-03Once we had the whole collection (and we fixed all the structural problems because some letters simply refused to stand as we wanted them too) we arranged a theatrical-like scene, with letters fixed on threads. It looks simple but it took many photographic attempts to get it right as the letters tended to swirl and some were a bit too heavy to hang up easily.

re-surrealisme-02re-surrealisme-04re-surrealisme-09

re-pensees-01The 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.

re-pensees-07re-pensees-08 re-pensees-09In 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.

re-pensees-05Once 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.

re-pensees-04re-pensees-06 re-pensees-12 re-pensees-10As 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:

re-pensees-02 re-pensees-03

re-motivation-02Last week we introduced our project Words Matter, a series of book covers employing tangible type so it’s high time to start sharing the covers. The first one is one of the simplest (and definitely, definitely the easiest and fastest to make) but it’s still one of our favorites because of the simple fact: the letters of the title form a pyramid so well and it illustrates the book so perfectly. When we discovered this we were really excited and the cover almost designed itself.

Abraham Maslow, one of the great in the history of psychology, studied child development and came up with the idea of the hierarchy of needs, which he expressed in 1954 book Motivation and Personality. He illustrated the idea with a neat diagram in the shape of a pyramid. Unlike for other covers we didn’t create the letters: we used ready-made children blocks. We actually bought a whole set of the classic-looking wooden kind, similar to ones we had as children. We really liked the vivid colors and emphasized them with the bright warm yellow background to add to the sense of fun and play.

re-motivation-04

As was our plan with all the covers, the selected material and form illustrated the important themes of the book: not only the pyramid itself, but also children and their way of combining fun with education.

As you will see, for all the covers we offset the extravagant tangible type with simple typography used for the name and spine and the logo we described last week. Back covers were not actually a big part of the academic project, just a chance to play some more with the solutions chosen for each cover. For each back we created the WM logo in the same way as we did the title on the front. As you may see, the design of the back cover also includes the space for a blurb but have not written the blurbs, not yet anyway, so for now the backs are fairly minimalistic.

re-motivation-05re-motivation-03

re-shop-friendsAnd a completely different thing that you might find interesting: it’s another week of free shipping on Society6 so if you wanted to buy a poster, that’s as good a chance as they get. Simply use this link.

Fourteen Books to Love Here at re:design we heart many things – LEGO blocks, huskies, bacon, The Good Wife, Christmas Eve and I could really go on – but books are definitely in our top three. And now that Valentine’s Day is upon us again we profess our love for literature with a series of (literally) heart-centered covers.

Memoirs of a GeishaHeart is a fun shape to work with and surprisingly versatile. Each cover uses the shape as the center of the composition around which a symbolic illustration and typography are arranged. The books range from pulp romances through venerable classics to postmodernist experiments but all feature some version of the eternal love theme.

LolitaLolita by Vladimir Nabokov, an ambitious and rather pervy, if read literally, take on love.

Bridget Jones DiaryBridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding, a decidedly unambitious take.

The Vagina MonologuesThe Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler (a more physiological interpretation of the theme).

The Hunchback of Notre-DameFatalistic view of love and life in The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo.

Quo VadisQuo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz.

In Search of Lost TimeIn Search of Lost Time or in love with the past, by Marcel Proust.

Cinder House RulesCider House Rules by John Irving.

Ireland: a NovelIreland by Frank Delaney.

A Good YearA Good Year by Peter Mayle.

Homer's DaughterHomer’s Daughter by Robert Graves.

NanaNana by Emile Zola, a socially critical anti-love story.

One Hundred Years of SolitudeOne Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

The GamblerAnother classic, The Gambler by Dostoyevsky.

Memoirs of a GeishaMemoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, love in Japan.

Title page of LolitaTitle page for Lolita, with the logo for the series.

Books to LoveSeries of spines. For typography we chose a combination of Scala and Stag. We picked a limited color palette of reds and grays with some greens and yellows.

re:design loves booksThe logo of the series, consisting – predictably – of 14 hearts.

And we wish all of you a happy Valentine’s Day (either spent with your beloved person or with your beloved book).

We read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (as well as the second part; we’re still in the third one) and while find it flawed in many ways, it’s much less repulsive and more enjoyable than many bestsellers we had had the bad judgment to read in the past. But this is not a literary critique piece. This is the biggest collection of book covers for the Millennium trilogy you’re likely to find on the internet as of today. And with our judgmental commentary, to make the deal even sweeter.

Disclaimer: all the images are used as illustrations and not a single one is our work or in any way owned by us. We try to give info that identifies the author (or, usually, the country of origin) or source but only broadly, not to be tedious. And, obviously, all the opinions are ours and personal so you may disagree or agree, as you wish.


To start at the beginning, the original published in Sweden came out with this set of covers and this was also reprinted in other countries (including where we live) by those publishers who don’t believe in paying local designers for doing work once done. Until it was driven away by movie-inspired covers, this set dominated the Larson section of a bookstore. It’s hard to be passionate about these covers: except for the newspaper-like typography, which is very appropriate and, strangely enough, not much copied, there’s little to like here. The first photo draws attention, even if in a crime channel style, and answers to the gloomy and somewhat gruesome character of the novel but the other two are just bland and give zero information as to the style and even genre. We also take away points for the low-opacity, drop-shadow treatment of the Millennium logo.

Verdict: We mildly dislike it.

Tons (or 92) more covers under the link.

Read More

Today we continue with our self-appointed and majorly depressing job of ugly book cover muckcrackers. After two parts on fantasy we decided to plunge into the world of glitter, fluff and rainbows and find the ugliest children’s book covers on the shelves of the local book megastore. We did start with pounding hearts because in our minds we already saw disgustingly amateurish illustrations and scary typography but, to our surprise, the bad covers did not dominate the section of the store: instead we had to search a little. Of course, when we did we found exactly what we were looking for and more but, optimistically, a large portion of children’s book is not as ugly as what we present under the link.

Read More

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 16,117 other followers