Saturday, February 18, 2017


Select one book from the list below, and design a cover using only typography. Students are encouraged to select a book they've read, and they are also encouraged to re-read the book as part of their research. Another option: Select a book you've not read, and read it just for this project.
  • 1984
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Animal Farm
  • Brave New World
  • Breakfast at Tiffany's
  • Dracula
  • Fahrenheit 451
  • Frankenstein
  • Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
  • Gone with the Wind
  • Heart of Darkness
  • Jane Eyre
  • Little Women
  • Lord of the Flies
  • Merchant of Venice
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
  • The Catcher in the Rye
  • The Color Purple
  • The Fountainhead
  • The Great Gatsby
  • The Haunting of Hill House
  • The Joy Luck Club
  • The Metamorphosis
  • The Old Man and the Sea
  • The Shipping News
  • The Stranger
  • The Talented Mr. Ripley (a.k.a., Ripley, no. 1)
  • The War of the Worlds
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Valley of the Dolls
  • You Must Remember This
  • (other titles not listed must be approved by the instructor)

Select your one book and submit at least 3 rough concepts at the early review stage (Feb. 23). Hand in 1 final design at the project's conclusion (Feb. 28).

You may work in color, you may include textures, patterns, ornaments/decoration, and graphics. However, neither photographic images nor icons/symbols may be used—nothing representational. In other words, if you select The War of the Worlds, you cannot use stars, planets, aliens, spaceships, farms, lasers, skeletons, people.

Learning Outcomes:
  • design, layout, and compose specifically and only with typography
  • develop visual ideas using limited graphic elements, namely, only typography
  • explore and make typography that may be hand-crafted with pencil, pen, brush, and paper, or their digital equivalent, and using type for book design
  • work with typography in a digital environment, be it Illustrator or Photoshop, and compose it in a layout
  • understand vocabulary used with typography, type setting, and book cover design

Design Research & Process
  • Absorb the content: get to know your material, read and re-read your book; read about your book, read about your author and the time period the book takes place
  • Analyze the content: understand what's important, what the "big idea" is; how to make your book cover unique while being relevant and meaningful
  • Understand your audience 
  • Be mindful of appropriateness, contrast, and readability of images
  • Render your visuals: draw, collage, set type; revise as needed

Suggested Approaches for the Design Stage
  • Direct: using a font that appears as if it is a "close match" to the content in your book 
  • Simple versus Complex (contrast): using a simple font in conjunction within (or with) a busy environment; or using a complex font within a simple environment 
  • Historical Relevance: the font can have historical connection to the material in your text, such that it was designed during a period of significance in your text's content, or maybe it originated near a country of significance 
  • Hand Made: rendering the cover entirely by hand, drawn, painted, or printed
  • Atmospheric: uses textures, patterns, overlapping, layering, transparency, collage, etc. to evoke the sense of that topic; evoke, verb: 1. bring or recall to the conscious mind: the sight of baseball evokes pleasant memories of going to baseball games with my dad; 2. to elicit a response: the awkward kid who evoked giggles from his sisters via Oxford English Dictionary

For additional suggestions and creative paths, read the very wonderful Type, Image, Message by Skolos and Wedell, and consult other texts listed in this site's sidebar.

  • size your book cover based on actual edition of the book, be it a paperback or hardcover
  • you need only design the book's cover, however, consideration of the full form of the book (cover, spine, and back cover) is possible
  • you may have a book case, be it a full slip-case or a partial one
  • you may have a book jacket that goes over a hardcover
  • you may have a 3D book cover
  • test your book cover printed at 100% size, as well as scaled down as a thumbnail that would appear on Amazon, Google Books, or another digital library

  • Concept and Sketch/Ideation Deadline: at least 3 different well-crafted and appropriate cover ideas, Thurs. Feb. 23, as PDFs to Turnstile_2 or rough sketches on paper
  • Final Deadline: Tues. Feb. 28, start of class, one book cover
  • Final Format: PDF saved to Turnstile_2 in our class folder 

worth 100 points total
  • 10 craft
  • 40 composition, layout, readability
  • 30 concept, message, research
  • 20 presentation, professionalism