Penguin Book Cover – Tutorial

Today I had my first group tutorial for my Penguin book cover project.

I took in my sketchbook full of my initial ideas and thumbnails to show the lecturer and my peers during the tutorial. It was great to see other people’s ideas so far and to hear what they thought of mine – it’s always great to hear other people’s opinions and constructive criticism – I feel that it has helped me and that I will now be able to develop my own book cover and take it further.

I went in to the tutorial thinking that my favourite and best idea was the diamond dripping in a red blood-like liquid. The idea behind it was that, in the novel, there Dick has a repeated nightmare in which there is a tree growing diamonds on its branches, but when Dick goes to reach the diamond, a giant snake lashes out to protect the tree’s fruit. I took the key element from this dream, which was the diamond, and then considered it as a representation of wealth and greed – a bit like the forbidden apple in the biblical tale of Adam and Eve. Eventually, in conclusion, both Dick and Perry’s greed for wealth, was the death of them – hence the diamond is dripping in blood. Of course, there was a second meaning of the blood representing the Clutter family’s blood too. However, even though I felt this was a strong idea at first, the lecturer which I had my tutorial with made me realise that on first glance, it gives perhaps the wrong connotations – maybe of burglary and robbery, rather than actual murder.

My lecturer pointed out the two that she felt had the most potential, which are circled in the sketch book thumbnails above. These are the ones that I aim to develop next.

I have been looking at other artist’s work and have been particularly inspired by one of my favourite graphic designer’s, Paul Rand. I also like many of Saul Bass’s works, who has a similar style to Rand. Both designers have done a number of book covers themselves. I am drawn to there use of block, bright colours and simple silhouette-like illustrations, which I find really catch my attention. I feel that perhaps using this simplistic yet effective illustrative style could potentially be a great route for my own design for the cover of In Cold Blood.

Paul Rand:

Saul Bass:

My next step is to begin making the cover on the computer using the PDF template supplied by Penguin. I am looking forward to moving my thumbnails and sketches from my sketch book and putting them onto a computer screen in order to see what they look like digitally.

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