I’ve researched some well know publishing series for inspiration on producing a consistent look and feel to my book covers for the PAC project… Penguin, Faber & Faber, New York Review of Books, Bloomsbury, Canongate and more… here’s my Visual Research. I’ve decided to loosely follow Marber’s grid for Penguin but applied it to an A5 format.
I’m calling the Series Times Turnovers. This is a reference to a tradition at The Times when they would publish major articles starting in the last column of the right hand page and they would continue when the pages was “turned over”. When the paper was published in this way it became known as the Turnover Book.
The subject in the series will loosely follow the sections of the newspaper – News, Sport, Arts & Culture (i.e. society) – and I thought it would make sense to adopt the colours that the paper uses to signify these sections.
I’ve had a go at designing a logo which would be applied to the covers, based on the turnover theme. It really tested my Illustrator skills to do this page curl effect, and the first feedback I’ve had from my dear wife is that it “looks like a paper plane” and that maybe a straight edge, more like a fold, would be better… so more experimentation to come, but for the time being here’s the logo as applied to the 4 subjects and one without colour which will be applied to spines (the black background on the slideshow is not very helpful):
I also did a logo which was more semantic typography than illustrated, which is below. I’m not convinced by this:
I’ve then brought this all together in a front cover for the Jim Laker cricket book discussed in my previous post. Here are a few iterations, the last one of which uses the logo as above (the others were done with the semantic logo).
Version 1 Version 2 Version 3
Version 4 Version 5
Version 1 was criticised (again by my dear wife, who should know about these things as she’s a literary agent) as being too unclear. The quote was too dominant and it wouldn’t be clear what the book is about. I was rather pleased with my quote so wanted it to be large on the cover! I made is smaller in version 2 and increased the size of the title (and changed the title). I also look out the photo to see if that made any difference. It looks clean but possibly a bit dull. Changing the layout of the quote in version 3 helps, I think and with the photo in version 4 I think this works. Version 5 uses the branding I’ve been working on today. Looking at the thumbnails as I write this post, I think the layout is beginning to work. It’s still not right but I thought I’d put this out there before Friday so maybe I can get some feedback. Thanks!
At the heart of my PAC project – creating a collection of books using content from The Times Archive – is a re-interpretation of old news in a modern way. I do not just want to create a pastiche of historical newspapers – facsimiles of front pages, archive photography etc – particularly on the front cover. The collection itself will be sub-divided into subject categories which will be inspired by the areas covered by the newspaper but, more importantly, led by the subjects that the audience for these books will want to read about. One of the categories will be sport and I have highlighted a couple of old sporting tales that I am going to try to illustrate. The Test Match in 1956 when Jim Laker took 19 of the 20 Australian wickets is one. The Rumble in the Jungle – Ali’s title fight against Joe Frazier in 1974 which took place in Kinshasa in what was then Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo).
The headline above is hoe the final day of the Laker Test match was reported in The Times of the day, but a reproduction of that headline or something something like this cover of a book about the Test Match printed at the time, just wouldn’t be right:
Having read all the match reports, it is the final paragraph that sums up the achievement… “In Australia’s second innings he took 10 for 53, in the match 19 for 90, and yesterday 8 for 26 in 36 faultless overs. Surely there may never again be anything like it.” It’s this last one that signifies what this match meant, so I thought I’d try and design a cover based on this. To make it clear that it’s about cricket, I’ve taken inspiration from the classic cricket scoreboard – pre the digital age where numbers were made up of tiles of metal…
… and not the digital screens we see today:
And after several hours battling with Illustrator, here’s the result:
Let me know what you think!