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Book Design Idea

jibjibjibjib Registered User
edited November 2009 in Artist's Corner
Okay,
So I'm coming up on my senior illustration thesis, and my idea is to make a series of 4 jules verne book covers.
The idea is that they will consist of a 2-layered jacket.
The first layer will be a partial book-band with title and author and publisher info,
and underneath that will be a wrap-around jacket that folds out into a poster for the book.
The poster will be double-sided so that a panoramic scene will show on the outside of the book, with the poster image folded up on the other side.
Each entire book will have its own limited pallet of 2-3 colors, and be done like a silkscreen.

Here are some sketches and a mock-up to give you a better idea:
1overview.jpg
2pattern.jpg
5posters.jpg
mock1.jpg
mock3.jpg
mock2.jpg

Okay, now formulate your own opinions and critiques of this idea.
....

Now here's an issue that a notoriously stubborn and difficult teacher of mine brought up, I want to know if you agree with him or not:
He thinks that handling each book in the same way is too repetative, and suggested that I should handle each book with a different "gimmick", like one has a clear vellum overlay, and one has a di-cut, another has a spinny part, etc... My problem with this is that it is an illustration assignment, and that really gets into paper mechanics and book construction, as opposed to drawing. Also, most series I've seen are handled in the same way to give a sense of unity.
I'll reference these sets to give you an idea what I'm going for.
http://ginaandmatt.com/gina/oates.jpg by Gina Triplett
http://www.davidpearsondesign.com/greatjourneys.html
and http://www.davidpearsondesign.com/whitesbooks.html by David Peason of Penguin UK.

I'm leaning in favor of keeping these unified by similar designs and layouts, with differnet illustrations on each, but my teacher is really pushing me to do each one in a different way. Thoughts?

jibjib on

Posts

  • ManonvonSuperockManonvonSuperock Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    I would ditch the outer wraparound banner altogether. I hate having shit like that when I buy a book. I feel like I'm throwing money away if I throw it away, but it makes the book extremely awkward to hold while reading.

    I would also ditch the foldout poster idea because no one likes posters that have creases and shit all in them. That's why no one hangs up foldout posters that come in video games or strategy guides.

    It'd be different if your target audience were like 1o... the age group that buys those Wizard pin up magazines where every poster has a crease and staple holes in the middle, but Jules Verne books need to be classier and for an older audience.

    ManonvonSuperock on
  • lyriumlyrium Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    I agree with you that it would be better to keep a more unified design between the books, because (like the examples you linked), when shown together it looks really classy.

    Also, I was rummaging through your old thread recently and a lot of the images don't show up anymore, and this made me very sad :(

    lyrium on
  • jibjibjibjib Registered User
    edited October 2009
    Manon,
    That's a fair argument, and I can see your points.

    My influence for those things came mostly from the book designs of Chris Ware.
    His hardcover of Jimmy Corrigan has a foldout poster jacket, and a few of his Acme Novelty Libraries do nice things with bookbands (I personally like bookbands, but I find them to be mostly an issue of personal taste).
    I think his approach and art are effective with an older audience, and classy enough to justify a few folds in the poster.

    Perhaps instead of a fold-out poster, the jacket should merely be reversable, with a different scene/continuation on each side?

    jibjib on
  • NappuccinoNappuccino Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    If you do the book bands, its my opinon that they should be more or less seemless with the other cover (i.e. not awkwardly covering 70% of a circle like in your mysterious island cover. I would, however, recommend that beneath the band be something book-relevent so once the band is slipped away the reader uncovers some clever image/tidbit that either hints at something in the book or they would get if they had already read it.

    ... I love designs like that; so I'm a bit biased in my recomendation.

    Nappuccino on
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  • GrennGrenn Registered User
    edited October 2009
    I'm glad you mentioned Ware's Acme Novelty Library stuff, as I was about to post that you should definitely check that stuff out.

    Personally, I love the idea and am a fan of interesting packaging on covers. I have shelves full of odd-format books, and plenty with wraparounds, French Flaps, di-cuts, you name it!

    I think you are completely justified in ignoring your teacher's idea they all be different - especially as it's not really Illustration relevant, as you say. If they were one-off 'art books' then perhaps... but there's a lot to be said for repetition in design in order to build a recognisable, sustainable, and iconic brand & identity.

    e.g.
    popular-penguin-covers.jpg

    Anyway, it's a pleasure to see some of your work again. You honestly do not need school!

    Grenn on
  • jibjibjibjib Registered User
    edited October 2009
    Thanks Grenn,
    I'm still kicking around some other ideas, but I'll keep that in mind.

    You mentioned other odd-format books. Any good examples in particular? It's a hard thing to search for.

    jibjib on
  • GrennGrenn Registered User
    edited October 2009
    I tend to just pick up stuff that looks interesting from art/design shops; I also find there are a lot of handmade zines and stuff which are interestingly put together.

    I have nearly all the Acme Novelty Library stuff, but here's some other interesting stuff from my shelves:

    Seductive Espionage is a book of art by Kevin Dart, all based on his made-up spy character and her movies. This is a nice book, with a simple wrap on the cover - but the spot-varnish printing really makes it stand out. Beautiful art too.

    The Art of Looking Sideways by Alan Fletcher is great because it's just so freaking thick! It is a real pleasure to simply hold and riffle through the pages -- some of which are on different stock, with different printing techniques, etc.

    Something I picked up recently is the Acme Climate Action Book -- this thing is cool because all the pages are held together by these two plastic 'bolts' which attach to the back cover. Everything tears out on perforated folds and it's filled with stickers and posters and things to make.

    Something which I've had for a while is a book collection by Jordan Crane called NON #5 -- it's basically a screenprinted wraparound cover but the inside is made of stacked sheets of corrigated card but with a hollow bit where various minicomics and other books sit inside (these all have screenprinted covers too) -- almost like a secret compartment in the book. The whole thing then sits inside another screenprinted sleeve and is about as thick as a phonebook. I can't find pics of thing anywhere, and I understand it's quite rare. Jordan Crane made them by hand and made far fewer than he intended, as they were time comsuming... It's a lovely thing.

    A friend of mine also put out a book which he made a nice screenprinted sleeve for -- it's a typically printed book but the first few hundred came with the personally signed sleeves. Jay Ryan, 100 Posters, 134 Squirrels. He has a new book out now and I think he's doing a similar thing again.

    You might also enjoy the work of some other print artists I know, Bon Gout: [url]http://www.bongoût.com[/url] -- they actually make their own fully screenprinted books which are really amazing pieces of art in their own right. Really great work.

    As I say, just a selection. I hope these are of some interest. :)

    Grenn on
  • FlayFlay Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    I would ditch the outer wraparound banner altogether. I hate having shit like that when I buy a book. I feel like I'm throwing money away if I throw it away, but it makes the book extremely awkward to hold while reading.

    It can also be absolutely fantastic, if done properly. Case in point...

    6a00d83451c2d869e20105361e313e970b-500wi

    Flay on
  • srsizzysrsizzy Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    yeah...you just have to take it off if you don't want to read with it...? I just take the covers off of hardcover books I'm reading anyways, they're annoying. besides, if this is for illustration, practicality isn't really your problem. you're not doing marketing, or making boxes, or anything like that.

    I think this idea sounds fantastic. I want to see it finished. Looking at your portfolio, it'll probably be really good. I think your professor is dumb. Book series generally keep consistent cover design...though, Jules Verne isn't technically a "series" (right?). Still, maybe you can give them more individuality by just changing up the shapes of things to be more individual to the book (such as the "crest" sort of images you're doing with the posters, maybe change up the style of the sizes/shapes of the book bands).

    srsizzy on
    BRO LET ME GET REAL WITH YOU AND SAY THAT MY FINGERS ARE PREPPED AND HOT LIKE THE SURFACE OF THE SUN TO BRING RADICAL BEATS SO SMOOTH THE SHIT WILL BE MEDICINAL-GRADE TRIPNASTY MAKING ALL BRAINWAVES ROLL ON THE SURFACE OF A BALLS-FEISTY NEURAL RAINBOW CRACKA-LACKIN' YOUR PERCEPTION OF THE HERE-NOW SPACE-TIME SITUATION THAT ALL OF LIFE BE JAMMED UP IN THROUGH THE UNIVERSAL FLOW BEATS
  • MagicToasterMagicToaster JapanRegistered User regular
    edited October 2009
    srsizzy wrote: »
    you're not doing marketing, or making boxes, or anything like that.

    Yeah, only I get to do that... I think that only I want to do that.

    MagicToaster on
  • srsizzysrsizzy Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    srsizzy wrote: »
    you're not doing marketing, or making boxes, or anything like that.
    Yeah, only I get to do that... I think that only I want to do that.
    oh Toast, you know I was thinking of you when I wrote that.

    srsizzy on
    BRO LET ME GET REAL WITH YOU AND SAY THAT MY FINGERS ARE PREPPED AND HOT LIKE THE SURFACE OF THE SUN TO BRING RADICAL BEATS SO SMOOTH THE SHIT WILL BE MEDICINAL-GRADE TRIPNASTY MAKING ALL BRAINWAVES ROLL ON THE SURFACE OF A BALLS-FEISTY NEURAL RAINBOW CRACKA-LACKIN' YOUR PERCEPTION OF THE HERE-NOW SPACE-TIME SITUATION THAT ALL OF LIFE BE JAMMED UP IN THROUGH THE UNIVERSAL FLOW BEATS
  • AgentflitAgentflit Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    As much as I love chris ware's book design to death, the tiny slipcoveres are very fragile. I bet libraries love that the ISBN is on a tiny fragile slipcover. Fold-out slip covers are much cooler!

    Agentflit on
  • NappuccinoNappuccino Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    I just had a thought about the Mysterious Island slip cover, if the circle that is on top and bottom of it was drawn on the rectangular portion of the sliip, it would be much less... awkward to look at.

    Nappuccino on
    Like to write? Want to get e-published? Give us a look-see at http://wednesdaynightwrites.com/
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    There's also the possibility you just can't really grow a bear like other guys.

    Not even BEAR vaginas can defeat me!
    cakemikz wrote: »
    And then I rub actual cake on myself.
    Loomdun wrote: »
    thats why you have chest helmets
  • fiddlecrabfiddlecrab Registered User
    edited November 2009
    jibjib,

    I think you're off to a good start here. The idea is very cool and has lots of room for exploration and creativity, so that is basically what I'm going to suggest you do: think "outside" a bit more with these concepts.

    You say your teacher is stubborn, which may well be true, but I think he is genuinely trying to help you in this instance. Your concepts are not quite sharp enough to really capture the imagination. Have a look at your thumbnails. I don't know how many iterations you've done to get to those, but they are basically all the same. 80 Days has a hot air balloon dead center, Island is a close up on the bottle, Leagues has big menacing tentacles, the variant is just flipped. I'm not trying to be harsh here, so don't take it that way. I end up doing the same thing a lot, because it's easy to settle on one idea right off the bat. Try different compositions, different angles, styles. Even things you think will not work. You have some great imagination in your portfolio, so I know you are capable.

    The poster idea is interesting, but as Manovon said, I think it's better suited to a different style of book (even if this is just a theoretical project, you have to take your source material into account). I don't really want a folded poster to go with my classic literature, and if it really is an awesome poster, what do I do with it? Display it and lose my book cover, or let it sit on a shelf and never get to see the cool artwork? The books aren't really associated with modern times at all (and that's a lot of their charm) and so a poster seems a bit cheap. Instead, let me propose a different spin: Jules Verne evokes a bygone era of adventure, expeditions and discovery, and what does every good explorer need?

    A map.

    And maps have creases, and are perfectly suitable to either be hung or rolled or stored in a library.

    I think if you did a map for each book it would fit much better than a poster, and (theoretically) enhance the reader's experience as well because it immerses them in the world. You can make each one unique as well (perhaps a nautical map for Leagues, with handwritten coordinates, and more of a planned world map/schedule for 80 Days, with scrawlings at the edges denoting times and such. You get the idea.) If you really want to push the concept, add small touches (physical or digital) like water spots/damage to the nautical map, or make the Center of the Earth very worn, nicked and torn, as if it has endured much stress along the way. I really think your artwork would be great for this. You have a knack for flowing scrollwork and your style is a bit odd, antique and whimsical.

    Off the top of my head, the kind of maps I have in mind could be seen in books like:

    The Princess Bride, Captain Bluebear, Peter Pan, Brave Story, the Greek myths, sailing charts, etc.

    And I'm sure there are some maps of the very same Jules Verne books to draw inspiration from.

    Now you say you want consistency, which I think is a wonderful idea. As Grenn said, identity is great, and when you have a series with similar design hallmarks they look great on a shelf together. I think that making a logo or crest as you have done is a very good start, and I think that's the way to tie it together, in conjunction with your book bands.

    So let's talk about those bands. I like the idea, and I think that these (being a more rare and or old fashioned touch) fit very well with your source material. If you want to get creative, though, here is a wonderful opportunity. If you tie in your crest to every book band, but still make each one unique, you can explore different ideas like your teacher mentioned, while maintaining the cohesion of the books being in a "series". Integrate the design/shape of the bands into the cover art, but not inextricably so.

    I did some very rough sketches to give you an idea of what I'm talking about. The first images show the book band attached, and then if you were to remove it, you have a nice art piece that stands on its own (assuming there was nice art and not my scribbles).

    book1z.jpg

    book1nb.jpg

    book2y.jpg

    book2nb.jpg

    These are just my ideas about a project that isn't mine, so feel free to take them or leave them as you like. I hope they are of some use to you though. Good luck, and please keep us posted on your progress.

    fiddlecrab on
  • Jake!Jake! Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Can I add to this. Make the map underneath the finishing paper on the inside cover, so you have to tear it off to see.

    Jake! on
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