VDES24718 Project 1: Judging A Book By Its Cover

PROJECT BRIEF: Students are to choose three existing book covers and create re-designs, one of which will be selected to be fully re-designed based on their interpretations of the book’s content/subject.

DESIGN STATEMENT

For this project, I chose Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s Obsidio to redesign a cover for. This is the third book in the Illuminae Files series and it’s a book that really resonated me, due to the way that it was written and the way that the storyline was developed through the perspectives of different characters.

Asha Grant has managed to survive BeiTech’s initial assault on Kerenza and is currently working undercover with the resistance, but her world is thrown into chaos when a familiar face from the past suddenly appears – on the enemy team this time. Meanwhile, stranded in space after the destruction of the Heimdall station, Kady Grant, Ezra, Hanna and Nik find themselves wondering what to do as their oxygen levels are depleting. It’s a race against time, time they don’t have. Oh, and there’s a murderous A.I who’s chosen to disobey orders. Things couldn’t get worse, right?

The colour schemes, font and type style were made to mimic the way that the story is relayed, in addition to paying homage to the strong involvement of artificial intelligence in the series. Personally, the design of the cover falls under the category of what I call “hacker style”, since the colour green is often associated with coding/hacking, the font mimics the classic computer font and there is a texture that mimics the lines of a screen. For this design, the use of the luminosity layer style played a big role in making the greens stand out and obtain a screen-like glow.

The rhetorical tropes used in the design of the book cover are:

  • Hyperbole: the swirly and liquified background on the front and back covers are an exaggeration of the chaos that is occurring both in space and on the planet Kerenza.
  • Allusion: the font and type style allude to AIDEN, the artificial intelligence that plays a very significant role throughout the series.
  • Allusion: the accent lines that divide the text on the back cover allude to the Morse code combination for “SOS”, which reflects the main characters’ attempts to try to seek each other’s help.
  • Metaphor: the font and type style represent the way that the storyline is told – through reports, letters, visual type design and dialogues with similar typefaces.

FINAL DESIGN

DIGITAL MOCKUP

PSD Source: Graphic Burger, Hardcover Book MockUp #2. August 3, 2017. Layered PSD. Accessed October 4, 2020. https://graphicburger.com/hardcover-book-mockup-2/.

PROCESS WORK

For this project, the three books I selected were:

  • Obsidio by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (book #3 of the Illuminae Files series)

Asha Grant has managed to survive BeiTech’s initial assault on Kerenza and is currently working undercover with the resistance, but her world is thrown into chaos when a familiar face from the past suddenly appears – on the enemy team this time. Meanwhile, stranded in space after the destruction of the Heimdall station, Kady Grant, Ezra, Hanna and Nik find themselves wondering what to do as their oxygen levels are depleting. It’s a race against time, time they don’t have. Oh, and there’s a murderous A.I who’s chosen to disobey orders. Things couldn’t get worse, right?

Obisidio was a very unique novel because not only did it follow a unique plotline and story progression, but the format in which the book was written combined both the concept of reports and visual type designs to define the dialogues and perspectives of each character. I was very intrigued by the relationship between Kady and AIDEN, the A.I who is supposed to be a simple piece of intelligence but turns out to have its own agenda. As Kady realizes that she is unable to do anything more to save the refugees on the Mao, she discovers that AIDEN is developing complex feelings of a twisted love for her, which I found both terrifying and endearing because artificial intelligence should not be able to experience these types of feelings unless it is programmed to experience something similar, yet he is willing to listen to her and expresses that “affection” in his own strange way. Overall, I really enjoyed this novel because it combines my love for sci-fi with artificial intelligence and space.

  • The Giver by Lois Lowry (book #1 of the Giver Quartet)

Jonas lives in a seemingly perfect world of conformity and contentment, but that changes when he begins his duties as the newest Giver of the community. The Giver is the sole keeper of memories and Jonas is thrown into an unfamiliar world as he discovers the dangerous truths that the community’s leaders hide from its citizens. Armed with the power of knowledge, Jonas embarks on a journey that no one has ever completed successfully – escape the world he was raised in and expose the truth to the people.

The Giver was a novel that I read in elementary school and later re-read several times because I enjoyed it so much. The concept of utopian and dystopian worlds have always fascinated me because there’s always something that the governing members or parties are trying to hide from the people. Often times, it ends up being something that is mirrored in our real-life world, such as chaos, violence, war, greed, etc, which makes you reflect and realize how corrupted the society that we live in is, yet that corruption is hidden away in the name of peace. The worlds that are crafted never cease to amaze because there has to be so much planning beforehand and every detail must be skillfully placed as to establish it perfectly. The way that Lois Lowry describes colour and memories is very unique because we take all that for granted and don’t understand just how much we would miss it if we were in a situation where it was taken from us. The movie adaptation was quite good and I’ve also seen that multiple times, each time enjoying it just as much as the first.

  • Restore by Susan Kaye Quinn (book #1 of the Stories of Singularity)

Restorative Human Medicare Unit 7435, sentience level fifity, is assigned to serve and heal the human master that it loves. Always remaining at a 5 out 10 happiness level, it finds out that there is a price to pay when it begins acquiring feelings of love for its dying master and failing in its primary mission – to restore.

Restore is the first of a series of side stories related to the Singularity series of novels by Susan Kaye Quinn. I had originally read The Legacy Human first and was really intrigued by the concept of ascending. In this world, humans are a species that is being preserved due to their genetic makeup, while many others become ascenders – human/machine hybrids that are smarter, more enlightened, more compassionate, and above all, achingly beautiful. Deviating slightly from the original concept, this side story still features humans and ascenders, but the difference is that it is told from the perspective of an android who’s sole job is to work in the medical field and heal. Like Obsidio, there is once again the concept of artificial intelligence being able to feel human emotions when it shouldn’t be able to. Rarely are there plots where the A.I is the main character, so I loved being able to see the world from this perspective.

COVER SKETCHES

Obsidio

The Giver

Restore

COLOUR DESIGNS

For the coloured designs, I chose to focus on designs that required the use of minimal imagery and more typography. Personally, I really like using typography to create metaphorical imagery, such as in the first example, because there can often times be hidden meanings in the text that is used and the arrangement plays a big role in how it portrays that meaning.

I ended up selecting the first design to continue with and turn into my final cover. Based on the feedback I was given, I made some minimal adjustments to the contrast and brightness, letting the greens remain muted but be more visible. I also changed the accent lines on the back cover to form the Morse code combination for “SOS”, which relates to the ongoing attempts for the main characters to try to communicate with each other and seek help.

GRIDS

Due to the special text effects and glows that were added to the text, I was unable to recreate that in InDesign, so I chose to place my grids in Photoshop and take a screenshot of each part of the cover, then merge it into one file and display the grids that way.