Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I don't talk enough about book covers on this blog... I do fewer of them than I do DVD covers, but I've done a bunch, and some are alright. It's nice to keep my hand in, as books are often a different kind of process than DVDs, since you don't have an already-established visual aesthetic to work within (or play off of, as the case may be). I just turned in a couple sets of comps for a couple books that I was pretty happy with, which inspired me to raid the archives for a few older book projects. Here's one from last year, Gristle from the New Press.

A pretty straightforward project, this one was mainly a question of locking down the details. When I was assigned the title, I was given a concept that came from the book's editors, Miyun Park and Moby. (Yes, that Moby.) idea was to show a butcher's diagram of a cow, but replace the labels (shank, ribeye, etc) with the chapter names from the book. Simple, graphic, cool idea. I found a diagram to reference, (since I can't quite fabricate a cow from memory), then built an image around that:

I felt I should include at least one other idea of my own, just for the sake of appearances, and found this image on some stock image site. (Corbis or Getty or something, I can't remember.) My thinking was, I'm not a vegetarian myself, but I thought this image was somewhat less than the most appetizing way to present meat, especially when paired with that title, and maybe that would fit the book's contents?

But like I say, I dug the editors' concept so I was happy when they decided to stick with that. They weren't quite happy with my color choices, however, and so asked me to take another crack at it. Also, I was asked to try adding a sad little eye to the cow, to make it a bit more sympathetic-looking. (I was skeptical of the eye at first, but I think it kinda works.) They also felt like I had been a little too flowery with the script font, which... fair enough. Anyway, here's my rainbow of options from the second round:

For some reason I can't recall I was really reluctant to make the title and lines in black, but of course the one time I did that it was the one they picked. (Actually, that was a weird week where every approved design was bright yellow for some reason... this, Political Awakenings and The Playwright were all around that time.)

Originally the publisher had asked me to make Moby's name bigger than his co-editor's, him being a rock star and all, but to his credit I believe it was he who asked for the two editors' names to be featured equally, so I made that last tweak and we had a final cover:

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