For this exercise we were asked to chose a book by an author we were familiar with and create two covers for it, one created using illustrations one by using type. I chose the novel ‘The Horse and his boy’ by C.S.Lewis.
I have a selection of ‘100 Hundred Puffin Covers’ I received as a gift, which provides me with a good selection of covers to analyse.
Puffin was founded in 1940, five years after Penguin Books began. It started out as ‘Puffin Picture Books’ aimed at stories for little ones but grew into vast array of literature aimed at children.
As I have a large collection of the covers I decided to group covers by design and therefore analyse them in that manner. Here’s the first set:
Although there are literally hundreds of book publishing houses I thought I’d research a sample starting from books that I already have in my home.
I’m looking at:
Laurence King, Harper Collins, Chronicle Books, Penguin, Puffin and Big Picture Press.
1. Laurence King
I realised that in the previous post on this exercise I gave examples of working within the set grid structure, but keeping the positioning of text/images within the grid very similar. I wanted to try moving elements around the grid structure without changing the grid, so I experimented a bit further.
Here’s the results of my experimentation:
In version 8 I moved the Headline text from sitting on top of the left hand side of the main image to sitting directly below the image. It reduces some of the white space in the page which is okay, it doesn’t feel overcrowded. I chose a new font which had a handwritten feel but that remained legible/clean. I think this creates a more fun approach, looks like it could be an article in a children’s magazine or a national trust campaign.
For version 9 I kept the font used in version 8 but moved the Heading to above the image. I feel it looks a little lost above the image, as the image is so large. Placing the subheading underneath the image away from the main heading is perhaps confusing/to large a distance it begins to look like the two texts aren’t meant to be associated with each other. I did try to keep some continuity between the heading and the subheading by using the same font for both just at different sizes.
Version 10 is very similar to version 8. I’ve simply adjusted how far the subheading goes across the page. I think this helps keep a sense of grid shape, as in the line across the page rather than making the page look left side heavy (if that makes any sense!).
For my final version I decided to try and incorporate multiple images into the page. I made the main heading sit in the top left hand side of the grid, which I think makes it a bit more dynamic. I then scanned in some real leaves I’d collected on a walk and used these as objects to place around the heading text. I’m not sure if the colours work together but the general idea seems good. I wanted to see if I could mix up illustrations with photo’s, so added in some drawings of acorns alongside the body text of the article. I tried to keep things cohesive by using an font which has an illustrated feel for the main heading. I think this does help, but that in the end having all the images on the page makes it feel too busy. The illustrations beside the body text distract the eye, rather than drawing in the eye to the text.
Even though I could experiment further I feel now is a good point to be moving on to the next exercise…
I began this exercise by researching the grids used in different magazine articles. Here are some of the magazine’s I looked at/examples of articles:
I then set about finding out the grids behind the articles by using Illustrator to create lines to reveal possible grid structures. I found this a little harder than expected and it didn’t always seem a straight forward structure:
The Time Magazine Boris article above is a good example of a grid with lots of white space. There’s generous white space before the name ‘Boris’ and then a gap between the heading and body text, even after the main text there’s a gap! I think it makes the name ‘Boris’ seem even more dominant but if I’m honest it makes the body of the article feel very small! They’ve used the title as a substitute for an image and I think it works because the font is such a bold bulky font. There are three columns for the text, which I suppose is necessary due to the volume of the article.
In the Louise Walker article much more space on the grid is given to images, the text sits around it which adds to the feel of things being orientated around the central image. There is a large portion of white space after the main body of text. Here three columns are used and the style is around a Q & A with Louise Walker so the text is ranged left.
I then chose an Article to mimic the grid layout of, as my template for a fake article:
I liked the simplicity and sense of balance in this grid. There’s not lots of different things in multiple boxes but clear division of elements. I was also interested in how the image sat wider than the text columns. They’ve left white space in the bottom half of the page I presume for the readers fingers to hold the page. I made a note of the size of columns, gutter, inside and outside margins, top and bottom margins and then used these to replicate the structure.
I started with the idea for a title ‘Exploring the English landscape’ I guess my main reason for this is I’ve got a lot of photos of travels around England (from Holidays). So it seemed like a good choice to be able to use images without any problems. The first three version are very clearly fitted to the tile, they are idyllic photos of the English landscape in fine weather. An audience might be a walking magazine or national trust readership.
I found the photo below, of a fenced derelict area on Holiday. I felt this might be a nice juxtaposition again the title, and the font which suggests an more ideal landscape, or natural photo. It makes the piece seem like it might be ironic or even looking at the state of England as a country not just geographical points of interest or beauty.
I then tried using an illustration I’d created of an imaginary forest. It gives a different feel to the article again, making it feel more catered to children or to the notion of exploring or adventure, as it has a more playful feel.