Project Two
Book Covers

“A really good book cover has to work regardless of what it’s about, on a visceral and emotional level. “ - Chip Kidd

You will be creating three different designs for your book. As a designer you will often be asked to create different concepts to present to a client.

All imagery used for this project must be fair use or created by you for this project.

1) Type As Image
2) Image as Image
3) Off Computer / Analog

Book Choices:

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
1984 - George Orwell
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Animal Farm - George Orwell
Salughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
In Cold Blood - Truman Capote
The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne
Macbeth - Shakespeare 
A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
The Shining - Stephen King
Hamlet - Shakespeare
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - Steig Larson
Moby Dick - Herman Melville
Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk
Murder On The Orient Express - Agatha Christie
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson 
Dune - Frank Herbert
Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn



Three Different Covers: includes front, spine, back, flaps. Printed on the Epsons at 13 x 19 trimmed and folded to size.

Each cover should include the following:  titile, author, author bio, book description, reviews, and quote. (at minimum)

Three Final Jackets as PDFs (On Server)

Process Book: PDF Process Book (Under 150 MB) on Server

Behance Post and Behance Post Link

9 / 19 / 23  


Introduce Project 2


Part 1: Pull from the internet of a visit to a bookstore 15 examples of book covers you think are successful.

Use these 3 questions to evaluate each of your 15 examples.

01) What visual category would you put the cover into? Type, Image, Photography, Illustration, Graphic Element, ...

02) What is the mood or tone of the cover? 

03) What is the visual execution of image on the cover? Is the image altered (colorized, bit-mapped, saturated...), juxtaposed (two images placed next to each other to create a new meaning), cropped, framed/boarder, layered, collaged, title as a label, hand-drawn, hand made (off the computer),...

Part 2: Readings




The Following Should be about the book you choose to rdesign a cover for.

About the Author
01) title of the book / image of the current book jacket
02) author (short bio at 50 - 100 words)
03) other books by the same author

Plot + Summary
04) short synopsis / plot / summary
05) what is the mood/tone/feeling of the book (descriptive words at least 6)
06) what is the message?

Choose the character(s) you find the most interesting -- it can be the main character it could be a supporting character(s). Identify at least 2 characters in book you have selected.

Describe them fully in written form (sentences, lists). And a long word list. Include role (protagonist, antagonist, foil). Physical appearance, personality, relationship to other characters, do "we" like them, hate them? What is their general mood or tone?

07) character 1 all about them see above
07b) 1 -3 quotes from that character

08) character 2 all about them see above
08b) 1 -3 quotes from that character

when and where does the book take place. Describe it (you can pull it directly from the book). Create a word list of at least 25 words describing the place, word the provoke visuals. From the 25, identify 3-5 key words and define them. Try and use words that create a visual in ones mind, an emotion, tone, mood...

09) setting/ time/ place describe it in visual terms, you can think generally about the place or use one specific scene.

what "things" are important to the story? Why are they important? Describe them. Create a word list of at least 25 words not only describing the object but also its meaning, importance, feeling, mood... From the 25 identify 3-5 key words and define them. Try and use words that create a visual in ones mind, an emotion, tone, mood...

10) object or thing what is a thing that is referenced in the book? There has to be some thing that is referenced in the book. describe it. Maybe capture the scene (capture means write it down/type it up)
*start to find visual examples in photographs, illustration, typography pattern that shows the character(s)..

Why this Book?
11) why did you pick this book to redesign? why is the current cover(s) successful or not successful?


9 / 21 / 23


Review Research
Making Presentation (In-Class)


Part 1: Create at least (3) different mood boards. Think about how to pull inspiration from outside of the world of book covers. Think conceptually! 

Part 2: 20 sketches for covers: Character, Place, Object (by hand, no computer) (60 total). Sketch at least 2-3 inches tall. Think of the concept and the form. How does the form affect the concept/mood/tone/feeling? How do you tell the story with the cover? How do you make it compelling? (60 Total)

Make the unfamiliar > familiar and the familiar > unfamiliar.

9 / 26 / 23


Review sketches and concepts


Part 1: Come up with / Explore at least 12 different customized title treatments. Nothing off limits. Try each of the categories: digital custom, digital manipulated, digital not manipulated, hand lettering. Use the computer, use the scanner, photograph type, print it out manipulate it and scan it back in or photograph it. What makes sense for your concept? Don't put all your eggs in one basket design / visual wise. Explore a lot of different visual and conceptual ideas.

Part 2: Explore Your IDEAS: 15 different bookjacket / cover explorations. (at least 3 for each Category). Focus on the cover only for this round. 7x10 in. These should be digital and done on the computer. Hand made elements are great but the output should be digital.

9 / 28 / 23


Review Sketches and
Typographic Explorations

Book Jacket Template


Part 1: Refine Successful Type Studies and use in your refined covers.

Part 2: Explore Your IDEAS: (10) different bookjacket / cover explorations. (at least 3 for each Noun or Category).

Visual Exectuions you should think about how to explore:

Photography: raw — landscape, portrait, object
Photography: cut image, photo montage, collage juxtaposition
Photography: manipulated, filter, bit mapped, altered
Illustration: realistic, fantasy …
Illustration: photo, collage
Illustration: digital effect
Illustration:: graphic elements, geometric, abstract, pattern organic,
Typography: computer generated/digital custom
Typography: computer generated/digital manipulated
Typography: computer generated/digital not manipulated
Typography: hand lettering, scrips

Covers need concept! Think about how to twist and play with what is expected? 

10 / 03 / 23


Review Cover Explorations


Take your best (2) covers at least 2 from each Category and build them out as full covers/jackers. You need to include: titile, author, author bio, author, book description, reviews, and quote. (at minimum)

Think of the entire cover Front, Spine, Back and Flaps. Get all the content on the jacket. Cover front back and spine have to have the title and author, where you add the bio and quote is up to you.

Look at your book cover research and see how book jacket designers handle this typography. Watch your typographic details. Leading, Spacing, Tracking, Kerning, Type Size. How do type and image interact?

10 / 05 / 23 


Review Book Cover Explorations


Explore/Make/Create 2 variations each of your bookjackets. How can you tell the story better? How can they be more visually compelling? How are you using the fact that you can pick it up and turn it and open it to tell the story visually? How can you make the typography more customized, more refined, less expected?

Watch your typographic details. Leading, Spacing, Tracking, Kerning, Type Size. How do type and image interact?

Bring in your covers as close to full size as you can. Print on fit on 11x17.

10 / 10 / 23 


Review Book Cover Explorations

Choose Final Directions


Narrow to final (3) Jackets. Range is important.

Explore/Make/Create 2  variations each of your 3 bookjackets. 

Focus on different typographic layouts and both visual/typographic hierarchy.. Explore different ways to handle the hierarchy. What can be bigger or smaller?

Big - Bigs and Small - Smalls. 

Use different strategies for creaitng hierarchy. 

Watch your typographic details. Leading, Spacing, Tracking, Kerning, Type Size. 

10 / 12 / 23


We will not have formal studio class. I will be on campus and will have windows from 9-11 and 3-4 to give you feedback on your covers if you need it. No matter what class you are in you are welcome at either window. 


Refine Final cover direction , focus on details

Watch your typographic details. Leading, Spacing, Tracking, Kerning, Type Size. How do type and image interact?

10 / 19 / 23 


Project Due 


Project 3 Start