Content Tagged ‘Design’

C.R.A.P.tastic

cover_1101_fullMuch of the attention of students in the Publishing Laboratory is focused on designing digital and print media for both Ecotone and Lookout. The bones of our insight into design start with one acronym that’s as useful as it is fun to say: C.R.A.P. It stands for contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity.

Our newest department—From the Drafting Table—aims to look at design in the world of publishing. For this debut post, I’ve decided to look at five cover designs from the literary journal Gastronomica: The Journal of Critical Food Studies and talk about what makes them so compelling through the lens of C.R.A.P.

t_1336256674These first two covers take advantage of one very basic thing—color. If our courses in publishing have taught us anything about the business of the industry, it’s that a book or magazine cover needs to give a good first impression, even from far away. The vibrant background colors here catch our eye and hook us in visually. The white of the egg, in contrast to the rest of the cover, highlights the organic shape of the outline. Since blue and yellow are complementary colors, the yolk of the egg seems richer and tied to what’s behind it. The repetition of white tells our eyes where to make a connection, guiding our eye from the title of the journal to the food on display.

5c80859dc9b455da845e4eb924009b54This next one does a great job expressing the journal’s mission in a subtle yet evocative way. While we might expect to find images of food on the cover of a food publication, a bottle of perfume or a hamburger made of wood might cause us to glance twice. Gastronomica’s goal of using “food as a starting point to probe timely and necessary questions about the role of food in everyday life,” shines through here. It’s not just food we’re looking at, but images that summon the idea of food while blending in other dynamics of life, connecting eating to being. This is a more conceptual take on repetition that allows the theme of food to reverberate through images and associations.

1336256744Another pigment match made in heaven can be seen in the red hues of the heart and the green background. These colors, aside from being the stars of that wintery holiday, are complementary. A contrast in texture is also at work here, the silky shadows in the fabric connect our eye to the fatty components in the salami and those hallowed-out dots in the meat bring us back to the cloth. Repetition hard at work.

The food is hanging on a little less in this one, but let’s face it, it’s cool. And there are some neat tricks at play here. The gradient of the background mimics the pixelated gradient of the sprinkles. They both have a gradual fade that makes the more consistent colors pop, like the sockets of the eyes and the shadow behind the jaw bone. It brings us to alignment, to that that nice horizon line where the colors start to part.The blue gradient in the background adds dimension to the cover by transitioning to white where the bottom of 1356524289the skull begins. The image’s alignment with the backdrop, as well as its proximity to the horizon line, creates a bend that lets our eyes perceive the skull as sitting on a shelf rather than on a two-dimensional surface.

Gastronomica said good-bye to the glitzy and provocative stylings on display here and transitioned to a consistent patterned background. The change remains a mystery to me, I confess, but at least we still have these, and the new designs still provide clear instances of C.R.AP. Another pigment match made in heaven can be seen in the red hues of the heart and the green background. These colors, aside from being the stars of that wintery holiday, are P. Though the patterns vary, their size, rate of repetition, and proximity to one another reminds viewers of previous issues, telling them what they can expect and helping them to create an identity for the magazine.

That concludes our first edition of From the Drafting Table. Stay tuned for more thoughts about and examples of great design. And remember to keep C.R.A.P. in mind when looking at the world. There’s plenty to see.

–Jane Molinary, MFA Candidate, Pub Lab TA

Designing the Interiors of The Debut Voices of Lookout Books Chapbook

Lookout Books is getting excited about AWP. We hope you’ll stop by our table at the Bookfair, and that you’ll attend The Debut Voices of Lookout Books, which is happening this Friday at 1:30 p.m. This reading will be the first time all four Lookout authors are in the same place, and the event will be followed by a book-signing at our Bookfair table. You’ll be able to grab signed copies of all our Lookout titles. We’re also excited about unveiling the limited edition chapbook that we printed in-house to commemorate the Debut Voices event.

We did a blog post about creating glyphs for the chapbook (read it here). Now we’re going to share how we designed the interior of the chapbook, which features complete stories from our three prose authors’ Lookout titles and two poems from our Lookout poet . Here’s a look into the process of designing and printing the book:

As the interior designer, I met with the interns doing cover design and together we decided on a trim size of 6” x 6”. Then I got to work on designing a page layout, asking for feedback as we worked.

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1. An early version, with handwritten feedback. We needed to feature the author name more prominently, to group the name and title differently, and to give the text more room to breathe with some larger margins.

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Creating Glyphs for Debut Voices of Lookout Books chapbook

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To celebrate all our authors reading together for the firs time, we’ve been working on a limited edition booklet to feature work from the four Lookout authors, called Debut Voices of Lookout Books. (Come see them, Friday 1:30PM and then to the book signing after at table A6/A7.) We wanted to design a unique glyph to represent a component of each author’s work and would be used on the covers and interiors of the chapbook.

We read the stories and poems and picked elements from each that spoke to us. Then we studied images of each element, and, using the pen tool in Photoshop, recreated their lines and curves, filling them in with the tone and emotion of the stories. Here is what we came up with.

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Making A List: The Five Best H.P. Lovecraft Book Covers

5. The Doom that Came to Sarnath
This cover is great. It has a dark wizard casting some kind of spell on a cloudy day. In the front there are totems made from sticks, twine and human remains. The reader can see that some doom came but now they want to know things like: “How did the doom come?” and “What can I do to stop that doom from coming over here?”
4. The Haunter of the Dark
There is a lot to cover here. I think the best place to start is the two figures on the landscape. They think they know what’s going on but they don’t know jack. Just below their feet is some sort of disembodied head with tentacles living in a cave with a frogman.
3. The Horror in Museum
This chick went to the museum. She probably wanted to learn something or better herself in some way. But the only lesson she got was the final lesson from a three eyed crab man in a cape (who may be a king or something due to his throne).
2. At The Mountains of Madness
This cover features what madness would look like if it took physical shape.
1. The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath
This is pretty much all you need: A twisted spire of pained human faces all screaming in unison. The perfect cover.

 – Joe Worthen, Lookout Intern