It is with this in mind that we delve into the archives to unearth another book design project that never came to fruition (which is actually very common, you just don’t read about it much). Back in 2011, we were commissioned to design a series of covers for a new ‘teen thriller’ series to rival the likes of The Hunger Games. The publisher was very keen to create a series design that would really stand out from other books in the genre, with covers that would be iconic and exciting, and convey a sense of the stories without descending into cliché.
We were supplied with three working titles, plus a draft of the first novel, called The Industry (published in 2012 with a cover designed in-house).
In a nutshell, the series is about a suburban girl who inadvertently cracks a digital code that she’s not supposed to, which leads to a tale of kidnapping and international espionage.
Below is a small selection of the directions we explored while trying to crack our own code—what would resonate with the publisher, the author and the market, whilst still honouring the initial brief. It’s safe to say that although we were specifically asked to ‘push the boat out’, we might have strayed a little too far from the commercial shore this time. Even so, it was a good exercise in pushing expectations about what works in this genre. And if we broadened even one person’s horizons in the process, it was worth it.
|Our first (and probably best) idea. Sometimes the simplest approach tells the deepest story.|
|Digging deeper (or around) the idea of secret codes, these covers display the information in both |
english and morse code.
|One of our more ‘conceptual’ ideas—the morse code is now represented with a series of die-cuts (holes in the cover)|
which reveal glimpses of the title and author name on the title page inside.
|The code in the story was a type of ‘key’, so this has been hinted at in a more literal way. |
The combination of simple iconic graphics and metallic ink covers made this our most sophisticated offering.
|Just in case high sophistication didn’t resonate, here’s a slightly more commercial take.|
|These covers take the ‘sense of place’ concept more literally—visualising what the main character might have|
physically felt underfoot at the various locations she was held.