Book cover

miu_miu's picture

Hi all, this is my school project on 21st century slave bookcover, please have a look at the layout/type usage and give comments, thank you all in advance.#2#1

kakaze's picture

The second cover is better.

The authors name looks better in upper and lower case, and "slaves" looks better as the bold sans. I do like the tighter leading on the first cover though.

It's a very good start. And with a picture like that, I'd say you'd want to deemphasise the text and use as little of it as possible.

Dan Weaver's picture

Miu, you need some dynamics, try this make the photo a negative image, or posterize it. The Image is dull and tell nothing of the story. If you have access to more photos I'd make a montage, the operative word of the title is Slaves. I'd also not justify the authors' name and credit. By not justifying it could create some more tension visually. You might also play with making the title of the book the focal point and make the weak photo small. If you can play with 21st Century Slaves as it reads faster and is more dynamic. Just some thoughts, Dan

kakaze's picture

See, I think the image is great like it is. I think degrading it would degrade the message. I mean, two kids who look uncertain about what's going to happen to them...and they even have sales tags around their necks.

Should photoshop 500 yuan on the little one and 1000 on the big one.

miu_miu's picture

i find myself agree with Chris more, i thought the image is rather effective and the fact that it's a black and white photo also adds a somber dimension to the whole subject of slavery.
I had been wanting to add bar code(21st century invention) to the tags but it could be too distracting. mmm...hand written number might work though. let me try it.
I do like the bold sans SLAVES more cuz it looks more graphic than the serif SLAVES. Maybe i should increase the credit to make it more legible?
Thanks both for commenting! =)

rs_donsata's picture

All agreed: don

hdschellnack's picture

I wouldn't do anything to

Dan Weaver's picture

I'm sorry kids with tags on them doesn't say slaves to me. I see kids with tags on them at Airports with their names on them so they can be Idenified by a person picking them up. I don't feel the image is strong enough. Now put them in a field or sweatshop and malnutritioned and you have a compelling image. Dan

hrant's picture

Daniel, don't you believe in the power of subtlety?
Oh, and Dalliance, right?


Dan Weaver's picture

Hrant do the children look distressed, no, sad yes. Subtlety in a book store? Each title trys to out-scream the book next to it. The title of the book here is anything but subtle. Dan

miu_miu's picture

thanks for all the great inputs, this sparks a lot more thinking..hehe

miu_miu's picture

i got my solution! or did i??
I am printing one copy to red transparency paper and another to regular cover stock and then stack(off a bit for blurred effect) them together. This way, i can spice up the photo with a prominent color, and at the same time, do away with messing with the photo. (i want to keep the integrity of the photo =P)
never tried printing to transparencies, gonna get messy, maybe just give the cover a red tint is easier..mmm..

aquatoad's picture

The transparency is the best idea yet. Got me thinking of overprinting SLAVES (condensed sans) in red, the full width of the bottom, ultra tight spacing bleeding off the page in 3 directions. 21st Century mixed case and small, flush to the top-left of SLAVES (or possibly over the top left of it) in white or grey.

To do the overprint you may need to lighten the image (only behind the letters) since it is dark. Or, create two identical layers of red type in photoshop, one set to 50% opacity, the other to 100% multiply.

Don't put anything on the tags or do any photoshop filter trickery, IMHO.


drewheffron's picture

I agree with Randy that no photoshop trickery should be involved. To me, having the authors name on the top of the image makes this layout less effective. My eyes kind of jump inbetween the type- missing the image. Especially since their orientation creates a diagonal line.


miu_miu's picture

Thanks all for the great suggestions!
Tiffany, what is varnishing u suggested on the last post? I know what varnishing is for painting, is it a printing technique in this case?

Dan Weaver's picture

Tiffany, Miu, there is a technique that is very popular here. You liquid laminate the cover with the type under the laminate then you print the rest of the book cover with a matte ink over the laminate. The type explodes from the page, at least 10 fold over varnishing.

hawk's picture

there are two types of varnish: 1. gloss 2. matte/dull varnishes can be run as a flat panel or halftone. they are handeled the same as inks and require their own plate on the press. varnishes do work better on coated stocks. they are also a must when running matte inks, to reduce scuffing. and - they do tend to yellow with time

Dan Weaver's picture

David post your answer and wait for the error message then hit control/command [ and go to topics and like magic your answer is posted. Why? I have no idea.

lorenk's picture

strictly looking at typography, since this is a typography forum, i would say that the word slaves on the second cover looks wrong... tracked-out Impact? (or whatever font that is, which i'd never use...) doesn't look good to me. i also think that the author and his last book shouldn't be full justified.

also, i don't think that the photo is soo strong that if there were no typography, i'd be attracted to it and pick it off the shelf. the type could make it more interesting though.

miu_miu's picture

latest attent...=/
i gave the image a reddish tint, changed the font and got rid of the some info.

kakaze's picture

Oh, I think I'm liking the red.

I think it gives it even more emotion.

Did you posterise it, or is the banding because you made it a gif?

j_p_giese's picture

This is slightly off topic (and comes a little late, too), but anyway:

"... wouldn't do anything to

Tom Cannon's picture

Maybe try and add grunge to "slaves" and maybe add a grungy border around the cover. That way you wouldn't have to mess too much with the photo. This site by dubtastic has great tutorials and examples of grunge.


miu_miu's picture

I have final printouts of the bookcover with the original black and white photo, as well as the tinted red one(no poterizing or anything else) for upcoming class critique. I have learned alot from all of you and i want to thank you for continued interest in the project. I didn't get to use all of ur great suggestions on this project, i'm sure they will turn out somewhere else though. =)

hrant's picture

Yesterday I discovered that the children in that photo were not being sold as slaves (ostensibly somewhere in the third world). They were inmates in a US concentration camp (on US soil) during a war (although I forget if it was WWII, the Korean War, or Vietnam).

I don't care if it was a school project, I think re-using a picture like this in this way is disgusting. The least one should do is disclose the true nature of the photo to anybody who is asked for a critique.


Miss Tiffany's picture

What varnishing the word slaves across it? I mean, instead of having it in red? This image is very powerful. If they stack this book face forward, the image alone will attract viewers.

Miss Tiffany's picture

What "about" varnishing ... we all read minds, right?

Miss Tiffany's picture

There is also a UV coat ... can't remember (this early Monday morning) which protects (better?) from finger prints. I'm pretty sure it is UV. In which case you could do a flood UV (it is an art book, right?) and a spot high gloss varnish.

One book I have in mind, and the reason I suggest "hiding" the type, is Herb Ritt's Africa .. incredibly elegant, understated, refined. The meat of the type is on the spine. Where the type really belongs anyway. Well, in my opinion anyway. If it is a high-impact photo, such as the one you have here, the type will not be necessarily the thing that draws them in. It is the story which the photo is telling. Personally, I think that if the book is lucky enough to be face forward (or up) in the history or art section, or new books piles) you won't need the type. And, when the book is relegated to the shelf, spine out, that is when the type needs to do its job. If you can, I wouldn't make the type near so big, or find a way to make it invade less of the image. And that is why I suggested varnishing.


Miss Tiffany's picture

I was a little off on the Herb Ritts book, but here are a few links to his stronger books. Perhaps the point is more that the type isn't invading the image.


And this is an example of Herb Ritts working with Versace on a book, where the type is ruining the motion and energy of the image.

Miss Tiffany's picture

Hmm. Sorry about that. The "example" above ... the first image you see is actually the back cover, you have to click forward once to see the cover. And while I'm at this self-addendum, I'll also say the image crop isn't the best either. But, you can't fault the model, not one bit.


Miss Tiffany's picture

Miu Miu ... Is there any more image?

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