Nietzsche Book Cover resdesign for class project

etahchen's picture

We had to choose a book and design the cover so I chose German philosopher Friedriche Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil. My teacher is too nice and never tells me what I can do to improve. So any suggestions on how I can make this a better design would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. Etah Chen.

J Weltin's picture

Why ragged right at the bottom of the title?
Back cover: the presentation of the text is rather boring. No space to breathe despite the large leading.
Smaller type, narrower text column and less leading would be the first improvement. Why go to the margins that close?


etahchen's picture

okay. here is the revised version. Thanks a lot for the suggestions Weltin. I just asked my teacher and he said "It looks fine. It looks fine." but i'm pretty sure theres things that still need to be done to it.

J Weltin's picture

The back is better, yet i’m not convinced about the top bit. But that’s hard to tell, how well it reads from this picture.
I don’t see the necessity of the ragged type at the bottom of the cover if everything else above is centred.

etahchen's picture

yeah, the top of the back cover looks weird to me too. i did the ragged type at the bottom of the front, because i thought if everything is centered, that'd look boring and i was trying to add variation

etahchen's picture

i centered everything on the front. i was looking at the back for a while and... i'm not sure. maybe it needs a title or headline in the back

ncaleffi's picture

Just my thought: on the front, the author's name, Nietzsche, is much smaller than the translator's - Kaufmann. It doesn't seem to me a good choice. I would move Nietzsche's name on the top, near the title, trying to find a balance between them. Another thing I would try to avoid is using so many fonts: there seems to be Big Caslon, Adobe Caslon and Baskerville there - one should be enough.

etahchen's picture

Oh wow. You're totally right about the Nietzsche's name. I didn't even think about that. Thanks.

ncaleffi's picture

It's more correct now, for sure. But if I had to set this cover (with no editorial restricions) I'd try to push the word "Nietzsche" to a very *big* size, since the subject "Nietzsche" is, in some way, and from my point of view, what I'm looking for if I enter a library and look for a book by him. Or at least I would try to balance more the author and the title display size. Then, I would gain space, if I nedded it, by setting the last three bottom lines smaller. Nothing against Walter Kaufmann, but, again, the point here is Nietzsche, not his translator.

etahchen's picture

Man. I am so grateful for this website. Thanks ncal. That really helped.

etahchen's picture

or how about this. changed the top of the front page.

ben_archer's picture

Hi Etah

The last-but-one example (first response to ncaleffis' advice) works becasue it pushes the author name better; this book was not the only one that Nietzsche wrote... so it could be seen as a design that would work for a series.

As Juergen was hinting earlier, it's not a good idea to mix left/right alignments with centered all in the same layout; pick one organisational axis and stick with it. That said, you should centre the big Nietzsche name – we can tell it's r/left while the title below is centered...

Good luck with the assignment. (Oh and if you think it needs a title or something on the back cover, consider using a drop capital to kick off the text in the top left corner.)

sihep's picture

It's starting to look very groovy. If your teacher really is too nice to tell you how to improve it, enclosing my 10 cents worth:

1. You need bigger margins and on the back the lines could be broken better (eg. second line take "He" to the next line) There are too many hypens eg. get "influential" onto one line and see if you can avoid breaking names like "Zarathustra". I'd move the photo down to line up with the last baseline on the first column to give yourself more space.

2. Get the barcode to line up with the text margin on the left.

3. Think there's too much line spacing between "Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future" bit and maybe move it up to get it to correspond with the "Penguin Classics", ISBN and price on the reverse.

4. Completely agree with ncaleffi and ben_archer that a huge "Nietzsche" is a good idea , so that it can be part of a series. You could even try removing the "Friedrich".

5. Not important but for a late 19th century German philosopher you could also try using a late 19th century German typeface.

Best wishes

eliason's picture

The subtitle, typographically, needs to "belong" more to the title.

ncaleffi's picture

"The subtitle, typographically, needs to “belong” more to the title."

I agree. etahchen, visually you should consider three degrees of importance, in my opinion:

- The author - Nietzsche, a philosopher but also a sort of popular culture superstar - at least here in Europe. One how is read not only by students (who can hardly understand him) but by generic readers. And whose last name only can easily get the attention it deserves.

- The book title - which should be bound more to the subtitle.

- The editing and translation reference. Again, Kauffman, the least important element typographically speaking.

If I were in you, I'd try to balance these three different elements in the front, with different sizes and positions. The first example you posted, apart from Nietzsche's name, was interesting by this point of view, and I think you were heading towards the right direction.

etahchen's picture

Thanks guys. I know I was suppose to center everything in the front but the "prelude to a...", the 'p' hits the 'y' above in the word 'beyond'. so i couldn't really center that part.

wow. i did like 5 revisions already. But I learned a lot from all the suggestions

Kirs10's picture

The title "Beyond Good and Evil" should be centered on the page. It looks disconcerting with a wider inside margin. And is it intentionally flush right with Prelude....?
Is "Translated, with Commentary, by" supposed to be centered with "Walter Kaufmann"? visually it looks off.
Back cover, is it all running text? Or is the knock out about Nietzsche and the rest about the book? If it is continuous text I think it should all be set at the wide measure, you can still wrap around the photo. And finesse it so the margins, especially top and bottom are all equal. If it is two separate pieces of copy perhaps having a run in bold subhead to further emphasis the two separate blurbs. You also want to tweak the margins on the back, because the copy is ragged it looks like a misprint with the copy closer to the outside.

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