Friday, 24 January 2014



For the Penguin Design Awards brief 2014, I am proposing to submit a book cover, which reflects the social, contextual and background of the novel, whilst reflecting key elements of the storyline, so relate to existing fans of the book, whilst exciting and intriguing new readers due to different aesthetic style and design approach.

Research has been carried out into the author, Jonathan Coe, his other works, the context and background of the novel  (1994) and film (early 1960s), What a Carve Up!, as well as looking into the history of Penguin books and the Design Awards to gain a true understanding of the brief and the design solution needed.Furthermore I chose to read the book itself to gain an understanding inside out of the themes and story lines within the book which could be experimented with as a design solution.

I have chosen to use a digital collage in a contemporary manner, in order to reflect several elements at once in an understandable, relatable and visually exciting manner which is new and fresh for Penguin books, and I believe will stand out on the book shelves, as well as appealing to their target audience.

Typography is something which the brief dictates should be strong throughout the design, and using hand rendered type, opposed to digital type, gives the book cover the vintage, yet contemporary twist which I feel brings the design elements and concept together. 

Much thought was put into the design idea for the novel cover, and more so thought has been put into how my design idea will differ to others, to stand more of a chance for myself, and the college to win a Penguin Award.

The solution:

The design solution was derived from the Post-Modern context of the book, and reflections of key elements of the satirical 80s Britain which this novel is set within. This particular decade reflected the Thatcher years, greed, class, wealth, sex, media and mystery, which have been reflected through the imagery on the cover, taking inspiration from the era, the context of the novel and my own interpretation of its meaning.

The poppy and plane, reflects Britain and War, which are running themes throughout the novel. The vintage TV reflects the era aswell movie depicted which the novel weaves around. ‘Shown on TV’ are 2 mountains which reflect the location where the two main characters meet.

The textures reflect people and society at the time, and on the back cover shows magazine style clippings which reflect the social dictation of the 80s which thrived and remains a strong voice throughout the novel.

The newspaper clippings reflect Great Britain in terms of its political state at the time, whilst being reflected through a silhouette of the British flag.

Individual elements will be recognsiable to those who are familiar with the novel, whilst those who aren’t will be intrgued and guided throughout, revealing all the mystery!

Overall I am happy with the design solution proposed to Penguin's design team, and judges. I feel the design aesthetic chosen is unusual, and with contemporary collage is appearing more and more it would be a great addition to the shelves. Not only that, the design is eye catching, thought provoking and reflects the contextual elements of the book, as well as reflecting elements from within the storyline throughout the visual elements.

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