First, we brought you the charming illustrations for the first chapter of Go Set a Watchman, the new release from Harper Lee (and the first since 1960’s seminal text, To Kill a Mockingbird.) Now, Penguin has revealed to us how it set about choosing the cover image, and Penguin designer Glenn O’Neil talks us through an unusual process for the publisher, in which all six in-house designers and art directors in the Cornerstone art department were given the chance to submit proposals for the title.
“For security reasons, access to the actual text was extremely restricted. None of us would be able to read [the book] until publication day,” he says. “We were made aware by the publisher of the essential outline of the story, in that it covers Scout Finch’s return home to Maycomb from New York, and, though moved forward in time, the narrative would feature many of the same characters as To Kill A Mockingbird. Furthermore there was the historical context, as the manuscript, thought lost, had been recently rediscovered after many years.”
From the many submitted responses, the chosen image was a typographical solution on a textured orange background. “It plays on the similarities in the wording of the two titles, Go Set A Watchman and To Kill A Mockingbird: the four words, each of a similar length, and of a similar rhythm. One title is a reflection of the other, both historically and typographically,” Glenn explains.
“However, after much discussion, it was apparent that a further visual element was required, at first a mockingbird seemed too obvious in the weight of the previous book’s history. But, after implementing many other symbols and illustrations, the bird silhouette began to re-emerge as the best solution. The mockingbird chosen gives animation to the cover, the way the tail points up between the words, the way the beak is open. It sits on a branch stripped of leaves, the back cover features leaves falling, Time has passed. Scout is older.
“Down the coming years, as with To Kill A Mockingbird, there will be countless designs put forward for different editions of Go Set A Watchman. This then will be one of many.”
- In celebration of his new book 2017, Bráulio Amado picks out the work he loves from last year
- Environmental Activism: Why We Need To Shake Up the Visual
- Charlotte Dumortier on her identity for this year's ELCAF and what she's looking forward to most
- Google Fonts Korean becomes interactive by manipulating path data
- Photography series Metamorphosis reimagines iconic female characters as 21st century women
- National Geographic’s creative director Emmet Smith on the publication’s redesign
- Craig Oldham dishes out brutally honest advice to new graphic designers
- Pentagram rebrands Battersea dogs and cats home to visualise "personality over sentiment"
- V&A announces shortlist for its Illustration Awards 2018
- ManvsMachine create its most ambitious campaign for Air Max Day yet
- Design to improve the general quality of life: exploring Paul Rand's IBM Graphic Standards Manual
- Ten examples of rare letterings, from 19th-century alphabets to preliminary drawings of Futura