Penguin book cover & Reflection

Another project we got before Christmas is about Penguin book cover, which is a Student Design Award 2017. There are three books we can do:

  1.  Adult Fiction Cover Award – TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by HARPER LEE 
  2.  Adult Non-Fiction Cover Award – IN COLD BLOOD by TRUMAN CAPOTE

    After we were told about this project, the first thing we have to do is to consider about which book we really interested to. and for me, the first one I do not want to do is To kill a mockingbird because we knew that there are many book cover had been designed, so I decided not to do it. Next, is to have a quick read about both of the story and find out which I feel more interested in, and at the end, I thought In cold blood is more challenging to mo so I determine that be my main book to do.

Next step, I did a range of research about the previous book cover which included the classic cover also with the previous winners. It is important to know and comprehend other people design because it can help us to see more also we might get some inspiration from them as well.  ( the book cover design

At the same time, I have to read the story and see what elements I can get, also I read some summary, comments, and notes about the whole story and read how people analyse the characters. In one of the workshop lecture, we were suggested to watch the movie Capote, it is a film that about the In cold blood author (Truman Capote), this is about the whole interview process with the murderers. Show how Truman Capote finds out all the questions about this homicide case and the relationship between the author and the main murderersPerry Smith.

From the film and the story, I collect some materials and elements that I thought it will be meaningful. 

Those are mainly about why the killers do the crime and about what they are thinking which is the main purpose of the film, finding the truth by interviewing them. Therefore, for the elements, I focus on those killers and their fade at the end. And I summarise all the ideas I got finally I chose to use rope which represented to their life and the criminal reference number and crime scene to show that the story is a crime.

About the colour, my first idea is just to focus on a dark red which is similar to blood and it represents the name of the cover blood and after I collect all the items I need then I create my first idea cover designs.

Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 5.00.53 pm

This is the first cover I did, however, after some discussion, there are few thing I have to change such as the whole thing is too busy so I should remove some of them. The font colour and size is not clear enough and the typeface on the book front and the side should be the same. Lastly, I should try to play with the font size of the back cover text. Through the first design I did, I knew about there are some we have to pay attention to the text size of the title, subhead and the author name.

So I improved all the thing I was told about, so I simplify the cover and check the font size and the typeface. I made it in two versions the first one I keep the red that I have used for the previous cover, another colour is blue which is represented the cold as the name of the book. And after I done the improvement, I compared both of them and I found out it was totally changed, it looks much better. Through looking at both together I understand sometimes simple doesn’t mean I didn’t do enough, simple is good but it must have your own style. 

Screen Shot 2017-06-02 at 4.56.09 pmScreen Shot 2017-06-02 at 4.55.53 pm

Although those are better than the first idea, there is something I still can change. For example, I really like both colours so I really want to try to put them together and show the cold and blood feeling. Moreover, the colour of the text is really close to the background so it is not easy to read the text so I changed the opposite colour to make a strong contrast. Finally, I made two versions for combining all the things I have just said.

Screen Shot 2017-06-02 at 5.19.51 pmScreen Shot 2017-06-02 at 5.18.01 pm

At the end, I cannot make the decision by myself so I ask different people to get some suggestions, most of the people seem to prefer the blue colour background version so finally, that became my final outcome.

Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 10.54.00 pm


The project I really enjoy it and it was a big challenge as a real project. In the whole process, I felt excited and also a bit stressful especially when my brain was stuck and can’t think of anything. However, I think it is good for me to improve myself in that situation because the idea might explode in my mind suddenly. This project is not just a design marked by our tutor but also the people in the Penguin company are actually looking to our work and chose the best some they really like. Though the project I kind of like know more about how to catch people eye more easier, and know about what book cover should include. I have also improved some of the technique skill by making those items and by this experience I realise that I quite like to design book cover which expands my interest and help me to find myself. I will keep using those techniques and knowledge I have learnt from this project to create more book cover design and make more good work.


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