…Or, more scientifically: Typography.
So far this year I’ve done quite a bit. It can be quite a juggling act,
balancing legibility with what you wish to communicate. The Diana Wynne
Jones lettering was particularly difficult; famed largely for her children’s
books, this needed to have a more adult edge as it was for a collection of
essays and anecdotes.
The trick was to say something about about Diana’s work to a casual viewer,
without appearing too fantastical. I suppose there are three main elements
(I’m about to indulge in some serious semiology so skip to the end if it’s
too much): the handwritten approach suggests craft, the mixing of upper and
lower case has a hint of anarchy, and there is a whiff of ancient cultures
in some of the letter forms (the ‘a’ particularly).
Hopefully all this information is passed on to the reader without it being
too obvious or laboured. Is it? Sometimes you look at something for so long
it becomes a completely abstract collection of marks…
For the other two examples, I could afford to be a little less subtle. The
Pirates lettering ended up being gold in order to stand out from the
background. Originally it was made to look like it was constructed out of a
treasure chest (rough attached), which I preferred, but sometimes you have
to abandon nice ideas for the good of the whole cover.