From doing all of my research I started to think of ideas and sketched them out.
I began by remembering a quote from the book being; ‘solitary cloud slow dance…’ with the cloud being used as a metaphor for Callum. However, I started thinking about what a cloud symbolises… a cloud on its own could symbolise isolation and loneliness, in general they symbolise dreams and being lost in thought. Some clouds are calm, whilst others are stormy and although they are always there, they can never be grasped. I thought all of these worked well in relation to the story of Noughts and Crosses and therefore I started playing with the idea of using clouds for the cover.
However, I started thinking that just having clouds might not make sense to a younger audience and would not be that eye-catching. This lead me to think of using colours and textures in order to make the cover more eye-catching to the target market. This got me to think of using ink and having colours clashing together in order to highlight the clashing of the two sides within the story.
I considered using two models and using mark-making to cover their faces or manipulate elements of the image to try and show society fighting to keep them apart. I worry this idea is too literal and gives too much of the story away?
I also considered creating typographic covers, playing with hierarchy and using some words to partially conceal others and making certain elements more prominent. I had a few variations for this idea that could have potentially been explored further. But from doing my research I noticed a lot of teen book covers were typographically based and so I thought of maybe trying something different first with this being a second option.
There are a few other ideas that can be seen within the images above but the one I kept getting drawn back to was the one with the clashing of the ink. I feel like it covers a lot of the themes within the book, being the opposing sides of the noughts (white) and the crosses (black) and the often violent interaction that occurs between the two sides but as well as this shows the interaction between Callum and Sephy; the two main characters and the passion and world wind of emotions that felt between the two. Using coloured ink at the point of interaction will also make the cover visually interesting and stand out amongst other books in my opinion.
I therefore refined the idea and decided to work with it.
From this I decided to pour ink into water and photograph it, take that into photoshop and manipulate the images to create the desired effect.
Below are the original images:
Although I am pleased with the outcome of the images because they are themselves visual interesting. When I went to work with them on Photoshop, I realised that I couldn’t get one colour to flow into another naturally and it simply looked awkward.
I therefore went back and decided to to physically pour ink on to paper and play with it. It took numerous attempts because the black ink would completely dominate the other colours making it difficult to get an equal flow from both sides.
Eventually I managed to get one piece that I was happy with. As it was done late at night, the photograph was of poor quality, but I worked with it in order to gain a sense of whether it would work as a layout or not. I also did it ready for the next day in preparation for group crits.
In response to my first draft, I am relatively pleased with the outcome. I definitely think the image needs to be re-taken as the quality is not great. I think the type needs to be reworked slightly, particularly the quote on the back and a few other areas that are suffering from legibility issues. I also think the title on the front cover needs to be played with more and needs more consideration. I think the variation in scale works well and highlights what the book is about and I like that the ink comes over the word ‘Nought’ but it is covering it too much and is therefore difficult to read. Otherwise, I think that it is eye-catching and and interesting cover and I think it is a different take on the narrative of the book.
All of the feedback I received from my peers and Ian I felt were all valid and didn’t come as a surprise to me. I was told that some of the type had legibility issues, which I had already noted and that the title needed slight reworking. Ian however pointed out that the black ink was too dense and unpleasant to look at and if looking at the front cover alone, would not be dynamic. He suggested using the outline of the ink to form a shape of some sort, which is an idea I will definitely try as it would make the cover more interesting visually and aid in giving an insight into the story.
Overall, I was pleased with the feedback I received and felt all the points were valid and are things I will go back and work on.
Final Book Cover:
After making various edits, below is the final outcome of the book cover.
As mentioned previously, I have re-taken the photograph, worked with the type further and re-worked the title.
On the whole, I am much happier with the outcome of this cover. The image quality is much higher, meaning the black ink is less dense and has more textures within it, meaning it is more interesting to look at. I have also subtly added an outline of two faces, one white and the other black within the ink. I can only hope that people will notice them but they are not designed to stand out blatantly. I am much happier with the title on the front cover also, it is much clear to read, but there is still that sense of the black ink creeping over it and a feeling that it is inferior to the ‘Crosses’.
Overall, I have enjoyed this project, despite how quick the turnover was – which was a challenge. I am pleased with what I’ve created and no matter what the outcome of the competition is, I feel I have gained a strong portfolio piece. I also thoroughly enjoyed seeing other people’s interpretation of the book and this has really shown how different we all think and perceive things.