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In creating this, the second design for Homage to Catalonia, using what I have referred to as the Big Book Look. The Big Book Look is a term I borrowed from Steven Heller and Louise Fili from their book Stylepedia, meaning big type for the title and big type for the author. Combined in this case with a symbolic piece of imagery, this representing a trench in which they fought and the red flag atop that trench and behind the trench a sunrise.
There is a passage in the book where Orwell talks about watching the sunrise behind the trenches. While I don't want to give you an English lit class, because that's not why you are here for, the point I want to make here is that if you can incorporate some salient detail like this in your book cover design, then it's going to be the stronger for it. In this discussion, I want to bring out three points and the first of these is an approach to choosing type. The second is how I created this simple illustration, and the third is working with the type and applying type effects.
So, in this movie we are going to be looking at the first of those things, how to choose the type, just one amongst an infinite number of approaches to choosing your type. Since we are working with a historical subject matter here, it make sense to go back and look at posters of the periods, specifically posters produced during the Spanish Civil War, of which there are some amazing posters. So, here are some of them and we can see that the type that they are using is very solid, blocky, very bold, sans- serif predominantly type, usually in uppercase and often rotated.
I wanted to get a match for one of these species of types, specifically this middle poster here. While I can match it closely by eye, I thought well, for extra authenticity it would be good to see if I could get an exact match. In such cases there is a very useful web site that will help us with that. It's called WhatTheFont, which is part of the myfonts.com website. So, let's go there. Here you can upload a screen capture of the letters that you are trying to match.
Then it will give you its best interpretation of that small picture where you have to help it out a bit to match the picture to the actual letters that you want. Let's see what it gives us. Now the returns it gives me are not exactly what I am after, but neither are they a million miles away from what I am after. So, perhaps in a different situation this may be a good way to go.
As it turned out, I didn't opt for buying one of these fonts and using it. Instead, I decided to go with Futura, which is a font that I already I have. But secondly, because Futura is very evocative of the age. We are talking about the late 1930s here. Futura was designed in the late 1920s. It was very predominant at the time. So, it's seems fitting for the subject matter. But before we get to working with the type, in the next movie let's see how we can create this simple imagery just working in Illustrator with the Pen tool, gradients and a bit more of the Blob Brush and a few effects.
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