Skill Level Appropriate for all
- This is part three of our Boring Book Project. I'd like to review two more covers. If you missed the challenge, I encourage you to go back and see the first two episodes. What I did was give you an assignment to design the cover of a book that you would keep by your bedside to read and fall asleep. You don't want to arouse the reader in any way. And like you heard before, a lot of you discovered that designing something blah is just as hard as any other kind of design. That's because in the presence of anything visual, we respond.
We're extremely good at spotting faces, at seeing patterns, at seeing contrasts and differences, and we're constantly looking for meaning. If these aren't present, we'll tend to tune out mentally, but our eyes are still paying attention. So they will see the difference. We'll respond differently to a corner than to a curve, for example. And so our job as designers is to be aware of those differences. Let's take a look at these. The first one is called Dunes by Paul Mason.
And Paul, I hope I'm pronouncing your name correctly. I love this, it's gorgeous. It's sweeping, it's panoramic, it's organic. The words that come to my mind are epic and mythic. To me, it suggests science fiction. It's barren, almost alien, empty of life. Design-wise, the landscape format is made more so by the horizontal edges. We see lines. This is a line running to the right, we see a line here running to the right, and we see the main line running to the right.
These are small, medium, and large, and these differences keep the layout active. When we have images on the page like the word, it also is creating a horizontal line running to the right. And it creates a channel here and here. We have phantom lines that come off of it like this. And so we actually get more horizontal movement here and here. And even in the byline, it's so small but it creates a channel here and here.
Again, kind of small, medium, and large. All of these are moving to the right. If you're working in a language that reads right to left, the opposite is true. Everything will move to the left. The snaking ridge in the center is the focal point and kind of the interruption in the line. It's running pretty much vertically. The colors are muted but natural, fairly monochromatic. I see the softness. Soft colors are placid. That's usually good for sleep, but here it's just part of the vibe.
It looks normal, like atmospheric haze. I love the weight and spacing of the type, plus it's faintly translucent. I don't love the style, I'm not sure why. I think it's the S that's squared off a little bit, feels faintly foreign to the landscape. But it works. This is a beautiful cover. It totally interests me in the book, so no yawns at all. Opposite Dunes is this gem by Anne Anderson. It's awful, but in the right way for this assignment.
The topic is beyond boring. I don't know what a baudgig is. It's not a word, but it's so bad I don't care. And that's a good sign. Nothing here makes me want to read this. Even those who have to read it won't want to. Design-wise, it's obsolete. The type is ITC Bauhaus from the 1970s. It was a very popular face, but it's decorative. Decorative is at odds with just the bureaucratic topic and the bureaucratic layout. It's also one of those faces that date it.
Not all typefaces do that. It looks like a period piece. The phone is a 1970s landline plastic headset. The back of the guy's head, you never want to do this ever. That thing about our excellence at spotting faces, faces are how we relate to each other. And what does the body language say? The color's a dirty army green. That extends to the photo. The photo's almost a duotone, meaning printed in only two inks. That's also a dated technique, back to when individual colors were expensive.
It's used today for special effects, but even so putting someone's skin tones in green is just not a good idea. So there's no design here. The type is placed on a left margin, just like you'd type it. It's unbalanced. It leaves white space, or in this case green space, passive and dead. And by passive, I mean it really is empty. The eye moves from the type and from the picture out into nothingness.
There's nothing to see after you've read it. I have a few very small nits. There's a couple of fairly strong lines. One is the crease, one is this left alignment here. And as we just saw on the other book, when you set horizontal lines it does create channels. So these are all lines, but those are almost unavoidable. The photo corners are sharp. They would poke you if you touched them. But again, almost unavoidable.
Anyway, I want to give this four yawns. It's almost too repellent, so it should get three. But since this is just for fun, I'll give it four anyway. And that's your design for today. See you next time.
Q: Why can't I earn a Certificate of Completion for this course?
A: We publish a new tutorial or tutorials for this course on a regular basis. We are unable to offer a Certificate of Completion because it is an ever-evolving course that is not designed to be completed. Check back often for new movies.