Join Nigel French for an in-depth discussion in this video Distressed type, part of Designing a Book Cover.
In this chapter we are going to look at typographic solutions to designing book covers and we are going to begin by looking at some examples of successful book covers that use mainly type. As an example of the classic Penguin up here, just bands of orange and type works beautifully. Graham Greene, just the author name, title of the book, simple illustration in some cases, some cases not even the illustration. Same with the J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye. Moving down here to the more contemporary book covers, things get a little bit more involved they are a little bit fancier if you will.
Essentially it's just about letterforms and playing with those letterforms, in this case we have this sort of Dada-inspired typographic solution. Massive changes in the scale of the letters here for Darkness at Noon. This treatment of Ulysses inspired by a Bauhaus type solution, and this one here which I am actually in, a book of six-word memoirs and well, that's it. It's all about type. Let's see how we can create our own typographic book designs working with our hypothetical series of George Orwell books and beginning with an example that uses distressed type.
In this the first of our typographic solutions working with the first of our three books in the series, Homage to Catalonia, we are going to see how we can use two different techniques to distress our type. And also this is a partially photographic solution as well because the type is set against the backdrop of a red piece of material which can signify either a red bandana or perhaps a red flag. Both significant to the story of the Spanish Civil War, which is the book's subject.
We are going to begin with a Photoshop document and I am going to turn Off the type layers for a moment and we will take a look at this piece of red material. I went to a fabric shop, bought a piece of red material, put it on the floor of my apartment took a photograph of it, imported it, tweaked the levels of it, and sized it so that it's at the appropriate size, 5 and 1/8th inch. That one 1/8th allowing for a bleed on the right-hand side and seven and three quarter inches high, allowing for an eighth of an inch bleed off the top and an eighth of an inch bleed off the bottom and the bleed guide indicated by these turquoise guides that I drew just by pulling them out from the ruler.
So this is our starting point and then we have this our type. Obviously the title of the book and the slogan, the rallying cry "No Pasaran" meaning "they shall not pass", an important rallying cry during the Spanish Civil War. So what we are going to do is look at two different techniques for distressing the type and we will split this into two separate movies. So for the yellow type we are going to use technique number one.
Just to make things a little bit easier I am going to select these two layers and make them into a layer group, come to the Layers panel menu. New Group from Layers and the only that's saving me is it means I only have to do this once rather than twice, because I can apply the layer mask to the group rather than to the individual layers. So both of these techniques involve using a layer mask and that is this thing down here. When I click on that I add a layer mask to the group.
That layer mask is white at the moment, meaning that it's currently having no effect. If I fill that layer mask with black it's going to mask the type entirely. So I am going to do that, switch my foreground color to black, and then use this very useful keyboard shortcut in Photoshop to fill my layer mask with my foreground color and that is Alt and the Backspace/Delete key. My type disappears. You will see that my layer mask is black. And what I am now going to do is I am going to switch to my Brush tool and choose an appropriate brush.
Here I have chosen a Spatter Brush and I have then adjusted its spacing, made the spacing bigger than it began, so we will have it around 30%. That will be fine. You may also want to increase or decrease the size of this. I have gone up to about 250 pixels and to increase the size of your brush the right square bracket, two to the right of the P key. To decrease the size the left square bracket.
Now I am going to switch my foreground color to white by pressing the X key. That will toggle your foreground background colors, and then just start painting over the mask. I have the mask selected. You will see there is a frame around that thumbnail right there. That's my visual cue that the mask is selected and as I do so, it's revealing the type with the texture of the brush and if we take a look at the mask. now it looks like that. Wherever the mask is white then the content of that layer group is revealed.
Alt+Click on the mask will show you the image. Alt+Click on the mask will show you the mask. So you are in toggle back and forth between those two different views. So there is our first technique for creating distressed type, which is very, very simple, and I think very effective. In the next movie we will look at another technique for achieving much the same end.
- Researching the design and brainstorming ideas
- Setting up a document in InDesign or Illustrator
- Choosing typefaces, colors, shapes, and imagery
- Hand-drawing type and using different type treatments
- Creating illustrations from scratch
- Using and adapting photographs for illustration
- Preparing the book covers for printing