I’m currently on a mystery novel binge mostly by Stieg Larsson who wrote the best selling Millennium Series: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. My co-worker lent me the first book of the series which started my addiction. However what prompted me to open the book wasn’t just because it’s an immensely successful mystery novel, but because the book cover design caught my eye. Once I got my hands on the remaining two books, I love the design even more. Despite how simple the design looks, from my experience, it takes a lot of planning and thinking to come up with a system that will function as the “key” for a design that will be repeated yet must be different at the same time.
With big, bold, san-serif type, the title of the book is laid out evenly yet sporadically all over the cover. In the background is a faint but very detailed image: a dragon for the first, hair strands for the second, and a wasp for the last. This could allude to the heroine’s, Lisbeth Salander, great memory. Despite the faintness, what she sees is actually clear as day with everything from the scale of a dragon to a wasp’s wings. Finally, the last to the system is an all encompassing color that washes over the design minus the black type. With these three key attributes in place, adding another book to the collection becomes a less complicated issue. The design is by Peter Mendelsund and Random House is the publisher. Random House is one of my favorite book publisher who consistently have great covers for their books.
When something is a set, something needs to be present to show that they all belong together. A rubber band can do the job, who has one big enough to wrap three giant books with? Plus, when they snap, it hurts. The simple answer is to have a design system in place to let people know instinctively that this has a sister and brother somewhere out there and you need to find ‘em. The necessity for a repeating design can actually applied to most anything. The ones I’ve come across include the 5 Senses Gum, and the Head & Shoulder Shampoo. Can you think up anymore?