By Emily Harris, Senior Graphic Designer
I enjoy working on jigsaw puzzles, which is probably part of the reason why I love my job so much. Every book cover is a new challenge, and it often feels like I’m putting a puzzle together. For example, how do you take a 232-page book set in China about two best friends who work together in a factory, and deal with some very challenging events and situations in their lives, and sum all of this up in a compelling visual?
Solving the Cover Design Puzzle
There were a number of different things to consider as I began to work on this particular cover design:
-Since the story focuses on two friends, do we show them on the cover? And if so, how?
-They work in a factory, so I tried a number of initial designs that centered around actual images of factories, or that had more of an industrial feel through the typography. These designs ended up feeling a bit too cold and lacked the human element that we were looking for on this cover.
-How can we show a specific place or setting without actually showing it? The story takes place in the city of Gujiao, China, but we didn’t want to get too literal in our representation.
The cover we landed on hints at the drama and challenges that the girls face through color, gritty typography, and silhouette. The interwoven lines in the background hint at the girl’s emotional connection, the idea of traveling or moving around, and give a subtle nod to their work at the factory.
It took many rounds, and a lot of research, but I think we completed this cover puzzle in a way that successfully represents the story.