Earlier this month, we revealed the cover for Stephanie Goehring’s chapbook and winner of the Host Publications Chapbook Prize, from The Water [Inaudible]. Below, I’m giving you a little design breakdown.
Tools: our cover was laid out using InDesign via Adobe Creative Cloud. All typography was available using the Adobe Typekit.
This is a photograph I snapped a few summers ago from the inside of an old Texas theater and one of my favorite places. Never did I intend for this to be used as a cover, but after a long brainstorming session with our Senior Editor Claire Bowman, windows and fog and eeriness became the common theme. This photo came to mind, and we decided to try it out. After showing an original mock-up to Stephanie, we knew it was the winning image. Other images we experimented with: foggy forests, bodies of water, roads. Nature was clearly a theme. Read the chapbook and you’ll understand why.
Cropping: the crop on this image felt natural. It’s a window, so we have a few straight lines. I wanted to avoid too much black, so only allowed it to take up to a third of the front cover. Once I turned the title vertically, the crop fell into place.
The Title: from the get-go, I knew this title demanded to be blown out and in all-caps. The word inaudible is a gorgeous one. The word INAUDIBLE in all caps, even more so. The word [INAUDIBLE] with brackets, phew, put it on a stage and give it a spotlight. So, we started with blowing it out, making it enormous, and then we searched for a typography to compliment the work. Claire and I had milk cartonor newspaper in mind for months, but when we found Brian Willson’s Attic Antique, we knew we found the perfect title font. We used the italicized version for the cover.
The Name: balance is essential, so we flipped the switch on the blown out decorative font, and traded it in for a very light sans serif font. We used Abadi MT Pro and added some kerning. We also used this font to match the back cover and the word from in the title. Super subtle, super balanced.
Blending: I love experimenting with text over images and pushing my limits there. With this title in particular, I wanted to capture the transparency and fluidity of water. Adjusting the opacity of the text and experimenting with its relationship to the image really brought the cover to life, evoking motion on the page.
Stephanie Goehring was incredibly easy to work with, but as an artist herself, I also anticipated she would be a tough critic when it was time to present options. She fell in love with first mockup, but we still had a couple of months to bring wildly different options and ideas.
I would like to mention that my initial ideas were collage-oriented and inspired, similar to what we did for autobiography of a semiromantic anarchist, but after reading the chapbook and connecting to it on such an intimate level, we went in a totally different direction.
Above are some ideas that didn’t quite nail our vision, but as you can see fluiditywas a key word that we couldn’t quite shake from the beginning.
The Grand Finale
The back cover: quick, easy, and simple—black with Abadi MT Pro type, color matched with the blush hues on the front cover.
The finish: after some discussion with the printers, we decided on a coating that would preserve the black color of the book, while also providing a matte finish to the cover.
We’re so incredibly proud of this work and the cover that accompanies it. This cover design was a fun and delightful little journey, and we’re confident it will look stunning in all of the hands that will hold it!