For a class assignment, I was directed to redesign three covers from a book series. Instead of choosing an existing series, I selected three books that I love that all represent or include motherhood in their plot lines. The idea to create my own pieced-together series came from a strong desire to work with Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible. As an all-time favorite, I wanted to create a new and unique cover that would visually represent the book’s plot in a new way.
For all of the book covers, I created the cover design with construction paper, then scanned them and brought the images into InDesign for text and alignment. My goal was to be able to see the paper texture instead of a flat graphic image, which I achieved. I used the font Gotham for all of the covers as I wanted to use a simple font to keep the focus on the cover art itself.
For The Poisonwood Bible, I created a Congo jungle floor of poisonwood tree leaves with the fatal mamba snake slithering along the ground. In the story, both the tree leaves and the snake have significant symbolic meaning in the context of the story’s attempt to expose the dangerous nature of Western imposition on political and cultural practices in other countries. I hand-drew and cut out an abundance of leaves, pasted them to a piece of paper, and cut a snake out to place on top of the leaves.
For Beloved, I created a visual representation of the chokecherry tree. Sethe, the book’s mother figure and main character, is said to have whipping scars that resemble a chokecherry tree on her back. I chose to make the color palette solely reds to invoke imagery of violence without being overtly graphic. The importance of Sethe’s scars becomes apparent throughout the book as her past actions have repercussions in her present life.
For The Scarlet Letter, I chose a little recognized descriptive moment in the text in which a shooting star creates the image of an “A” in the sky the night before Heather is meant to be put on trial. Since the imagery is realistically impossible, I went about creating the best image of that moment without sacrificing realistic integrity. I chose to feature a large white comet with stars completing the “A” form. I poked holes through the construction paper to allow light to leak through in the scanning process to create stars. This cover quickly became my favorite due to the subtlety of the imagery and the simplicity of the design.