Book Cover Graphic Design for the Novel Atonement by Jenny Hiley

Book Cover Graphic Design for the Novel Atonement by Jenny Hiley

Brief: Redesign the book cover for the novel Atonement by Ian McEwan. The publisher, Penguin Random House requested a more up-to-date yet thoughtful execution, which appealed to the modern reader and current trends in book cover design.

Research: The story: The story describes the life-changing consequences of the misguided actions of Briony, the story’s protagonist. The focus of the novel is on Briony, who spends her life trying to atone for her behaviour.

Book cover designs: Inspiration was taken from current book designs which used a bold typographic approach and the use of a hero image.

Definitions: Exploring the multiple definitions of atonement. Purification, cleansing and washing are rituals that have been used by many cultures to symbolise atoning for wrongdoing.

Techniques: letter cutting and stamping techniques in various mediums were trialled including stone, soap and wood. Both methods were trialled to see which would be the most legible, clean and forgiving in the soft surface of the soap.

Insight: The purification and cleansing rituals used to symbolise atoning for wrongdoing will be communicated visually.

Solution: The design centres on objects used for washing and purification. The final design conveys the research, insights and visual keywords of simplicity, purity and sorrow.

The design went through various iterations, which included testing different views, close ups of the objects, with and without soap suds. The challenge was to photograph the image before the soap suds dissolved! I learnt how to work quickly and adapt the design as I went along.

A makeshift photographic studio was set up to test and refine the lighting and clarity of the images. As the photographs were taken in muted light and colours some subtle post-production image treatments were required to ensure contrast and legibility.

The phrase ‘forgive me’ was added to the soap using letterpress stamps. This could be a brand name or a personal message from the story’s protagonist.

Given the gravity of the message, the book’s title – Atonement – features prominently. The primary typography is set in an off-white sans-serif Presicav, a simplistic and contemporary choice.

CREDIT

  • Agency/Creative: Jenny Hiley
  • Article Title: Book Cover Graphic Design for the Novel Atonement by Jenny Hiley
  • Organisation/Entity: Student
  • Project Type: Graphic
  • Project Status: Non Published
  • Agency/Creative Country: United Kingdom
  • Agency/Creative City: Birmingham
  • Market Region: Global
  • Project Deliverables: Graphic Design, Photography
  • Industry: Education
  • Keywords: WBDS Awards Nominee , student,

  • Credits:
    Educational Institution Name: Shillington College - Graphic Design
    Educator's Name: Dahlia Ishak

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