For our Visual Studies class, we were given a brief to create a book sleeve design for a book called ‘The Gift of Dyslexia’ by Ronald D. Davis. I sat down and brainstormed ideas for the book sleeve, trying to stem visual interpretations from the meaning of the book title.
I looked at a couple of artists for my research to get inspiration from – Edward Ruscha and Dana Tanamachi. Both artists handled type and typography art in very unique and interesting ways. Edward Ruscha really demonstrated the possibilities of depth and dimension to letterforms, offering an intriguing perspective to how we see and interpret the meaning behind text. Dana Tanamachi is a more modern artist with a very energetic and fun illustrative style, carefully composing the layout of her words and playing with the decorative flow and nature of hand-written lettering. I really loved her style in particular and it reminded me of ribbon wrapping on gifts and presents, which connected to the idea of dyslexia being seen as a ‘gift’. That and coupled with Ruscha’s piece, ‘Self’ and ‘Optics’, I became rather attached to the idea of using either a handwritten or elaborate font to demonstrate the meaning behind the book’s title.
After I came up with the idea of an actual physical gift to use as wordplay, I thought about how it could be presented on the book sleeve. I considered the book being wrapped up like a present to give to the reader to give a positive impression on the book despite the general negative outlook on dyslexia. I also thought about perhaps having a photo of a wrapped up gift on the floor to present a scene to the viewer in an attempt to approach things a little more differently, but in the end I stuck with my original idea as I knew that it would be more doable for me to recreate in programs such as Photoshop and Illustrator. Plus, I think the intention behind the design was a lot more effective because it was showing the gift first-person to the reader, rather than in a more third-person perspective that the photograph would have, thus having less impact overall.
After thumbnail sketching my designs, I created my final design idea in my sketchbook. Then, I moved onto using Illustrator to finalise my design. Since I had a good grasp on the programs foundation skills, I applied them appropriately whilst applying type-fonts that I thought were the closest to my design sketch that I had beside me as reference. I knew it would be very difficult to exactly reproduce the ribbon-writing for ‘dyslexia’, especially in Illustrator – so I ended up substituting it with some handwritten font based around Dana Tanamachi’s work. It wasn’t as effective, and had I had more time I would have definitely gone into Photoshop to try and reproduce the ribbon-writing I originally had in mind.
I think that overall, I did quite sufficient research and preparation work, but I fell a bit weak on my final outcome. I didn’t save enough time to work on the end product, so I definitely think that next time I need to manage my time more realistically so that I can pace myself better. Although being immersed in research was really engaging for me, perhaps it was for too long in this case. Having said that, for what it was it still came out rather well! Some of the images I used were fells short on resolution a little, but generally I’m quite happy with how it turned out. I think adding the shadows to the design components in Illustrator really helped give dimension to the final piece.