To Kill A Mockingbird cover designing

I've been working on a cover design for the classic novel To Kill A Mockingbird, so I can enter it in a Penguin Books competition. Here's what I did, starting from the beginning.

This was one of my first designs, heavily inspired by Marimekko designer Aino-Maija Metsola's covers for a collection of Virginia Woolf books. I really rely on doing things abstractly, instead of depicting a scene or subject in a book, i think im trying to get the feeling of it across (however artsy-fartsy that sounds), because attempting to show a scene or characters in a book always seems to bring up more difficulties than necessary and also youre then encroaching on the readers imagination. I like a little bit the bottom half of this design but really it just wasn't happening.

We than had a visiting lecture from the most fabulous Jonny Hannah who showed us two favourite book covers, both by Alvin Lustig, pointing out that one design was made up of sequenced sections while the other design floated on a blank surface.

Alvin Lustig design using sections.

Alvin Lustig design using sections.

Another of his designs using floating images.

Another of his designs using floating images.

So I started working on it again using the idea of a series of sections or a collection of images, first sketching them out then work as I normally do but I still wasn't coming up with anything I would be happy with. Just when I was completely stuck I started looking at an album cover by Alfreda Benge for Robert Wyatt's Comicopera album. It used very abstract collages made roughly with torn edges and textures.

Alfreda Benge's collages for the Comicopera album.

Alfreda Benge's collages for the Comicopera album.

So I made a cover using rougher collage in sections with simple symbols and a very handmade quality. I wanted it to be a bit child like and playful as well as raw and scary. I found by taking photos of the design rather than scaning it in meant I could use the shadows that the collage pieces create to make the cover slightly 3d and dramatic. I still have some tidying up to do before the final deadline for the competition but you get the general idea here.

my (almost finished) design for the book.

my (almost finished) design for the book.