Friday, March 27, 2009

Feed the Hungry

Jacket for Simon & Schuster. From Amazon: This rambling memoir takes readers from a Virginia plantation to punk-era New York City, with stops in the Bahamas, Brazil, Japan and other alluring destinations.

For the first round of comps, I had the words "lush," "beautiful," and "exotic" in mind. I tried to balance these concepts with the writer's upbringing in Virginia. The first concept uses a recipe card to hold the type:

For this concept, I took silhouettes of various elements from the book and filled them with color (actually a photo beneath, moved around between the objects).

A more traditional approach, beautiful and literary in feel:

Much bolder, touches on the exotic elements in the writing:

I was then asked to work with photos of the author as a young girl and her father. I adapted the recipe card and also brought in some small ornaments to hint at the author's travels:

In the end, they went for a much simpler adaptation:

It has occurred to me after Jonathan's comment that there is some disconnect between the photo on the final cover and the title. This cover went through many revisions (more than what I'm showing) and basically kept getting "simplified." The overall tone of the book shifted too. The final cover doesn't give you any sense of "food" and instead looks like a memoir (with a slightly sad sensibility to it paired with the title). Only the subtitle gives an indication of the author's connection to food...


Jonathan said...

Nice designs as always.

I wonder about this direction with this title. I'm too often irritated by NYC panhandlers asking for food and money. The final design has the same effect on me.

Ok. I've got issues.

Mark Brown said...


Obviously, your job is to please the publisher and get at what they want in the most artful way possible - but do they ever make selections that you don't agree with?

I get that they wanted something more melancholy and memoir-ish (whatever that means), but I thought the track you were on earlier was much more engaging and interesting to look at. Maybe that's just me.

Kimberly Glyder said...

Hi Mark,

I do disagree a lot of the reason to show the process here on this blog.

Sometimes marketing, editor, publisher, etc. feel that the tone of the cover isn’t targeting the right market. I think like a lot of covers, the direction shifted during the cover design process. Feed the Hungry is an example of a disappointing final cover for me from a creative standpoint. It's tough when the cover you like, that you invest yourself in, is not chosen, but it's also part of being a book cover designer. I’m not sure what the sales were like so I don’t know if the cover we ended up with benefited the book or not.

Mark Brown said...

I'm not a "first-though, best-thought" kind of guy usually but I do think your first comp really hit it on the head. It has the history/memoir echoes in the top image and the color/vibrancy of making food now toward the bottom. And the recipe card idea is very smart. The powers that be were unwise to pass on that, I think.

Scott said...

to me this looks like a classic case of the client over complicating the project until the final product doesn't actually communicate anything to the audience.
The worst part is that the client is usually happy and now wants to approach every project in this manner, until the relationship with the designer gets too worthless and the client starts to look for a new agency, b/c they compare their covers to others and find them lacking.

Thanks for this blog it is great, and it's nice to see that I am not the only one who struggles with clients, and is sad to see his beautiful concepts crushed.

Courtney Baker said...

I'm really drawn to the covers that incorporate the little recipe folder--but I do still really like your final version. Sometimes it helps when an outsider points out that the final product looks really nice. :)

Chad W. said...

Beautiful covers, Kimberly. I'm fond of the silhouette version. It communicates the title well (at least correlates it to food preparation, etc.). It's an iconic type of cover that gives the book a lot of identity (recognizability). The final version is pretty, but I agree there is a disconnect that confuses me about the subject matter -- a memoir about someone I've never heard of is less interesting than a memoir about something specific (like food). You're a very graphical designer -- with lots of movement in your designs, strong and confident use of type, and use of shapes, objects, textures, and compartments within your designs (it's a shame the client didn't want you to play to these assets as much). At least this proves that you can design anything well. Too bad the decision is left up to other folks in times like these. Great work!!