cover evolution

On Sunday, Angel sent me a draft of The FURR Itty-Bitty “How To Cat” Book. The first page said something like ‘Cover. Maybe we can use both the FURR and Parisian Phoenix logos’. The problem is that the styles clash, even though they are both very stylized. The colors are right on point. Hot pink and orange are very trendy right now.

Clash of the kitties—the styles of the two logos do not work together. The colors, however, do.

This book is non-fiction, mostly. It’s a how-to book so I wanted it to look more textbook and less novel. But I also wanted it to be fun.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, a colleague sent me a link to an article on John Updike and how he designed the covers of the first editions of his books. They were all about pattern. It got me doodling receptive patterns. I was back in the 60s again.

When I received Angel’s email those patterns became cats. After thinking about it for two days, I decided I’d make a pattern from the cat in the logo. That presents a few problems.

Can that cat even be used as art? And realistically how much can you play with someone’s logo before you cross the line and people start yelling? As it stands now just using the orange cat on a black background would look like a Halloween ad. To me anyway. And I really wanted to show the diversity of the cats they help somehow.

I went through about nine variations of my idea over about four hours. (Did this cover have nine lives?) I tried big cats and tiny cats. I tried patterned cats. I tried huge type on the cat background in both black and white. I tried having the background white. I finally got the cat pattern right and then I started playing with the type. I found a typeface that feels like the logo, and I might actually use it inside the book.

Each of these covers trim at the colored edges. There is no black border.

How did I arrive at the 80s type treatment? I have no idea. This title has a lot of words. I’m still not happy with the “the”. It’s better there than standing alone, but something is still off. I like the paw print counter on the right version. It adds a little something to the text without sacrificing readability.

But I was excited about this cover when I sent it to Angel.

Now that I’m looking at the first two I’m getting gaming vibes. Tetris, maybe. Or all those silly candy matching games that they advertise ad nauseam online. The third one looks like checkers. Is it back to the drawing board? I’m not sure. Probably. Maybe. Will FURR flip-out that I played with their logo? I have no idea. I think this cover is fun. It certainly isn’t fuddy-duddy.

Published by gfhendricks

Designer, educator, seeker of hidden typography

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