Penguin Brief: To design a Penguin book cover for the 1939 Raymond Chandler book, 'The Big Sleep'. Design a new cover for a new generation of readers, avoiding the obvious clichés.
Please read my rationale below to find out more about my project.
Rationale: For my book cover design, I decided to take a slightly abstract approach. Looking at the theme of ‘orchids’ in the book, I came across this interesting quote about them: “Nasty things! Their flesh is too much like the flesh of men, and their perfume has the rotten sweetness of corruption.” I decided to take the idea of ‘corruption’ and tried to combine this with the uniqueness of an orchid. I therefore came up with the idea of using coffins as the petals, to represent corruption and death. These create a spiralling pattern to show that the situation in the story is spiralling out of control.
For the colours I decided to use green, as this has historically been used to represent Penguin ‘crime’ genre books, and a contrasting colour, red, for the orchid. The red represents danger and love, both of which are themes in the book. I have used the title of the book to create the stem and feel that this unusual text placement would attract the viewer’s attention. The blurb on the back follows the style of this elegant line and helps to create a sense of mystery and uneasiness.
If produced and if viable, my idea would be to create a stained glass effect by cutting out the orchid petals (coffins) and placing behind it, the printed design on acetate. I have explored this and when light shines through it, it is similar to stained glass (something which also features in the story).