Here’s a cover that’s going unused for a 2014 project, the official details of which will drop a long while from now. I usually draw two or three covers for anything before settling on the final one. The publisher was (understandably) a little uneasy about how legible my lettering was, so we decided to put this in the bin and start work on a new one. I thought I’d post it over here as an excuse to write about some “process” stuff. Maybe this is super boring?
A friend pointed out to me that the past few covers I’ve designed (including this one, and some others which haven’t been posted yet) have become increasingly difficult to read. I sort of forget that my impulses as a designer don’t always intersect with the needs of a publisher, retailer, etc, who are the ones who actually have to sell my junk. My design sense was shaped largely by gig posters and record covers, where the point wasn’t really about accessibility, but drawing specific people in - and to a certain degree, keeping lames out.
In fact, I’m usually concerned my covers are overly conservative (in both type and layout) compared to the designs that influenced me the most in high school and college. That was an anxiety I had about the cover above, right after finishing it, but before e-mailing it off. Legibility aside, I made some really sissy choices in terms of layout and colour. But I’m a fairly conservative cartoonist anyway, so maybe that’s appropriate. I make similarly sissy choices in my actual comics.
It probably wasn’t until a year or two ago where I felt confident enough in my lettering to push it to be as unreadable as I felt like - to just take pleasure in drawing the letterforms themselves.
Bonus fact: This title was stolen from an Andy Milligan movie.
Part one of a five billion-part series on my anxieties as a “designer”
The great Michael Deforge on type, legibility, art and its various uses beyond “art.”