— In The Woods

As mentioned elsewhere in this blog, The English Group is currently focused towards creating bespoke typefaces for a book design that we’re working on (on the theme of the four elements – earth, air, fire and water) and so this book cover design is interesting with regards to that project.


Jennifer Wang, the book cover designer’s explanation of her design process is equally fascinating:“Most of the comps I designed for “In the Woods” kept in mind that the book would be the beginning of a possible series. This idea was something I had initially sketched out with a bit of uncertainty as to its effectiveness. But my art director, Paul Buckley, liked where my idea was going and encouraged me to carry it out or to hire an illustrator if I thought one could do it better. I did hire an illustrator to sketch something out, but I kept working on it, pushing the idea as far as it could go.


The original drawing was done on tracing paper with a regular mechanical pencil, at about tabloid size. I had set the type how I wanted it beforehand, and used the letterforms as a foundation to trace over. It was done primarily as a freehand pencil drawing which was then redrawn with a pen, scanned that into the computer, and colored in Photoshop. It was time consuming and tedious to do with a mouse, and my skills with Photoshop were rudimentary at that point. However, the project taught me a lot about the program and got me more comfortable with using it. By the time I was adapting the cover for the paperback edition, I created a much cleaner and more flexible file, which, to me, is a very important element of the design process.


When it was ready to go into production, I chose the subtle metallic green for the main coloring of the branches because I felt that it was not overly literal, and was a bit strange and unlikely. For the paperback, the color of the branches changed to a brighter green, which I thought was better suited to the format.


When I look at a cover, I want it to tell me what the book is about. I want it to connote the essential nature of the book, in tone, atmosphere, or voice. Whether that is done figuratively or from literally taking a key scene from the book for the cover, depends on the book (and what your editor wants.)


The story of “In the Woods” is very heavily atmospheric, and with a strong narrative voice guiding the story. A lot goes on in the book– both through the narrator’s internal thoughts and struggles, and in the action– that taking the simple, graphic approach seemed the best way to go. I wanted the cover to reflect the atmosphere created by the descriptive, flowing narration, which hinted at mystery, darkness just below the surface”.


Via: Faceout Books

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