We were briefed for our first project for 2017 !
We are taking part in the Penguin Random House design competition for the second time. Choosing between ‘In Cold Blood’ and ‘The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4’, we have to propose a cover design in 2 weeks time. I usually prefer to go for the most dramatic and heavy option possible, however I am currently in a bit of an emotionally fragile period, so I decided to stay away from murderer stories, that’s why I chose the light-hearted Secret Diary of Mister Mole. This year I am more determined to achieve a high quality result, last year I did not have the guts to actually submit my final outcome.
First things I noticed while reading:
- -”Just my luck”
- -constantly blames his mother ”she is not like the mothers on television”
- -mentions the police quite often, almost addicted to visiting the doctor
- -his spots are a massive problem
- -thinks he knows better, judges in a childish way
- -wants to be an adult, ‘Knows’ that he is an intellectual
- -interested in sophisticated words
- -inlove with Pandora the Box
- -‘dead’ good; ‘dead’ bad; ‘dead’ everything
Overall there are not too many deep meanings behind the book, and even if there are, the outcome should be easy to interpret; as it needs to be appealing to the generation of 13 year olds.
Initially, I thought about undertaking an illustrative approach to visualise some of the ideas presented in the narrative – kid, which acts as an adult; spots; the dog; love story. Thought that a vibrant illustration would be more appealing to the target audience, which is obviously mainly children.
However, after a while I realized that this would be what 99% of what other people would do, including what has been done in the previous covers.
Then I thought about the fact that the context of the book is actually a kid’s diary, why don’t I make it look like one. It is also not just a diary, but a Secret diary, so the cover could play around with the idea of the secret. Secrets make everything feel much more interesting after all.
Initial ideas had to do with inventing a secret language and writing the author and title in it, with a ‘how to translate guide’ included. However, that would be too time consuming for the reader. Then in a tutorial with Ian we discussed other options, such as including a tactile element such as a piece of paper which could be moved around, almost game-like, and through the interaction one could reveal what the title and author are. Personally I think that this has a lot of potential, furthermore it would be very interesting and engaging for kids to interact with – they like to play.
The main idea that I currently have is to make the book cover feel like it is the real diary of Adrian Mole – customised, hand-drawn, covered in stickers and doodles. The hand-writing is key, as it is intimate and personal; it would make the outcome feel like it has actually been touched by Adrian Mole. The tactile element I see in my mind as dummy, naïve, lubberly done. The book is set in 1980s; so I will concentrate my further research on what notebooks looked like back then; including stickers; visual style.
Here’s some visual handwriting inspiration that I gathered; could be thought of as a mood board. Kids are so much fun