Penguin Book Cover: ‘Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4

We were briefed for our first project for 2017 !

Свързано изображение

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

Резултат с изображение за diary from 1980

Резултат с изображение за child diary old handwritingРезултат с изображение за handwriting of a 13 year old

basquiat untitled 1981 - Google Search:
that’s actually a page from Jean Michael Basquiat’s notebook



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