Judging these contests is beginning to get more and more difficult as it progresses. For Lord of the Flies, there were a lot of really great entries, but I feel I was able to whittle them down and pick the best of the bunch. Of the almost 50 entries, I felt that Bryce Wilner’s version was the best.
Bryce’s cover has a mix of simplicity and depth that I think works well for a book like this. In his submission email he sent a description that made did a great job of explaining the meaning of the symbols:
I chose the spiral, an icon that has long been regarded as a symbol of creation and destruction, as the central motif for the cover. In this context, the spiral is most directly a reference to the conch shell, the device used to signify order and civilization in the novel. The spiral can also be seen as a reference to Piggy’s single lens (the eye through which all scientific observations are made as well as the source of the signal fire), the fall from the air (beast and airplane), and the boys’ descent into savagery.
The palm tree functions as an emblem of a life stranded in the bush and also denotes a sense of place. The colors were chosen to mimic the paint first used as a mask by Jack, and refer to those present on the highly acclaimed cover by Sam Weber (one which I’ve long since held as a benchmark of quality book cover illustration).
I think the use of this simple, bold shape was a great way to define so much symbolism. The conch, Piggy’s glasses, their lives spiraling out of control on the island. He put so much symbolism but I can honestly see everything he’s mentioned in there. I also enjoyed the single palm tree which was rendered in a very contemporary manner. His choice of fonts were also kept simple and straightforward, easy-to-read and not obtrusive in any way. A wonderful job Bryce!
That’s not all though, we still have 4 runners up to give copies of Sam Weber’s version of the book, thanks to Folio Society. I thought I’d add a bit of commentary about why I picked them but with some notes about what I thought could have been been improved. Nonetheless, all of these folks did an amazing job and were in contention to win.
Matthew’s entry was the very first entry that I received, and I remember looking at it and thinking, what the hell is this? But then I read his description and looked it over a bit more and I really liked what I saw. Now, my interpretation is different from his intent, but when I look at this cover I see a doodle done by a young kid. I remember my good friend Nick used to draw all kinds of weird stuff, and the drawing of the pig’s head on the stick reminds me of that. I think it sums up the rage tht the children feel, like maybe one of them could have drawn this years later.
What I wasn’t as fond of was the back cover, for a couple reasons. First are the streaks of blood, which were made using a brush or were cut and pasted. These kinds of details, presented in front of a designer, will always get noticed. The second is the text on top of the bloody, streaky puddle. The end of the line “Spill his blood!” seems a bit too close to the white space. If the streaks had gone down a bit further underneath “blood” and the exclamation point it would have felt better.
Our next runner-up is Braulio Amado, who provided this very dark adaptation of the cover. His entry is pretty straightforward, he found the perfect photo of sad, fat pig, added a halftone pattern over the top and BAM, perfect. When I first was looking at his cover though, I thought it may have been painted, so I guess I was a little bummed out when I realized it wasn’t. I could imagine Sam Weber or James Jean painting something like this. I really liked his use of the dotted line to signify the beheading of the pig, subtle but with great meaning. I also liked the fly used as a divider between the title and the author’s name, a nice use of that image.
But there was one part that really bothered me, and that’s the title, and the fact that the word “Lord” has been cut off at the top. I think it was unnecessary and it potentially reads as “Lurd of the Flies” to someone unfamiliar with the book. Clarity is key, especially on a book cover.
I loved this cover for being a bit… out there. Amongst all the entries I felt like this one really stood out from the pack. I think a part of it was her color choices, the red and yellow color combination are quite jarring and remind me of stop lights, stop and slow, stop and slow. I thought the extremely graphic depiction of the fly was nice as well, just some well laid out shapes and lines. I think she also deserves props for not Anglicizing her version and left the title in Spanish. This cover would certainly catch my eye in a bookstore.
When I saw Kevin Osorio’s cover I was definitely captivated right away. There’s this big, giant pig/boar face staring at you, blood dripping from it’s snout. It’s a striking image and I love all the small details he put into it, like the bits of hairs around the snot and slight splatters of blood.
I wasn’t sure though if this was a proper image to sum up the book. The graphics feel a bit cartoon-ish, which doesn’t really fit the tone of the book, in my opinion. But I find the idea extremely clever and well done.
A huge thanks to everyone who participated in the contest, I hope you had fun creating, and congrats to the winners. I’ll be announcing the next Re-Covered Books title next Monday, so get your pencils/mouses/paintbrushes ready.