Category Re-Covered Books

Re-Covered Books: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Re-Covered Books: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

When I watched the first Harry Potter film I thought it was good, but childish. It seemed like there was a great deal of potential, but it wasn’t quite realized. Years, when I was around 26, the fellow I was dating suggested I read the books, explaining that the first two were crap but the third and beyond were fantastic. As it turned out, he was right, and I’ve read the entire Harry Potter series multiple times. There have even been tears involved while reading them. To say the series is a favorite of mine would be an understatement. I think it’s a modern day tale of overcoming the odds with the help of those you love.

I thought it would be fun to come up with a cover for the first Harry Potter novel, The Sorcerer’s Stone, as it’s the logical entry point. Your job is to create a cover that defines what Harry Potter is. You should forget about everything you’ve seen, on the book covers and on the big screen, and depict Harry and his friends as you imagine them. Be creative, have fun and let your style be the guiding force on this redesign.

The winner of this month’s contest wins $100 to Amazon and maybe more if I can dig something fun up.

RULES

• Please save your images as JPGs at 800px wide at 72 DPI/RGB mode, this is super important! There are no height restrictions (within reason). Feel free to play with the dimensions and have fun with what you make. Submitting a front and back cover will certainly help your chances, but is not required.

• Label your files “Firstname-Lastname-Harry-Potter.jpg”

• Send all entries to contest@thefoxisblack.com with the subject “Re-Covered Books: Harry Potter“. Cut and paste what I wrote there, it’s super easy and it helps me keep track of your entry.

• All entries are due Saturday, April 28, 2012 by Midnight PST.

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Re-Covered Books: The Wonderful Wizard of OZ – The runners-up

I’ve had quite a few readers ask if I’d give some commentary on the Re-Covered Book: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz entries submissions which I thought were good, but didn’t end up winning. I thought it would be nice to give some pointers on what I really liked about these entries and some thoughts on what I think they could have done better. Think of it as an online crit.

Re-Covered Books: The Wonderful Wizard of OZ - The runners-up

This design was an early front runner to win the competition. When I first saw his design I was shocked that he was able to cut out all of these elements from money and put it all together into a cover. The amount of time and effort it must have taken is pretty mind-blowing. Visually, I think this is the most complex entry.

The reason why I didn’t choose this entry though is because the story isn’t about money. There are allusions to money in the story (that her silver slippers was about the price of silver and that when you watch The Dark Side of Oz the song Money starts playing when she opens the door to Oz) but that’s not what the book is about.

I also have some issues with the blurriness of some of the objects. For a piece so detailed the bottom part of the image feels like it was stretched a bit too much. There’s also a weird drop shadow on some elements and the light is coming from below, which is kind of visually odd when the rest of the elements are totally flat.

Re-Covered Books: The Wonderful Wizard of OZ - The runners-up

Next up is this entry from April Scarduzio, which in my mind is the version you’d see being sold at Anthropology. I love the image, I love the hand-written text, and the colors are beautiful. I think the image of the woman, face hidden from view, is a really nice touch. I think this allows the reader to insert herself into the book. My problem comes in because of the outfit and wrist accessories which are too contemporary and don’t fit the book at all.

Now, I’m guessing she didn’t take this photo, and she didn’t have some huge budget to work with either, so I don’t fault her. I think you’d need a real photographer to pull something like this off correctly, but I think April’s concept is super strong.

Re-Covered Books: The Wonderful Wizard of OZ - The runners-up

Lastly is this cover from design duo Ben Wallis & Mike McVicar. What I loved about their piece was the amazing image. The idea of her life being turned upside down is a fantastic visual metaphor. The image is powerful and epic looking, it shows you that crazy things happen in this book. I also think the colors in the image are spot on and are really pretty.

Where I think this cover design goes wrong is the typography. All of the emphasis is placed on the word “Wonderful” rather than the “Wizard of Oz.” If the emphasis had been switched, I think the cover would have been a lot more effective.

I hope the folks I’ve critiqued here don’t take offense to any of the things I’ve outlined. These are simply my opinions, and opinions are like assholes, everyone’s got one. Hopefully some of you get some insight into the things I look for in a good piece of design and that this helps you some. I’ll try to continue doing these with each subsequent cover contest if you find them helpful or insightful.

Paul Bartlett, The winner of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Re-Covered Books contest

Paul Bartlett's Wizard Of Oz Entry

With each subsequent Re-Covered Books contest, I feel like the entries keep getting better and better. With The Wonderful Wizard of Oz contest, we had a batch of entries that felt really fresh and contemporary, which made for a tough decision on my part. After some consideration though, I decided that Paul Bartlett was the winner of the contest.

More than any other entries, I thought his cover captured the wonder of the book as well as the cultural idea we have about Wizard of Oz. When I opened his entry, I kind of gasped as I was amazed he was able to sync these images up so perfectly. It’s also important to note that the image of the cat eyes, paired with the young girls slightly opened mouth is a perfect combination. The effect is that she’s a wide-eyed young girl who’s experiencing a fantastic new world.

Paul Bartlett's Wizard Of Oz Entry

I’m also glad that he took the time to pay attention to the piece’s typography. A lot of the entries I received faltered because the type wasn’t considered or wasn’t quite up to snuff. Paul was really smart about making the text fit into the spaces between his images. I also like that he dropped in the serif, italic font for ‘the’ and of’, giving more space to the words that really mattered. The quote on the back from L. Frank Baum, which I can’t really read, is a nice touch, as is his signature.

Great work, Paul. I think you killed it.

Paul Bartlett's Wizard Of Oz Entry

Some of you asked for me to review some of the runner-up entries, so I’ll be posting about that tomorrow. There were a lot of really great entries that I think should certainly be noted.

Re-Covered Books: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Re-Covered Books: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

All the way back in 1900, a 44 year old L. Frank Baum released a book titled The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which has now become one of the most well known.. movies. Most of us now know the Judy Garland film of nearly the same name, The Wizard of Oz, which isn’t quite so much like the original book. I think that’s what makes this a good contest, because you need to know about the real book, not the movie, in order to win. Easy enough though, you can read the full book by clicking here.

So here’s your objective. Make a contemporary version of a modern day classic. Don’t make a cover to the movie, make it a cover to the book. But make sure it feels fresh and new. I’d suggest looking at the work of Neil Kellerhouse, who is leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else when it comes to contemporary design. Make it fresh, make it new, and make it amazing.

This time around you’ve got a pretty sweet prize. This time around we’re giving away an Apple TV (which is American, not sure if it matters), so you really need to throw some blood, sweat and tears into this one. Sound like a plan? Here are the rules.

RULES

• Please save your images as JPGs no larger than 800px wide at 72 DPI/RGB mode, there’s no height restrictions (within reason). Feel free to play with the dimensions and have fun with what you make. Making a front and back cover with certainly help your chances, but is not required.

• Label your files “Firstname-Lastname-Wizard-of-Oz.jpg”

• Send all entries to contest@thefoxisblack.com with the subject “Re-Covered Books: Wizard of Oz“. Cut and paste what I wrote there, it’s super easy and it helps me keep track of your entry.

• All entries are due Saturday, February 11, 2012 by Midnight, PST.

If there are any other questions feel free to leave them in the comments. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with and be sure to tell your friends/classmates/pets to participate. Good luck and have fun!

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Christopher Porter wins the Romeo and Juliet Re-Covered Books contest

Christopher Porter's cover for Romeo and Juliet

Christopher Porter's cover for Romeo and Juliet

Christopher Porter's cover for Romeo and Juliet

After a slew of beautiful entries, I’ve chosen my winner for the Romeo and Juliet Re-Covered Books contest – Christopher Porter. Chris is a designer from Falmouth, Cornwall who wanted to create something contemporary:

I’ve tried to go with a direction that would appeal to younger generations, the Irvine Welsh generation, the sort of people who are more than likely to judge a book by it’s cover.

I think he’s done exactly that. I like his cover for a few reasons – typography, color palette and choice of image. As with a lot of entries, typography, or the lack there of, tends to be a major problem. Chris uses only two typefaces, both of which are appropriately used. The script used for William Shakespeare is so damn beautiful and gives his name such life, it’s a perfect application.

As for the imagery, I love this old photo he found of a dead couple. What I find most interesting is that they aren’t perfect of beautiful, they’re real people. They might not be the correct age, but I think that’s ok. I’m sure we’ve all felt that yearning for true love at many stages in our lives, and this reflects that in some ways. I also love the addition of “Love Is Toxic”, which makes me think of Britney Spears, and I’m guessing others would as well. Overall this one felt the strongest, especially because he created a whole package to show the full idea. Well done Christopher!

Check back in the new year for our next contest, and if you have any suggestions for books you’d like to see, please put them in the comments.

Bobby

Re-Covered Books: Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Re-Covered Books: Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

This month we wanted to do something a little more open, and a little more special. To make things more open we decided that we’d tackle Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare’s classic tale. I’m fairly certain that most people on the planet are familiar with the story of a pair of star crossed lovers separated by their families disdain for each other. The story has been covered, parodied and rethought countless times, so now it’s your turn to rethink the cover for the book.

As far as I can tell, the cover has never really been done well. Take a look at these results from Amazon and you’ll see what I mean, scary stuff. So here’s your challenge. Create a cover for the book that feels new and exciting, that would grab people’s attention and make them want to buy the book. Here’s the catch though, you only have two weeks to complete the contest.

Here’s where the special part comes in. As per our usual $100 Amazon gift card, you’ll also get the super rad Nooka Zub Zen-V in black. Since the holidays are coming up soon I thought providing a little something extra might be rad, either an early present for yourself or someone you love.

The Nooka Zub Zen-V

RULES

• Please save your images as JPGs no larger than 800px wide at 72 DPI/RGB mode, there’s no height restrictions (within reason). Feel free to play with the dimensions and have fun with what you make. Making a front and back cover with certainly help your chances, but is not required.

• Label your files “Firstname-Lastname-Romeo-Juliet-Cover.jpg”

• Send all entries to contest@thefoxisblack.com with the subject “Re-Covered Books: Romeo and Juliet“. Cut and paste what I wrote there, it’s super easy and it helps me keep track of your entry.

• All entries are due Monday, December 12, 2011 by Midnight, PST.

If there are any other questions feel free to leave them in the comments. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with and be sure to tell your friends/classmates/pets to participate. Good luck and have fun!

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Jennifer Talesfore, winner of the Dracula Re-Covered Books Contest

Jennifer Talesfore, winner of the Dracula Re-Covered Books Contest

Choosing a winner for the Re-Covered Books contest becomes more difficult every time as the talent level continues to rise. Our last redesign contest was for the classic novel Dracula, where I asked potential creators to make something that steered away from the typical cliches, that felt like a new addition to the mythology of Count Dracula.

As I said, there were a ton of great entrants, but the one I was most mesmerized by was the entry above by Jennifer Talesfore. What I love about her design is how stark and graphic it is. She used a theme that was common amongst several of the designs, inverting the A’s in Dracula to represent fangs. Where I think her design differs and veers into brilliant is her treatment of the title. I see it two ways, the first being a hapless victim stuttering the name of Dracula, and the second being the way that Bela Lugosi may have intoned the word Dracula, sounding out certain parts longer than others. It’s funny that it also reads so well, despite looking so nonsensical.

She also did a nice job of presenting a cohesive thought, uniting the front, back and spine nicely. The book is told through a series of anecdotes from different characters, so the quote on the back is quite a nice touch.

Overall her entry feels like the complete package, and for that she deserves to be the winner. A huge thanks to Jennifer for entering, she’ll be receiving a $100 gift card to Amazon. Check back on Wednesday for a special edition of Re-Covered Books and the chance to win something extra special.

Bobby

Re-Covered Books: Dracula by Bram Stoker

Re-Covered Books: Dracula by Bram Stoker

Re-Covered Books: Dracula by Bram Stoker

Re-Covered Books: Dracula by Bram Stoker

Re-Covered Books: Dracula by Bram Stoker

I’m a little late in the month for this, but I couldn’t resist doing a themed Re-Covered Book contest for Halloween. So this time around we’re tackling Dracula by Bram Stoker, a classic novel who’s reach has influenced pop culture in so many ways and defined what a modern day vampire was. The book was written back in 1897, and as Wikipedia says, “touches on themes such as the role of women in Victorian culture, sexual conventions, immigration, colonialism, and postcolonialism.” I think this is a great way to look at the book, these themes not necessarily coming across from a pale guy with fangs and a cape.

Your job is to make a super rad cover the portrays those themes without resting upon Hollywood cliches. Perhaps your cover is gruesome? Or maybe you say fuck it all and make the funniest cover ever? It’s up to you, but be sure to steer clear of pre-existing imagery like Bela Lugosi and the such.

The prize for winning, as always, is $100 to Amazon.

RULES

• Please save your images as JPGs no larger than 800px wide at 72 DPI/RGB mode, there’s no height restrictions (within reason). Feel free to play with the dimensions and have fun with what you make. Making a front and back cover with certainly help your chances, but is not required.

• Label your files “Firstname-Lastname-Dracula.jpg”

• Send all entries to contest@thefoxisblack.com with the subject “Re-Covered Books: Dracula“. Cut and paste what I wrote there, it’s super easy and it helps me keep track of your entry.

• All entries are due Saturday, November 12, 2011 by Midnight, PST.

If there are any other questions feel free to leave them in the comments. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with and be sure to tell your friends/classmates/pets to participate. Good luck and have fun!

See the entries below.

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Cory Bujnowicz, the winner of The Outsiders Re-Covered Books Contest

Cory Bujnowicz, the winner of The Outsiders Re-Covered Books Contest

The contest to redesign The Outsider proved to be difficult, or at least that’s how it seemed. The task was a bit difficult, not using any sort of typical imagery that you associate with The Outsiders, i.e. a bunch of guys standing around in leather jackets smoking. Using that kind of imagery seemed too easy to me, so I wanted to see something that was a bit outside the box, something that required some creative thinking while still staying true to the feeling of the book.

Of all the entries, I felt that Cory Bujnowicz’s entru was the best. As Kyle put it so well, it almost feels like something Barbara Kruger would make, completely basic in typography but strong in visual elements. As Cory put in his email, “What punk didn’t paint their nails when they were younger?” The colors are also really interesting to me because they’re so, for a lack of a better term, fucked. Putrid greens mixed fluo pink and baby pink text. It’s feels “edgy” but without trying too hard. It really just brings me into the piece and makes me want to stare at it, to try and figure it out.

Congrats Cory, you did an amazing job, I’ll be sending you $100 to Amazon shortly. Check back next Monday when I announce the next Re-Covered Books contest.

Bobby

Re-Covered Books: The Outsiders

Re-Covered Books: The Outsiders

Re-Covered Books: The Outsiders

Re-Covered Books: The Outsiders

Re-Covered Books: The Outsiders

I’m really trying to keep the creativity rolling on the Re-Covered Books contest, and I feel totally pumped by all of the amazing entries from the Jane Eyre competition. This time around we’re taking a different approach, moving away from the Victorian era and into coming-of-age momennt in the 1960s. I’m talking about S. E. Hinton’s The Outsiders.

Amazingly, the book was written by Hinton while she was 15, then published when she was only 16. If you’re not familiar the book is about two rival gangs of kids, the Greasers and the Socs, who hate each other for their differences. If you’d like to read more about the book, you can always check out the Wikipedia page. When you look above, you can see the book covers I was able to dig up, and the generally miserable designs they all have. The problem I have is they’re all cliches, and cliches don’t sell books. So here’s what you should do to win this contest.

I want to test your creative limits, so first I’m going to tell you what no to do. I don’t want to see any images of dudes in leather jackets, silhouettes of bros, or a bunch of tough looking guys hanging out, acting… tough. I want you to figure out a creative way of showing that these kids are Outsiders, that they don’t fit in and they’re treated differently because of it. To give you a great example of what I mean, check out the cover that Mikey Burton did. That is design genius on so many levels.

The Outsiders Cover by Mikey Burton

The prize for winning, as always, is $100 to Amazon.

RULES

• Please save your images as JPGs no larger than 800px wide at 72 DPI/RGB mode, there’s no height restrictions (within reason). Feel free to play with the dimensions and have fun with what you make. Making a front and back cover with certainly help your chances, but is not required.

• Label your files “Firstname-Lastname-Outsiders.jpg”

• Send all entries to contest@thefoxisblack.com with the subject “Re-Covered Books: The Outsiders“. Cut and paste what I wrote there, it’s super easy and it helps me keep track of your entry.

• All entries are due Saturday, October 1st, 2011 by Midnight, PST.

If there are any other questions feel free to leave them in the comments. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with and be sure to tell your friends/classmates/pets to participate. Good luck and have fun!

See all the entries below.

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