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Friday, June 15, 2007

The Berlin Wall: US and UK versions

The US version is on top, the UK version is on the bottom.

A nice little glimpse into different approaches in art direction: words as wall, or wall as wall?

And while I know it makes sense historically, the photographs used in the US version strike me as a big odd, by which I mean about at least 16 years too odd. (Check out the subtitle.)


photosynthesize said...

i have to say i think the UK version looks far more elegant, but i often do think that. US versions always seem to have awkward typography in comparison to UK ones, often positioned in a box of some description, which i feel is unnecessary and breaks the visual flow of the cover.

Dan K said...

You're right about the photos. It should have been a shot of prosperous West Berlin on the left and sad East Berlin on the right, so that the wall of type can stand in for the actual Wall. I like that as an idea.

Ian B. Shimkoviak said...

These both work. Nothing interesting though. It would be the same thing a thousand designers would do to this cover. There is little left to the imagination. I guess the UK version has a more "conceptual" layout, but the US version still offers much to the imagination. The main thing here is the wall—and it is very literal on both versions. Perhaps that's the way it should be for the audience. My theory: Everything should be treated with a sense of mystery. Nothing is as mundane as it feels to us. Books are alway meant to make things less jaded then they really appear. That's what books are for to me. Not to paint fantasy, but to make our reality more real...

that's how I feel right now though. Friday, at my studio, 2:39pm, west coast.

Anonymous said...

The British cover is not nearly as smart as the American cover.
I disagree with dan K.,the photos are perfect.
"The Wall" divides time along with geography.
The neurotic orderliness of the Nazi military juxtaposed brilliantly with the chaos after the war.
"The Wall" being one of the limitations imposed on Germany's power in post WWII by dividing it.

Martin said...

Not having read the book, I'm also puzzled by the pictures on the US cover. The one on the left is clearly a Nazi parade, as indicated by the swastika on the flag atop the building. Historicaly the Berlin wall and the Nazis are only linked indirectly. The picture on the right might very well be a period piece, since some east Berliners jumped out of their windows to get across the wall-under-construction while they still could. But it might as well be the evacuation of a burning house, so it lacks the iconic feeling that many images of the East/West-Berlin border carry, like the famous image of the border soldier making a run for it.
The US cover is somewhat confused and the vertical alignment of the title looks forced. The UK cover instead conveys the feeling of oppression that was so prominent in Eastern Germany.

Orhan Kahn said...

I like the top one alot!