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Monday, November 12, 2007

Arsenals of Folly

Arsenals of Folly designed by David Heasty; The Horrid Pit designed by Jonathan Sainsbury

Arsenals of Folly
picks up where The Horrid Pit (which we looked at a while ago) left off: let the photograph do its work, and recognize when less is more. There's tension in the cover of Arsenals of Folly: just how long *does* it take a mushroom cloud to form?


And for the sake of comparison:

14 comments:

jasfitz said...

I had reservations about The Horrid Pit when first you posted it, and now i am delighted to find Arsenals of Folly doing what I had wished the former had done. Instead of aftermath, we are instantly involved in the tension of the action about to happen. The typography does what it needs to without getting the way. Great cover.

Anonymous said...

Horrid Pit is crap design. The subtitle is so close to the trim! Arsenals takes that theme and makes it look more professional.

JRG said...

I agree that the type on "The Horrid Pit" is far to close to the trim, however, I feel that the color and type selection are more interesting. The image for "Arsenals of Folly" doesn't have any blacks (it's a fairly flat image) and the type has no emotion to it. I find much more depth and interest in "The Horrid Pit".

Ian Shimkoviak said...

Not sure what you are getting at Joseph, but I like both of these. The blunt reliance on war photographs on covers for books on the topic don't do much for me and is a direct tie-in to marketing rather than the fact that these topics can be illustrated in oh-so-many different, more compelling ways...

"oh, we're doing a book on some war—lets use an image from the war..."

I dunno, maybe it's the only way to go.

Joseph said...

Sorry, poorly phrased on my part. What I mean is that I love the restraint both designers show in not feeling compelled to fill the sky with type.

Anonymous said...

Joseph,

I love this site but find it a bit tedious making a comment - too many steps. Any way we could leave comments on same page as the cover appears?

Joseph said...

Yes, the comment system is less than ideal. A redesign in 2008 might be in order.

Readymade said...

Don't know if the book covers this, but knowing the history of the photograph on the cover of "Arsenals of Folly" helps.

In the 1950s, the US Army ordered troops to observe above-ground nuclear detonations at various distances, then conduct exercises at or near the blast site right after detonation.

This explains the troops in the photo.

You can probably imagine what happened to all of them in the next decade or so.

You can find this photo and more like it in Michael Light's "100 Suns".

bec said...

Wow, amazing how similar the two are! I hate the saturation of the red and the typography on The Horrid Pit though.

Jonathan Sainsbury said...

Ya know, this is funny. I first saw the ARSENALS cover when walking through the Knopf editorial dept. I thought, "hey, that's kind of like HORRID PIT."

I designed HP. Crap or not, I was amazed it was printed, especially without a blurb. And for what it's worth, the subtitle does not reach the trim on the jacket. Must've been cut short for online accounts.

Joseph said...

Jonathan, thanks for commenting. For all I know, I cropped the JPG and the resulting tightness is my fault. If so, my bad. If it really bothers anyone, go to the bookstore and see it for yourself, or better yet, buy the book and support the author.

Joseph said...

And by extension the designer.

Jeff Bianco said...

Mr. Sainsbury,

I am only seeing the two covers here on my screen for the first time. I would pick up the Horrid Pit on the theory of "good design probably equals good book"

At least as far as a web image your design is much more effective. I like the coloring; I like the typography and tying the type layout into the focus of the photograph. I also like the fact that on this image the subtitle fills the width of the photo image area.


Keep up the good work

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