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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Thirty Ways of Looking at Hillary

Designer name to come (not yet published)

I think it's time for the BDR's first "What Would You Have Done?" post of 2008.

First things first, though: this is a welcome change from the vast majority of books by or about the presidential candidates, many of which look far too similar to my 5th grade Bicentennial-riffic school photo (American flags in the background, stack of books in my left hand like I'm a 5-foot-tall Statue of Liberty with a crew cut.)

That said, I'm left a bit wanting, especially after reading the description on the Harper Collins site: "This pointillistic portrait paints a composite picture of Hillary Clinton, focusing on details from the personal to the political, from the hard-hitting to the whimsical, to give a well-balanced and unbiased view of the woman who may be our first Madam President."


To me, "well-balanced" means divergent (and smart and responsibly-argued) thoughts, and I'm not sure the repetition of the photograph with the variation of color goes far enough to represent the different essays and ideas included in the book. But I also think introducing different photos -- unless they're selected *very* carefully -- might increase the visual noise to an unacceptable level.

Without going too far away from the original concept, what would you do with this cover?

Buy this book from Amazon.com

13 comments:

kate said...

How hard is it to create those mosaic pictures made of of hundreds of tiny pictures (i.e. lots of pics of her)?

And would that level of detail come out on a cover?

I don't know - I'm not a designer (just interested in design), and that might be a bit of a cliche (and, OK, it's not 'thirty ways').. but it popped into my head when I read that description - something about the 'pointillistic'.

the7000club said...

i may have done a single photograph; maybe a portrait taken from her backside (ie an angle not often seen, or not easily associable with hillary clinton).

anyway, the cropping is god-awful, and if i had been asked to design a piece so obviously inspired by warhol, i'd have done a better job at it.

kfinkler said...

The 'Warhol' concept could have been pushed further - higher contrast, screen printing perhaps. The use of ultra-thin Futura and black made me think 'deceased starlet'. But then, the title, subtitle, and publisher's statement are tepid, so maybe the design is fitting after all.

theotherwayne said...

Reversing some images may have helped create a more interesting cover.

Not that our hero flip-flops or anything. The sameness is uninspiring.

Ian Shimkoviak said...

Looks like a poster by Andy Warhol for a Hillary exhibit.

It's fun to look at. I agree that it fails to illustrate much but it grabs you nonetheless.

If you're gonna copy an artists style, I'd have explored Hockney-styled photo collages of one main image...

It's easy to say that though after we see this, but I have to say this is quite a challenging cover to be presented with. On that level this is at least nice and acceptable and by no means ugleeeee.

Ian Shimkoviak said...

Oh, and Kate. That whole mosaic thing has been so done so much, but I am sure it must have crossed the mind of the designer...

JRSM said...

The Warhol screen-prints in different colours has been way over-used, me thinks, and this doesn't even quite manage to emulate that properly (ie what kfinkler said). I think this might have been more arresting if one or two of the Hillarys had been flipped.

EJK said...

How about thirty different illustrative interpretations of her portrait? Or would that many styles still be too busy?

Stephen D. Rogers said...

Not a designer, but I would have "built" a single image of her from pieces of several different pictures. Unless it came out looking grotesque. :)

Tom Froese said...

Ideation for this cover:

1. Use 30 little "icons" that depict thirty different ways of looking at things (i.e. binoculars, microscope, magnifying glass, television screen, peephole, etc.) as metaphors.

2. An image of Hillary's face folded into a thirty-sided rhombic triacontahedron (30-sided polyhedron) (so her face is multifaceted).

3. 30 binoculars aimed toward an image of Hillary (each representative of 30 literal points of view).

Jane said...

I like the idea of 30 illustrative portraits. I was thinking the same portrait drawn/painted simply, 30 times. The natural variations in each one might be just enough for visual interest, without getting busy.

Mark said...

+1 Warhol knock offs are far too over used. Come on its been 40 years... and if they are going to do it, why so many of the same colors?

I think 30 different photos, showing different hair styles, eras, levels of intimacy, etc would be more interesting.

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