Sinem Erkas, the graphic designer behind the stunning cover of Where’d You Go Bernadette, gives us an insight into her latest project – redesigning the jackets of F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s books…
After discussing the direction for repackaging the F Scott Fitzgerald covers with my brilliant art director Debbie Holmes and passionate editor Jo Gledhill, we decided early on that they should feel fresh and stylish. I wanted to avoid making a pastiche of vintage covers and similar to Baz Luhrmann using music by Lana Del Ray for the latest Gatsby film, I wanted our covers to also have a modern treatment.
So by researching art deco and the jazz age I made my own bespoke typefaces that are reminiscent of this era without being from the 1920s. I’m a big fan of simplicity and not revealing too much, so keeping the design monotone and purely typographic I hope they look abstract and intriguing as well as classic with a contemporary twist.
Click on an image in the gallery below to find out how Sinem went about designing the book cover.
1. This Side of Paradise I started designing this typeface by merging art deco scripts with my joined up handwriting (which seemed appropriate as the main character is a writer) and this eventually developed into letterforms that have extended arms intertwining with each other. These intimate letterforms can suggest romance or relationships and also creates an interesting sea-like rhythm.
2. The Great Gatsby This was the first book I designed in the series to coincide with the Baz Luhram film. I started by customising a slab serif typeface and developing it into my own by making the O’s perfectly circular, the geometry and line weights more extreme and occasionally breaking this up with more ornate line-work placed randomly. I wanted this to have a glitzy feel but be quite haphazard at the same time, subtly reminding us of the books subjects. The Evening Standard wrote a silly article about the latest Great Gatsby covers, criticising my typeface by saying that it looked “like a font you’d get out of a letraset catalogue”… We found this amusing and as my art director was so pleased with my one-off typeface, she told me to get my “letraset” back out to design the next one if that’s what it takes…
3. Tender is the Night Set on the glamorous French Riviera, I researched art deco on the coast and came across a piece of hand painted seaside lettering that unusually had dots above the uppercase Is, which influenced me to use heavy round circles above the Is and as decorative swashes. At a distance they look like stars in a night sky but as you get closer the letterforms become clearer. I used double lines and bars on this typeface evoking the art nouveau design style of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, which the art deco style took part of its influences from and was popular at this time in France.
4. The Last Tycoon I designed a grid of dots to represent the Hollywood Lights without being too literal, and made the structure of the typeface quite architectural, but as this is one of Fitzgeralds unfinished novels I left the structure of some of these letters half-formed, filling the blanks in with the dots. I have also confused the boundaries between some letters by making interesting ligatures – the overlapping Os remind me of the Coco Chanel logo
5. The Beautiful and the Damned This might be my personal favourite typeface – I was inspired by the 1920s cafe culture that is central to this novel and particularly drawn to the heavily geometric shapes on the cafe shop fronts and design paraphernalia. Starting with Paul Renners font “Futura”, I reduced each letterform down to it’s fundamental shape. In the end the cover is a mixed bag of readable and more abstract letterforms, to be something beautiful but at the same time broken up, hinting at Fitzgeralds themes of money, relationships and destruction, which I think are similar for all of his books.
6. Tales of the Jazz Age As this is a collection of short stories, the cover just wanted to communicate the Jazz Age in America. I think this is probably the most contemporary looking design out of all of them and I drew the typeface in continual line to look quite industrial as well as heavily stylistic.