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Project. Book Cover Design

Purpose. To realize the value of "conscious imitation" for inspiration and learning. To refine the many skills involved in communicating visually. To discern the design elements that determine a particular designer's style and set it apart from others.

Assignment. The creation of a cover design, Film as Film , emulating the distinguishing characteristics (ethos) and esthetics of a famous designer or historical period.

Research information about an influential designer or historical period, past or present, that could serve as a point of departure for designing the book cover. You will need substantial information on the above, and that may limit your choice.

Form teams of two students to examine the key issues involved in book cover design: How did book covers and jackets evolve? How can we classify book covers? Are there differences between the design of hard and soft book covers? What distinguishes a single cover design from an extended series of book covers?

Document the visual material on a large board for review and write a one-page synopsis about the designer or historical period. On a second board, the same size, present a maximum of two visual pieces that clearly express and summarize the key characteristics of the specific approach. In addition, each group must write a one-page summary interpreting their findings and outlining the key criteria. Each team member will prepare an individual cover design mounted on Foamcor.

Format. 10 1/2 X 7 7/8 inches (27 X 20 centimeters)

Time. 24 hours

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Hanno Ehses is Full Professor in the Department of Communication Design at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax, Canada, and Adjunct Professor in the Master of Information Design program at the Universidad de las Americas, Puebla, Mexico. He has taught in many countries and has contributed numerous articles to a variety of design journals. He is a graphic designer and typographer with a special interest in the theoretical and practical aspects of design, particularly focused on the issues of visual rhetoric and semiotics.

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