"The soul grows by subtraction"
- Henry David Thoreau
These are weekly, small book cover design projects. This is a practice I put upon myself to design simple, more subtle graphics. Much of my work contains bold graphics and uses a good amount of color. These series of work contain much more muted designs as a way for me to practice a different kind of style. These books are all stories that have left a lasting impression on me and inspired me to start this project.
Flowers for Algernon
Flowers for Algernon is a thought provoking science-fiction that centers around the theme of trading happiness for knowledge. It is an emotionally charged story that follows a mentally handicapped but happy man, Charlie, who has an IQ lower than 70, as he participates in an experiment that can make him a genius. This experiment had previously been done on a rat called Algernon. Throughout the story, you fall into Charlie’s evolving world as he goes from an innocent, clueless man to a resentful, bitter genius with an EQ of a child and an IQ of Einstein. Though placed in a scientific setting, the emotional impact is so prominent, the science is believable and the mechanics need not be questioned by the reader.
There were different ideas for the cover, I ultimately decided to pay homage to a key activity that Charlie and Algernon often competed against each other with, the mazes. Algernon won the mazes until the effects of the experiment kicked in for Charlie. His resentment for Algernon's superiority grew into affection. Hence at the end, despite losing his intelligence, he remembers to tell his family to leave flowers at Algernon's grave.
When Rabbit Howls
When Rabbit Howls is one of the heaviest books I've held, figuratively. It is a dark emotional roller coaster following Truddi Chase and her 92 personalities that stem from her Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) as they navigate through her brutal childhood trauma at the hands of her stepfather and mother. It’s not a book one can go through in one sitting. It’s emotional weight will force the reader to put it down and take a break but that is the beauty of it.
I think of DID as an onion consisted of many layers. Each layer is tasked to protect the core and has a different fragment of memory to ease the strain on the first born. The setting of the book on dry grass is not random but a reference to the countryside Truddi grew up in and has scarce memories of. It is the place where her horrid abuse took place.