In my type and image class at the Rhode Island School of Design, my professor asked us to design three book covers, one using drawing techniques, one using photography, and one using letterpress. I chose “The Control of Nature” by John McPhee. This book is split up into three parts that all centralize around the theme of man vs. nature. The first part is about the Army Corps of Engineers trying to control the flow of of the Mississippi river. The second part is about the town of Heiymay
In this first one, I traced the entire watershed of the Mississippi watershed in the United States with all its tributaries. I then edited the drawing in photoshop and cropped a significant portion out of the drawing. I wanted the drawing to invade off the page, implying more movement. I experimented with many different colors but ultimately settled on this modest yellow because I liked the ambiguity of the cover. Given only one part of the book is about the Mississippi, I wanted to pay tribute to the other two parts. Yellow also seemed like a unifying color between rivers (which can be orange and brown), lava (which has warmer colors), and debris (which is often brown).
In this second cover, I built all the letters of “Nature” out of white card-stock paper as well as a gear cog. I used a spotlight to create an interesting atmosphere and experimented with the shadows of the gear as well as my hand on the letters. I wanted to suggest man’s attempt at controlling the forces of nature and felt like a gear cog was representative of artificial machines. To even the playing field of the power of each word “control” and “nature”, I ensured that “NATURE” was larger than control.
In this last cover, I used letterpress to create the type features. I originally laid out the text as in the previous image and then distorted “Nature” so as to make it appear as if it was running into “Control”. In this way, “Control” looks like it is blockading or damming the flow of “Nature”. I also added more white splatter to the word “Nature” as I wanted it to look messy, and I chose red for “Control” because I wanted it to look artificial.