Friday, December 16, 2011

CHANGE: A Letterpress Triptych

Our final project in GD1 was to create a letterpress triptych. For those of you unfamiliar with wither of these terms, I'll give you a rundown.

Basically, a triptych is three individual pieces meant to be seen at the same time- a series, more or less.  Letterpress is the term for the printing press- the original means of printing newspapers, etc. For this project, we used an iron hand press.

The theme of this project was "change." We had to incorporate letterpress alongside another production method of our choice.

Originally, I had a hard time coming up with a unique concept. However, during one of various web searches, I realized that change is a common factor in many fairytales. Spells, magic, and other trickery often involves a character or thing transforming from one state to another. Thus, my triptych highlights three well-known fairy tales with themes of change- The Frog Prince, The Little Mermaid, and King Midas.

Because I wanted to simulate the feeling of a classic fairytale, I chose to use the Old English typeface, a typeface that invokes images of leather-bound handwritten collections of tales. To further this illusion, I also chose to use a decorative border made wood type.

In addition to letterpress, the second production method I chose to utilize is embossing. Through trial and error, I determined to use white ink on watercolor paper, printing first the blocks of text. This had to be done very carefully, for if the paper shifted at all, it would leave a sticky spot to which the embossing powder would adhere. After a successful printing, I sprinkled colored embossing powder on the design then heated with a heat gun. Once set, I printing the border again sprinkling it with powder and using a heat gun, although this time I used gold for the border.

The gold border across all three pieces adds another element of continuity between the three triptych pieces The metallic hue variations of the text adds some diversity and interest while still adhering to the original concept.

The end result was a series of images that clearly belong in a set but can also stand alone, inviting the user to touch and interact with the pieces.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Quicker than I'd have liked, the final presentation came! We were to mount one of the covers onto our book and present all the covers in a pdf presentation.

For the photographic piece, I decided to return to a concept I had early on- photographs of noses. Because noses were the first thing that came to mind when thinking of plastic surgery, I felt this addressed the concept pretty well.

Originally, I took all the nose photos myself, but I had trouble finding consistent light and angle. Thus, I ended up going through a ton of magazines and scanning model's noses, making them symmetrical, and placing them on the cover. While I am relatively satisfied with the result, this concept was definitely my least favorite of the three.

My typographic concept was based on quotes from the book describing the Uglies as weeds and the Pretties as flowers. Thus, I decided to create dimensional text using photographs of dirt, 3d models of roses, thorns, and weeds combined with a photograph of a nasty root. This took a lot more work than I expected, but I was definitely please with the result

My final piece, and the one I chose to mount, was the illustrated piece. I kept with some of the original development illustration, but I decided to add a more sinister and techie feel to it. I was happy with the style and color changes and felt that this piece, amongst all three pieces, most aptly represented the content of the book.

Project DONE.

For more of this project, see:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


I began developing my concepts. The easiest for me, by far, was the illustration piece. I love illustration, and I had a clear idea in my head of what I wanted the piece to look like. I referenced some images of Victorian silhouettes, and began the work.

Unfortunately, I was unable to secure my own images for the photographic piece at this point due to losing my camera charger. Thus, I mocked of concepts using found images on the web. However, the image in my head for this piece was not nearly so clear as the illustrative piece, and I wasn't satisfied with the results.

The typographic piece, however, was the most difficult by far. Although I referenced concept ideas for the typographic piece in my previous post, that concept was developed much later. At this stage, I had no clear direction for the typographic piece, despite perusing many graphic design books and websites for inspiration. Thus, at this stage, I have nothing worthy of posting for typographic development.

For more of this project, see...


The first step in redesigning a book cover was to choose a book. Although previous renditions of the bookcover were very well done, I decided to redesign the cover for the book Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. I had read this book back in high school, and it had influenced me greatly.

The Uglies is young adult fiction set some time in the future when everyone undergoes plastic surgery on their 16th birthday- a surgery that makes their faces and body perfect. Tally Youngblood is excited to undergo this procedure but becomes an unwilling source in helping the authorities locate a community of individuals who are unwilling to undergo the reconstruction. Through this process, she discovers that becoming pretty is not all fun and games.

While there are many themes in this book, they can be narrowed down to the following: self-image, plastic surgery, government, free will, and the definition of beauty.

When sketching out concepts, I stumbled upon a couple that I wanted to pursue. For the photographic piece, I wanted a photograph of a magazine advertising different types of facial combinations. For the illustrative piece, I wanted to lean more towards the classic Victorean image of beauty, with perhaps a few creepy elements here and there. With the typographic piece, I decided to incorporate a concept found in the book: that the pretties were like flowers and the uglies were like weeds.

Unfortunately, do not yet have scanned sketches, so please check back for the update containing them.

For more of this project, see...


The fourth project for our GD1 class was a bookcover redesign. It was a very open project in that we were able to redesign the cover of any book of our choosing.

We started the project with a Pecha Kucha presentation. This involved a twenty-slide powerpoint of the story we chose, each slide automatically transitioning to the next after 20 seconds. This gave our classmates/teacher the background of the story so they could give more accurate feedback on the appropriateness of our designs. In addition, it refreshed the stories in our own minds, helping us choose a direction for our designs.

While the project itself was open to stylistic interpretations, the techniques we used had a few more rules. We needed to create three separate bookcovers, each addressing a different technique- Photographic, Typographic, and Illustrative.

After finishing these designs, we needed to choose one of the three designs to print and assemble to a copy of our book. The other two designs were to be presented in a powerpoint presentation.

For other stages of the project, please see