If you’ve been around for a while, you know that I love books. I keep a minor library at home, there are books everywhere and my husband says that we have to live here until we die because there’s no way we can move all of these books. I don’t mind, though, I love our house, so I just keep buying more books to make absolutely sure that we’ll stay put. Also, it’s not hoarding if it’s books, you know that right?
Anyways. Being a book collecting letter nerd, you can imagine how happy I was when I got the possibility to draw a book title for the Swedish Bookmark publisher house. They had a design in mind, but hadn’t quite hit the spot with ordinary typography, so based on that and their brief, I drew the letters by hand.
The letters were straight and robust serifs with a few, quite modest, swooshes. The cover design itself were very intricate (made by my favorite book designer of all times, Sanna Sporrong) and the letters had to stand firmly in the flowers and the butterflies and what not, and still pop, of course. They had to be in the top of the graphic element’s hierarchy.
I made a few sketches where I thickened the lines and removed the initial dash and played around with spacing and kerning to clean it up and obtain a balance. Since I had letters to originate from, the work I did was more on the detailed level. This was NOT going to look hand drawn, so there could be no loose edges, wonky angels or jumping baseline, and creating that with your hand alone is definitely a challenge (a big shout out to the edit shape tool in Procreate, though!).
I drew it in blue, and I actually liked it when I did the mockup, but Bookmark wanted to go with white to get the contrast and thus enhance the legibility in this kind of crowded layout, which as you can see, is probably the best choice.
Beyond this point I dove inte the details – kerning, the angels of the swooshes and the space between the two lines. It was equally frustrating and satisfying at the same time.
Working with new clients is always fun, and my experience of buying designs myself from when I worked in marketing back in the day really comes in handy in these situations. Being a lettering artist is 30% drawing letters and 70% communicating with people and it’s important to understand your client’s situation and what they need from you in order to get their job done. Don’t forget that you’re both heading towards the same goal, so being open about that really helps instead of getting all defensive. Bookmark had a great team (of women, need I say) and it all went smooth and quick.
So, to sum it up: a distinct brief, good communication and kindness in general make up for a good result! And low and behold, here’s the result:
The book will be released on May 25th and Sofie Sarenbrant was appointed Swedish detective novel author of 2019. The title is Swedish for “Mythomaniac”.