Donna Tartt - The secret history

Donna Tartt - The secret history - student project



I decided not to take an old classic novel and chose something more contemporary. I'm a huge fan of Donna Tartt and however, my favorite book written by her is "the Goldfinch", I picked another one which has a longer title consisted of two words. It's quite a long book which classified as a psychological thriller but it was written according to the rules of the classic novels - the story is thrilling. It's a pleasure to read it for the second time from a completely new perspective.

I am very good at keeping messy notes (lol), so I am on my way to the next stage - brainstorming list.

My thoughts about audience



First thumbnails:

I thought that the 1st and 3rd would be my favorites but I didn't have any strong feelings about any of these sketches so I decided to proceed with all of them (see below).  I think that the first one still has some chances to become a winner. Its main competitor is number 2 but I am so a terrible shoe-drawer. The third sketch requires plenty of details to become competitive but it will make the whole design very busy which I wish to avoid.






I decided to go ahead with the first conception keeping in mind my type of target audience. The biggest struggle was to keep the design clean and don't make it busy.
So I keep two-color palette and did my best not to overcrowd the layout with elements.
A couple of words about the book (spoiler!): the location of the story is in Vermont. Main characters are 6 college students studying ancient Greek and hanging out in the library (greek column, books, Greek alphabet letters), and consider themselves as secret society (I tried to illustrate leaves of the olive tree as a symbol of union (shadows of "secret" - not sure that I had a success haha). The main event happens in winter in a snowy canyon (snowy mountains and cold colors) - they had to murder one them. Afterward, some of them got drunk frequently trying to handle paranoia (wine glass) and the end of the story is sad but this book literally takes your breath.
I also put some easter eggs into the cover - I incorporated 6 letters of the Greek alphabet. If you'd like to challenge yourself, you can try to find them :)

I really want to try using the second sketch and see how different this cover can look.
My next update will be for the book's spine. I will come back shortly! :)

This do-over for the famous Donna Tartt novel is a case study that's supposed to be an example of my approach for developing an idea from scratch.



UPD Spine design is not a joke.


You are welcome to follow me to see my progress on Instagram @milkywhit.e 

Lettering & Graphic designer