IF - Rudyard Kipling | Skillshare Projects

IF - Rudyard Kipling


I chose the poem 'If' by Rudyard Kipling to design a cover for. 

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,   
But make allowance for their doubting too;  
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,   
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,   
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;      
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster   
And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken   
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,   
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings   
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings   
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew   
To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you   
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,      
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,   
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute   
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,      
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

This poem is written in the style of a Father writing to his son. 
The themes I wanted to focus were:
A fathers instructions on how to be a man, a sort of map to manhood.
The juxtaposition between man and boy.
One thing that stood out to me was almost the unfair impossibilty of being able to achieve all those things, he set a pretty high bar! so wanted to explore the theme of a boy trying to reach the expectations of his father.
Masculinity, what is takes to be a man (a lot, according to this poem)

Here are my initial sketches.


I researched some vintage books around the early 1900s when the poem was written and settled on a blue and metallic gold colour scheme. 
This first one plays with the idea of the advice given as being an almost impossible task but also as directions so went with the imagery of a maze with the title and author as the prize. This would be printed with the yellow as metallic gold. 


Next I explored the poetic instructions as a map, with the IF being the goal or treasure. I wanted to try and get the elements of chilhood in here especially as he was always playing and reading to children. I tried to do this with the font and treasue mapesque dotted line while maintaining the classic style of an old book or map, again I think the gold lines would be imbossed on that top one which are meant to represent contour lines.


After doing some research on Kipling I found that he had a very distinctive look with his glases, moustache and tie. I look these elements as symbols of manhood and tried and old style classic book but dont think it really works.


Finally I combined the symbolic elements of manhood from above with a sort of teenage rebellion in the style of the composition. Again I wanted to combine adolesence with the advice of a father. I think these work well. However I prefer the white glasses as the blue on white looks a bit sinister! and he was actually a very friendly man. 


I think my favourites are the contour map one and the bottom left one from the selection above but think I need to spend some time away from them for a bit I think! 

Very happy to hear any advice or suggestions! 


Please sign in or sign up to comment.