Stacy Z.

Graphic Designer

63

5

The Shining

December 19 | Cover Design - Final

I decided to go with the solid black back cover, so I made some final tweaks and am submitting it! However, I'm not necessarily done because I think I am going to do a couple other Stephen King books to make a series, or just try a completely different book. Basically, I'm just going to keep going with this class anyway!

So here is my cover, and if interested, I'm posting the hi-res full cover (with spine and back) on dropbox so you can check it out here!

December 12 | Cover Design - Round 1


So I had two ideas in mind after re-reading the book, and I was going to try them both out, but couldn’t find the right tools to make the hedge lion option. So, I pursued my other concept but I still have two slightly different versions.

Front Cover Only

It's pretty hard to see the details when these are so small, but here are the full jackets:

Full - Option 1

Full - Option 2


My thought process behind this (as mentioned last time) is that I really wanted to find a way to depict “the shining,” which is Danny’s gift, instead of the typical “Room 217” or “Jack’s Possession” ideas. Whenever Danny gets a premonition/is about to “shine,” he sees a boy named Tony who has Danny follow him and then he shows Danny the premonitions. Danny doesn’t get a good look at Tony until the end, so the idea here is that we are seeing what Danny sees before he “shines,” which is Tony coming and beckoning to show him something. This seemingly minor event leads to every other event, as Danny predicts all of the events that later happen and his “shining” is also what the Overlook is trying to absorb, and it possesses Jack to try to make him sacrifice Danny.

Instead of using photography or vector imagery, I sketched it and purposely left it looking a little rough for a couple reasons: One is that I simply think it is more interesting visually, and the other is that I feel this is what it would look like from Danny’s perspective, meaning that the way he sees things in his mind when he’s “shining” is more of a crude representation of what they really are, so this is how it would look when it manifests in his mind.

I have two options for the back cover, the solid black representing the darkness/confusion of Danny’s mind before Tony appears to him, and the other one acting as a door that Danny could come out of, alluding to him constantly just going from one door to the next (as Tony shows him more and more.) I designed the type on both to mimic the door shape for repetition of form.

Now for the spine, I kept it simple but on both I have just a corner (or two) of the white showing. I thought that this could entice the viewer to wonder what it is and beckon them to pull the book out to look at the cover, and is also a visual representation of right before Danny has the shining - it being all black and then suddenly he starts to see a little light in the corner of his mind.

Also, in imagining this as a hardcover book, I would have the other corners fold over onto the front/back cover flaps.


SO. Some questions I have are:
-Is the corner glow(s) on the spine a bad idea? I wonder if it looks too much like a mistake or just unfinished.
-Is having the glow around the title on the spine too cheesy?
-Which option works better (personally I think I’m leaning towards the black back cover.)
-Any other general feedback/suggestions/comments/anything? I would really love to know!

November 30 | Notes and Initial Cover Ideas

I forgot how long this book actually is, so it took me a while to go through it again but it was definitely necessary to flush out all the movie imagery. The movie and the book have a lot of differences, for example, once possessed, Jack’s weapon is a roque mallet,

Roque is a slightly different variation of croquet.

not an ax, and the two little girls never make an appearance (though they are mentioned as one of the previous caretakers did chop up his wife and daughters with a hatchet.) There are also some really unique aspects of the book that never even made it into the movie like the topiary outside the hotel where the hedges are trimmed into all sorts of animal shapes, and the animals actually attack several times throughout the book.

Think Edward Scissorhands!


All that being said, I have a couple of ideas that I will try to flesh out in the coming days:

  • A group of or just a single hedge lion, looking ominously at the viewer.

This would represent how in general, the Overlook Hotel seems perfectly normal, but has this overwhelming sense of foreboding, and also specifically the hedge animals themselves since as I mentioned before, they do attack the characters and cause problems throughout the book. Even more creepily, when they are doing something, it’s usually once of those instances where you know they are right behind you but when you turn around they haven’t even moved. For this one I would probably try to find a proper photograph of a hedge lion.

  • A shadow of a boy beckoning in a lit doorway, his shadow spelling out the title.

I mentioned in my first post that I really wanted to find a way to depict “the shining,” which is Danny’s gift, instead of the typical “Room 217” or “Jack’s Possession” ideas. Whenever Danny gets a premonition/is about to “shine,” he sees a boy named Tony who has Danny follow him and then he shows Danny the premonitions. Danny doesn’t get a good look at Tony until the end, so the idea here would be that we are seeing what Danny sees before he “shines,” which is Tony coming and beckoning to show him something. This seemingly minor event leads to every other event, as Danny predicts all of the events that later happen and his “shining” is also what the Overlook is trying to absorb, and it possesses Jack to try to make him sacrifice Danny. The way I’m picturing it looking is sort of like this google image I found:


I know this imagery is kind of played out, but I would like to illustrate it and make it look sort of sketchy to make it different, and I think using it in this context could be fitting enough to make it work. If the imagery of a shadow in a doorway is too overdone, maybe I can just do something visually similar with the type and have it be a type-only cover, but I have to make sure to evoke the proper emotions of foreboding, mystery, etc.



November 22 | Book Selection & Previous Cover Research

The book I have chosen for this project is The Shining by Stephen King. Even though I’m confident most people know the story already, this is the summary given by Barnes & Noble:

Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote . . . and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.

I chose this book because when I was looking through my bookshelf trying to decide on which one to use, each book I passed would immediately give me some initial ideas and concepts, but when I came to The Shining I hit a rut. There is so much that has been done already, both actually published and created as personal projects, that I thought it would make a nice challenge.

During my initial research, I also noticed that some of the designs feature scenes or other visual aspects from the movie (or the worst: the movie poster itself,) which is something I really detest in book design. I am just as much a fan of movies as I am of books, and so I prefer to think of them as completely separate entities. In my design, I want to make sure it reflects Stephen King and not Stanely Kubrick, so I want to avoid the images of Jack Nicholson etc. that first come to mind when people first think of The Shining.

I also think it’s interesting that the title refers to the gifts of Danny, but most of the covers are about Jack and his posession. I’m not sure if there’s actually anything in that idea, but it’s something to think about. It’s been a long time since I’ve read the book, so I’m going to go through it again over the next couple of days before starting to concept and get some ideas going.

Here are some of the other covers I've come across:

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