Rachel Quast

Designer

639

3

The Year of Silence

I chose to make a cover for my favorite short story "A Year of Silence" by Kevin Brockmeier. I had found it while reading the 2008 version of "The Best American Short Stories." I love the story because I feel like it has a lot to say about human nature, and how we crave to know ourselves deeper, but not at the cost of isolating ourselves from the world around us.

Click here to read the story. 

Here's a few of my notes that I took the first time I read the story. 

At first my sketches were pretty obvious, going for the contrasting events in the story. Silence vs. noise representations. After reading it a second and third time I started to look more at how the author described the feelings involved with each event, such as the calm and peacefulness during the quiet, or the passion of noise. 

After going through these sketches, I decided to try out a few of the starred ones. I tried papercutting a city, which just didn't end up matching the vision I had in my head. After that I worked on the profiles and morse code iterations, which ended up together in the final version.

Here's a few iterations:

The first thing I worked on was an idea I had of using morse code, but to have it pop out like Braille, with white type and a white background. The readibility became a bit of an issue.

I ended up liking this last one the best, and had the title in morse code. However, after showing around to a few people, I realized that it would be more fun to have something from the story in there, specifically the line that does show up in morse code. For those who read the story and were wondering what it is, it's "Listen Well."

Here's my final design, incorporating the different emotions shown in the story in response to both noise and silence. 

And here's my final version on a hard cover book:

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