Fonts for social / political book cover?

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K Macdonald's picture
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Joined: 2 Apr 2004 - 11:31am
Fonts for social / political book cover?
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Does anyone have any suggestions for suitable fonts for a book titled ‘Waging Nonviolent Struggle: 20th Century Practice and 21st Century Potential’ (the book presents nonviolent action as a powerful and effective means to wage conflict). Many book covers of a similar genre prefer to use typography rather than a graphical image to convey the message. However, I’m not sure whether the choice of fonts have been accidental. I want a font that conveys power and conflict. Any suggestions and justifications for use would be greatly appreciated…

Nick Shinn's picture
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Joined: 8 Jul 2003 - 11:00am
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A “font that conveys power and conflict” might be inappropriate (your strategy is off if it fits Walking Tall). However, Rian Hughes’ FLAK would look good in pink camo.

Joe Pemberton's picture
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Joined: 8 Apr 2002 - 3:36pm
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Shawn has a great suggestion. I’m glad you’re looking for new fonts. Impact is a poor choice for most things (as is Corbis, but that’s another thread).

K Macdonald's picture
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Joined: 2 Apr 2004 - 11:31am
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I really like that first photo (what is it of)?

Actually my initial brief came with the request for the use of the Tienanmen Square photo, as this is one of 23 diverse case studies from the last century (ranging from Russia in 1905, to Guatemala in 1944, the Philippines in 1986, to Serbia in 2000) used in the book. There has been some internal debate as to whether T. Sq is the best example of nonviolent struggle…not to mention acquiring photographic rights.

My concern with using a single photograph is that it becomes too focused on one event rather than capturing the overall proactive ‘emotions’ or ‘strategies’. Hence the reason for some of the simpler graphics which are more open to interpretation (but at the risk of being boring!).

Shawn Michael Harris's picture
Joined: 19 Mar 2004 - 1:54pm
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The first photo is from corbis, do a search with “civil rights”.

here is the description quoted from them:

“Civil Rights Marchers with “I Am A Man” Signs
Protesters on Beale Street in Memphis in 1968 walk quietly past a row of National Guard riflemen with bayonets, wearing signs that say simply “I Am A Man.” Tanks skirt the marchers on the other side.”

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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Try Brothers-Bold by Downer/Emigre: it has a rugged, determined honesty that might click for you.

BTW, there’s an article in an old issue of Typographica magazine: “Protest by Design” (Ann Gould), in New Series, #14, December ‘66, pp 41-56. And I think I remember something in Eye recently.

hhp

Tanya Sprowl's picture
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Joined: 18 Aug 2002 - 11:00am
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I think that the images in your mock-ups all look rather violent or scary.

Anyway — Besides stock imagery — you can probably acquire images from your newspapers — which will have tons of protests and union marches archived as they happened on that day in history in that city — you can search them in the periodicals at the library first.

As for the typography it might be suitable to have the cover mimic a protest sign — rather then a book cover. Condensed fonts like Trade Gothic’s remind me of signs, but that might just be me.

Paul Giambarba's picture
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Joined: 21 Mar 2004 - 11:00am
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K, I would suggest you begin with sketches. Maybe you can find a photo or design that would be appropriate. Then experiment with different faces superimposed on the images. Be careful about putting the cart before the horse. That doesn’t work. Suppose we say Gill Sans Bold. How will your copy break? That’s crucial to comprehension. But where will the copy be in relation to the elements in the photo, design, illo, whatever? Nail down your imagery first, then think about typefaces. They are interconnected and one size doesn’t fit all.

Dan Reynolds's picture
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Joined: 20 Jul 2002 - 11:00am
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Type can BE the illustration, too. Paul is right. It would be cool to see your sketches/ideas. We could comment on those. Despite my type-loving nature, I think that I agree that the typeface selection is not the first question that someone should ask when they begin a project like this one.

Some designers think that there are only a handfull of faces that anyone should ever use. Thankfully, I don’t think that any of them are frequent visitors here. (Although, it would be tremendous fun to spar with them!)

Paul Giambarba's picture
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Joined: 21 Mar 2004 - 11:00am
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Dan — Obviously I would not limit myself to never using a new face should an occasion arise, but I think an argument can be made that a proliferation of bad faces now created digitally makes more trouble for designers than it helps them. There’s a whole other dimension to typographic design which has to do with how a line of copy is set for comprehension as well as aesthetics. Do your instructors at the school get into that?

K Macdonald's picture
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Joined: 2 Apr 2004 - 11:31am
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Thanks for the constructive responses…I have already created some rough sketches (see link) which I would like to narrow down before presenting to the publisher and author. There are two routes essentially which I have taken, both aim to be simple and bold; the first is with simple graphic elements, and the second is with photographic imagery. My preference is with the non-photographic options that carry a bold headline. FYI, I’m no designer (no kidding!!?), just an editor in a small publishing house who enjoys dabbling in design! (‘whoa, bad idea’ I hear you cry!)


application/x-zip-compressedRough designs for book cover (zip file)
critique_cover_designs.zip (767.4 k)

Dan Reynolds's picture
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Joined: 20 Jul 2002 - 11:00am
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Yes! My instructors have gotten into that, I’d say

Dan Reynolds's picture
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Joined: 20 Jul 2002 - 11:00am
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K, I really like example number 6. I think that your text and illustration are the most integrated there. Plus, I really like your arrows on that page. I’ve been drawing alot of vector arrows myself lately, but your approach is something I hadn’t thought of.

Shawn Michael Harris's picture
Joined: 19 Mar 2004 - 1:54pm
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K-

Have you looked for some images of actual nonviolent protests?
There are many famous struggles that have been waged in such a way during the 20th century. The added phsycological connection of such a picture to the subconcious would perhaps add some emotional punch and validity. I am thinking something with the faces of the protesters….
examples in a moment…

Shawn Michael Harris's picture
Joined: 19 Mar 2004 - 1:54pm
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examples of what i was thinking…

struggle1
struggle2
struggle3

this might however require a bit more budget to aquire rights to use these as opposed to the other more generic pictures you chose….my 2 cents

:-)