Author: Eric Bogosian
Designer: Jason Heuer
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Typeface: Hand lettering based on Compacta
Specials: red foil deboss on matte press varnish, uncoated paper, reverse side lamination
I was talking to Jason about featuring one of his covers and he sent me this beautiful book in the mail. (nevermind that, out of excitement, I tore the package and got that pesky packing debris all over my face, into my mouth, and in every crevice of the contained book).
I loved how the cover looked, but once I read about the concept and Jason's process, I couldn't think of a better way to solve this.
Almost forty years after moving to Manhattan, author Richard Morris has
achieved the accomplished career and caliber of fame that he envisioned for himself as a younger man. Now financially comfortable and artistically embittered, Richard is at his home upstate recuperating from heart surgery. In his attic, Richard comes across a stack of notebooks, the journals he began keeping when he arrived in New York in the late '70s. He is alternately fascinated and repelled by the young man he meets in these pages. Perforated Heart explores two wholly different characters -- a young, ambitious artist and his older self, jaded by both success and failure; two men who inhabit the one individual.
About the design:
I was very excited to be assigned Eric Bogosian’s latest novel. It comes on the heels of his two previous novels that were designed by Kevin Brainard (Mall) and Carin Goldberg (Wasted Beauty). As if that wasn’t intimidating enough, Mr. Bogosian’s wife Jo Bonney is, among other things, a cover designer herself. I felt all these factors combined would give me a chance to approach it with an expanded design sense.
I began the process by researching heart images. In the back of my mind, after looking at Carin Goldberg’s cover, I thought I might be able to do a cover without type. The literal interpretation of the title, die cutting or “perforating” a dotted line image, with a red foil case underneath immediately came to mind. Foregoing other ideas I ran down to the art shop and purchased a paper punch die set and went about creating the fully realized comp with the case beneath. I illustrated the case to represent the main character’s (Richard Morris) journal writing-younger self from 1970’s New York City. This also left enough room for the die cut to show only red.
With the exception of this book, I usually present 3 or more ideas for a cover design, with variations. I felt so strongly about this one that I chanced showing my art director, Jackie Seow, only this concept. She strongly supported the idea and brought it to the jacket meeting where everyone got behind the project. The only small objection was the image-only cover. I hand-drew the lettering based on the Compacta I was going to use on the spine.
Now we had to see if it could be produced, or at least produced within budget. After the early approval there was time for production experimentation. With the help of our printer representative, Paul Nardi, we found a machinist out of New Hampshire that could drill the holes, as the approximate 1000 were too many for a die cut to hold. They sent us a sample so we could see that it would keep its structural integrity without tearing, and it did. (see image below). But alas, it was way out of our budget range. I already had a secondary execution ready since there were early warnings the holes weren’t economically viable. With the red foil debossed dots we had press proofs printed with 3 finishes, the two not chosen were all gloss and all matte. I was able to keep the printed case because it was still within budget and part of the concept of duality from the novel.
At the end of this process I can appreciate the anomaly of presenting one idea and having the art director, editor, publisher, author, author’s wife, and sales people all consent on a concept. Really, the hardest part was the production and even that was a fun exploration.
*Comment on this project
5.04.09 // David Drummond said:Friggin awesome. I got one of those pangs of jealously that always let me know when I am seeing a GREAT cover!!
5.04.09 // David Gee said:As much as I love Compacta, I think what really makes this one sing is the hand-drawn type. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't but here it's perfect.
5.04.09 // Hollis said:The best book cover site by a mile right now ... less is more.
Beautiful cover, and really appreciate the design process described here. Bravo to Jason and others behind this.
5.04.09 // Ian said:I like that this was taken to such a literal extreme that it became unexpected. Like, "who the hell would actually perforate a heart on a cover???".
5.06.09 // Jason Alejandro said:Now you know I'm loving this cover right now. This is beautiful, nicely done!.