For my next project in my Language and Letterform class, I was tasked with creating a typographic book cover for a favorite book of mine, using mainly softwares like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. For the project, I chose to create a unique book cover for the Aldous Huxley novel “Brave New World”, and initially struggled to find an original way to visually express the concepts of the book without resorting to ideas from covers already done of the novel by other designers. My initial sketches of my prospective book cover (I had to draw around 5 versions in total) failed to completely use typography as a method of conveying the essence of the novel, and instead resorted to using imagery as a way to evoke concepts to viewers of the cover. Eventually, however, after much thought and consideration, I finally managed to create a book cover that created typographic art out of shapes (or art out of type) without resorting to rehashed imagery or elements from other designers of the cover for “Brave New World”. Above is the typographic book cover which incorporates several thematic elements from the dystopian novel, and even contains within very subtle hints at certain aspects of the world, setting, and society in “Brave New World”, and how they affect the inhabitants therein.
Some of the hints are as follows:
The B in BRAVE is typographically designed in such a way that the circular holes near the edge of the makeshift font give the B the appearance of female breasts (used in this context to nurture and feed the embryo/fetus that are the two R’s in BRAVE and in WORLD). The embryos are intentionally facing away from the breasts of motherhood and parenthood, and their eyes are staring directly at the W and the N of the word NEW, the former being designed in such a way that it resembles a laboratory flask containing inside a solution of soma— a hallucinogenic drug taken by people in the novel to help them forget their sufferings, and the latter being designed to resemble a sideways antique television set– another distraction besides the soma used by the World State to contain and deaden the common populace to their own deep seated issues.
The A and V in BRAVE are designed so that the triangular gaps in the font are replaced by circular pulley like systems or conveyor belt-esque mass assembly lines, giving off the idea that babies in this novel are mass produced and there is a general culture centered around mass production in the World State.
The W in WORLD uses negative space to its advantage by creating an artistic effect in which it seems like two legs are dangling below the body of an unseen person, the shadow of these legs visible under the light of the opened door behind the legs. This scene is a direct reference to one of the most important characters in “Brave New World”– John the Savage– who explores the society of the World State only to grow dissatisfied with his life and his world around him, and eventually hangs himself out of boredom, guilt, and sorrow near the end of the novel. The novel’s last line refers to only his legs and his body swinging back and forth, and it is there that the novel abruptly ends, since nothing more needs to be said and everything has already been implied.
The L in WORLD purposefully takes the form of Big Ben in London, where the majority of “Brave New World” takes place (although a larger world exists outside of the capital).
The D in WORLD is designed so it looks like a semicircular gear (highlighting Ford’s idea of the mass assembly line and mass production). Negative space reveals a semicircular group of people assembled around a T, which refers to Fordism in “Brave New World” and how Henry Ford is likened to a messianic figure (the Christian cross is replaced with a T, referring to his Model-T Ford). The negative space also refers to a specific scene in the novel in which the people assembled around the T perform an orgy as a mystical ritual in a society where pleasure and hedonism is held paramount.
The barcode aesthetic below Huxley’s name highlights the lack of individuality present in the society he created, and the complete control of the World State over humanity through pleasure and more pleasure.
The pink and yellow coloration of the cover evokes psychedelics and the tone of “Brave New World” as a book about a society stuck in a “dream” world of pleasure, drugs (like soma), extreme sexual liberation, and hallucinations, without a care for their own problems or the terrible reality that is existence.