I’m stoking the creative embers in hope of breathing new life into my dwindling book cover design fire. Looking at my efforts thus far, it’s entirely likely I lack the chops to pull it off. They say it’s important to have a good cover, but I simply cannot afford to pay someone else to do it. So I’ll just apply my usual throw-enough-shit-at-the-wall-until-some-of-it-sticks approach to this and let the chips fall where they may.
The aggravating thing is I know that I have pieces of the creative potential required to pull this off. I feel those parts of me lighting up whenever I contemplate this endeavour or hear others talking about cover design, or when I see great design in action. A flash of inspiration. Resonance with something that works. Half a great concept straining into existence. But there always seem to be conspicuously missing pieces; gaps between the fully fledged parts that prevent me from pulling it all together into a whole.
I’m a stubborn motherfucker though and I aim to keep coming at this thing until I grind it down into a fine powder under the weight of a turbo-charged mind gone wrong. It’s worked before. What’s the worst that could happen? Don’t answer that.
So why are you troubling us with your latest inconsequential tripe? I hear you ask.
Well frankly I don’t care for your tone Sir!
But it is a fair question nonetheless, so allow me to furnish you with an answer.
While kicking around ideas and searching for inspiration so set my sail against, I was reminded of the title sequence for Casino Royale – no, not the comedy 60s version with David Niven and Woody Allen but the thug remake with Daniel Craig and Mads Mikkelsen.
I love the title sequence for this film. Like all good design, it’s a simple concept done well. And while the concept is simple, there’s actually quite a lot going on in the titles. They take a few elements of the film’s gambling theme, and combine them with the usual spy versus spy tropes you expect in Bond titles. They make great use of the red, black and white synonymous with playing cards, but also the patterns and finishes too. And by re-using existing good design we all know and love, it’s like killing 3 birds with one stone.
Cue fractal clubs, roulette cross hairs, heart bullets breaking bad guys apart in showers of red diamonds. Bands of ornate playing card finish spring up like lianas across the screen. All set against those intricate two-tone patterns you find on the backs of playing cards. It all comes together in an entertaining visual symphony in time with the kick-ass theme song by Chris Cornell and David Arnold.
It reminds me of some of the Saul Bass titles for Hitchcock films like Vertigo. Devilishly simple yet effective. Though I think Saul Bass was the master of that particular art form. I wonder what he would’ve made of these titles?
On that note, I will leave you with the titles while I run off to trawl through some Saul Bass titles for more inspiration! It’s all too easy with so much inspiration at my sedentary finger tips! … cut to me in 10 hours time, still with no book cover, having watched Casino Royale, Vertigo, Psycho, North By Northwest, with bloodshot eyes and chocolate smeared around my mouth, crying at my habitual failure …
Oh and here’s that cheese I promised:
It’s what he would’ve wanted.