Re-Covering Design:

Creating New Covers for Old Books

The Assignment

The title of this assignment offers a play on words: on the one hand, we in the ENGL 428: Digital Humanities course embarked on a quest to "cover" some of the basics of digital design by working with Photoshop and, at the same time, we set out to create new, updated covers for some of our favorite works of literature.

The Process

Students were instructed to first select a work of literature (any language, any genre) published before 1985 and to compose a blog post that featured uploaded images of previous cover designs used in association with that chosen text. They were encouraged to work through and analyze the design trends that they observed, making claims about the relevence of a particular design choice (font, imagery, color scheme, etc.) to the particular era / time period in which it was produced. Students were then instructed to create a new, updated design for their chosen title using Photoshop; they were given specific design paraemters (relating to size, resolution, dpi, color settings and mode, etc.) and required to incorporate both text and either original imagery or Creative Commons-licensed imagery. After they completed their design, students were then directed to upload their new image to our course blog and to provide a detailed explanation and analysis of the choices they had made en route to creating it. Students' designs were then subjected to rounds of comments and peer feedback.