Strongest Portfolio Piece Thus Far

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Book Cover Redesign by Lisa Watkins


I’m not quite sure if this is the strongest piece I’ve done so far, but it was definitely my favorite to complete because I had so much motivation to make it look perfect in proportion to the image I had for it in my mind. Oh…that’s deep.


This particular project was brought to you by my first semester at Bradley University. This project was for my ART205 class — Typography. I want to say it was our final project because I don’t remember a project after it, so yeah, I’ll say it was. It was our final project. Teehee. We were assigned to redesign a book cover of one of our favorite books. At the time I was in the middle of reading The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series. This was an obvious choice for me to redesign because I completely understood the essence of the book, which didn’t have much of a book jacket design at all. It was just brightly-colored with dragons about and the text. I think this gave me a great opportunity to but my spin on it especially as a fan.


I knew what I wanted the jacket to look like and I needed a model. I recruit one of my friends whose style resembles that of the main character Lisbeth, so I knew it wasn’t going to be hard for her to emulate the look and feel that I needed. Thankfully, she was really excited about modeling for me. It also helped that she once majored in theater makeup, so when I wanted a beaten up and battered Lisbeth, she was easily able to get that look. I took her picture a thousand times in various positions, but never of her face full on. I didn’t want the reader to be caught up on the cover model’s visage being attached to their idea of what Lisbeth looked like in their minds. I hate when books do that, ugh. I more or less wanted Lisbeth’s presence on the jacket, that’s all.


When I got the image down, the real designing started. The previous jacket made it seem like this novel was easy going with its bright and enticing colors. I, on the other hand, wanted the novel to be known for what it really was, a dark, dark, dark tale. I used font colors that would pop against the black (white, bright green, and red) to still entice those who are curious about the title. I also utilized some smoke brushes to add an air of mystery or to pay homage to Lisbeth’s horrible smoking habit. Everyone seems to smoke in this book. I think it added a sort of texture without it having it be an actual texture. When applying the image of my friend to the layout, I really wanted it to seem like she was peering from the shadows. That is why the lower half of her torso blends in with the black background while the top of her torso shines with her leather jacket.


I guess all of that was what appealed to me about this project. What was challenging was the fact that my teacher at first told us to pick our own title, then the next class date told us to choose a title from a list. I fought for everyone to design for the titles they had chosen because I could tell in everyone’s faces that they were disappointed that they weren’t going to be designing for a book they were passionate for. Once we got the okay to do so, I was challenged by my teacher every class to persuade her that this was a good idea because she hadn’t read the book. Therefore, I had to create a design that captured the essence of the book, which I feel I did successfully without hinting to what the story is actually about. The only thing I did was put Lisbeth in physical form on the book jacket, which I think is enough.


I mean, you tell me if it was enough? I guess it was because I got an “A,” but that’s besides the point *^-^*


‘Til next time!
Lisa x

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