Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Blog 1 - Pentagram Studios


In what The Guardian calls "the most radical repackaging of the Bible in decades," Canongate Books Ltd. rethought the format of the scripture in an effort to update their look and attract a mass audience to both secular and religious readers. [Pentagram]  Pentagram Studios was tasked to design covers for twelve individual books of the bible which would be printed separately.  The books would be treated as distinct and separate from the others.   This had not been done since the books were first written over 2000 years ago. [Pentagram]

The book of Revelation, the last book of the bible, tells the tale of the final conflict between the forces of good and evil and brings together the worlds of heaven, earth, and hell.  Pentagram's cover for Revelation is a stark black and white photo of a nuclear bomb explosion - the mushroom cloud - the obvious focal point of the cover.  This image represents destruction, obliteration, annihilation, devastation; it instills feelings of fear, dread, and panic in all who see it.  It represents the destruction of mankind through our own doing.

Unity by repetition is created in the piece through the use of the lines made by the bottom of the mushroom cloud, the title, the line separating the text and subtext, and the subtext.  The eye flows from the focal point photo to the title to the line and down through the subtext.  Emphasis by placement is illustrated through use of the dramatic focal point photo and emphasis by color is shown through the use of the orange title.  The illusion of depth (atmospheric) is created through the photograph.  The large, puffy top of the mushroom cloud appears closer than the darker stem. 

The typography used is a simple san-serif typeface (maybe Helvetica?).  The word revelation is in all lower case letters, in an orange-red color, and set flush left.   The letters pop from the black background beneath the line formed by the base of the mushroom cloud.  The subtext is the same font, all lower-case, in white, and in a much smaller font size.  This text is set flush right and separated by a thin white line and lots of negative space from the main title.  The obvious importance of the title is shown by emphasis of size, color, and placement.

I feel this is a highly successful cover for the final chapter of the bible which has created so much controversy in both secular and religious circles alike.

Source: Pentagram: Pentagram Book Five, New York, Monacelli Press, Inc., 1999

1 comment:

  1. This is an interesting representation of Revelations. I had'nt seen this. It's funny that I know this is a part of revelations, but not the whole story. I guess I don't see it quite the same as represented here. This is a successful cover for the reasons you described.