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Langston Hughes Book Covers (with text)

(Final edits at the bottom of this post)

Phase one:

I was hesitant to use this font (because I knew it wasn't right). They are all about some sort of struggle. This text is handwritten and shaky with long lean lines. It is reminiscent of Hughes' characters in his story.  They are going through troubling times. In the story, "On the Road", the man is left out in the cold during the Great Depression. He is struggling to find shelter and has a moment of unconsciousness in which he has a conversation with Jesus. This first image portrays the cold, dreamlike state that the man isexperiencing. The hands are reaching out in agonizing, exhausted desperation. I think the rotation and the layers work really well. 
(Also--thanks to Chris for letting me photograph his hand)
I have revised this first one so much I'm not sure which way is up anymore. 

The main theme for "Salvation" is isolation. This lamb represents the boy in his childhood innocence and naivety. There is a sense of isolation created by the black negative space around the figure. The font is shaky and lean, much like the little lamb. I wanted the words to disappear in the dark but retain their legibility to demonstrate the feeling of isolation even more. 

I changed my mind. 

Those were good explorations but not quite right. 

This is a sleeker font that still maintains the long lean letters I was looking for. I want to keep this opacity to coincide with the layering of the image. I'm still concerned with legibility. I still like the way the handwritten text looks on the cover with the lamb, but I think this looks a bit more finished. 

I fixed the shape of the cross and changed the hierarchy of the text. 

Final edits.
(for now)

I'm happy with this one. All of the things I have been editing have finally come together. The cross is a good representation. The blue is the right tone for the frigidity and desperation I wanted to capture. I'm sure I'll make more changes but for now, this is where I wanted to be 
with this cover. 

I'm playing with the idea of vertical text to isolate the lamb a little more within that negative space. I think this version is more visually appealing and also speaks to the context more efficiently than the horizontal text. I think this cover would also translate well in the Amazon mock up because of it's legibility and striking negative space. 

It was a simple change with a dramatic difference. 

I'm beginning my revisions on this last cover for "Early Autumn" by Langston Hughes. The clock is symbolic for fleeting time. I used sepia tones to hint at nostalgia. Now that I feel better about the first two, I can concentrate on this one. The vertical crop is a bit of a challenge for this horizontal image. I am thinking of some innovative ways to incorporate text. I want to keep the movement, the glow, and the nostalgic feel of this, but I want to push this idea a lot farther. 
 I have a clear idea of where to go from here.

Another rendition I had tried for "On the Road". 

Here is "On the Road" with a different typeface that may mirror the transparency of the image even better. I'm going to try more arrangements and typefaces. 

This is my favorite rendition so far:

Kristen AshtonImageComment