22 November 2016

[design] OryCon 38 Souvenir Book: The 'Why' Of The Cover

When I first got the chance to come up with a design for the OryCon 38 program books, the rationale pretty much wrapped itself up for me and gifted itself to me on a silver Manticorean platter.

The real challenge to designing an SFF Con's program book is finding the one key thing that will blossom into a theme. Once you have that, everything else falls into place pretty quickly, and it's just a matter of making everything fit. The theme idea inspires the cover, the typographical approach to headings and display pages through out. It's a catalyst thing.

The reason it came so easy this year is because the Honorverse books of David Weber and the art of David Mattingly combine almost organically to present a certain gestalt from which a handle on the feel and form can easily be grasped. Once I saw the motifs I knew that an approach calling to mind the covers of the Honor Harrington books was demanded. This is this year's cover:

The choice of font was easy too, as Friz Quadrata is a font used in several of the Weber novels' covers. They were filled with a dramatic gradation to evoke the feeling of the type on those covers, and the star title ORYCON 38 was set in a black cartouche to evoke the feeling of the heavy-line framing used on many of them. The illustration involved, David Mattingly's Honor Amongst Enemies, seemed a natural; the right line drawn between complex depiction and simple composition to show off the richness of the art and the incredibly seductive detail of Mattingly's tech depictions and space vistas and still work well with the bold type.

Honor's steady, gimlet gaze looking out at the reader gives the theme a very personal punch.

A theme is born. The inspirations that brought this together cascaded through the document to anoint page headings and subheadings and headlines, like a catalyst.

The result is a satisfyingly laid out document and one which, once again, I'm proud to say I did.

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