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Cover Masterclass: M D Villiers

Continuing our look into the way a book gets designed, we’ve moved from reinvigorating a classic like Gatsby to forming the identity of a debut novel. The colourful and evocative cover for City of Blood by M D Villiers is eye-catching and evocative. James Jones, a designer from Vintage explains how the narrative informed his choices when designing the cover.

Over to James:

‘Every now and then when designing a cover, the visual sense of what you want to portray comes early on. This was the case with City of Blood where, after reading the opening chapters I was struck by the visual identity of Johannesburg and the constant sense of impending menace and violence. Through the author’s words, I sensed the hectic nature of the city, and how integral it was to the overall feel of the cover.

I began sketching out ideas, playing around with urban settings and how to add that vital sense of tension by using the landscape of the city. At first the images seemed too generic, and it wasn’t until I began layering up the image that it added the sense of menace and tension I wanted to capture.

In terms of the colour scheme I knew strong and vibrant colours were the key, as the story itself is full of colour and heat, and is teeming with life.

For the typography, it made sense to utilise the layers I had built to create the landscape, and have the type immersed within the city itself. I wanted the type to portray the orphaned teenager Siphiwe, who is caught up in the city’s violence.

It was then important to carry the whole visual identity across the rest of the jacket, allowing the space on the spine for viewers to be drawn into the type and into the city itself.’

Find out more about Vintage Design on their Tumblr blog CMYK

City of Blood by M D Villiers is available now!

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