Monday, 14 February 2011

Book Cover: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?



One homework for my Interim Graphics evening class at Central St Martin's College was to design a book cover for an existing novel. Philip K. Dick's science fiction novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is about a bounty hunter tracking down androids in post World War 3 Los Angeles. Themes include religion, identity, slavery, consciousness and what it means to be human.


After some brainstorming I knew I wanted to include an eye in the artwork: Eyes are "Windows to the soul" and the book is about whether robots could ever gain a consciousness that would render them human, or as good as. The iris and pupil are circular which is sometimes used to represent infinity, and it's also a nice basic shape. In the story the eye is important as pupil dilation is something monitored in the Voigt-Kampff test, used for unmasking androids by provoking empathetic responses - although highly intelligent they are unable to fake empathy - most of them anyway.


In the end I chose a stock photo of a partial face rather than a sole eye, because in context the dramatic angle is a lot more interesting. It also suits the "fugitives" aspect of the plot and could represent one of the female androids, perhaps Rachael or Pris.


The city is Los Angeles (again a free stock photo from stock.xchng). I'd originally imagined it contained in the darkness of the pupil but it blends quite well with the face. I liked the idea of the city itself as a sprawling artificial creature produced by humans, much like the androids and synthetic animals.
The two blue bars complement the yellow image quite well I think, and the font I chose as it looks like a cross between old and new technology - a typewriter and a distorted video screen perhaps. Fitting for the dirty cyberpunk setting. The font is called WBX Flack and was designed by Vigilante Typeface Corporation.


I don't usually design for print, and as a result the image came out extremely dark and needed a lot of brightening up.

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