I had the chance to be the lead designer for a startup graphic novel publisher focused on bringing the quality of the bande dessinée French format to the US. The first series we produced was an alternate history of the Civil War, that was eventually going to develop into a sci-fi adventure.
Being such a small company, I practically did it all, from promotional materials, to book design, lettering and everything in between. The logo and book covers were designed by Redhype advertising and all the illustrations were done by Philip Renne. I did everything else. Sadly, the book was not well received, but this is still one of my favorite projects that I got to work on. It was a wonderful adventure diving into the past with these designs.
While I didn't do the front cover, I had free reign on designing the back cover. We wanted to include all the covers of the series so that all the books matched. I did the magnolia flower illustration overlay.
We wanted to make the endsheets a bit more special by turning them into maps. The goal was to have the maps change with each book just as the country was changing with each book.
One major difference between French book design and American book design is the way the spine reads. We decided to stay true to the French standard and keep the spines reading left to right. For an American audience, this might look upside down, but it does serve a purpose. When scanning book spines on a bookshelf in the store, it's easier to read from bottom to top, rather than top down, since Americans read left to right.
I made my own assets for the spine design. It helps that I'm an avid antique book collector, so I just took a few snaps of books from my personal library.
I came in mid-project for the lettering. For the first book, I revamped all of the bubbles so that the text fit better on the pages and redid all the text boxes to have a more historical feel.
For the second book, I completely redesigned the lettering so that it matched the style and tone of the era and the illustrations. Sadly, the lettering didn't make it to print, but here are some of the mockups I did.
I chose a more historical comic book font and added paper texture to the bubbles so that they wouldn't be so harsh against the illustrations. I also outlined the bubbles with a rough ink stroke to keep in with the historical atmosphere.
We had a couple of author events set up at local bookstores. Here are the posters I made for each of these events.
We did two flyers that were distributed around town and included in our press release. The two ideas we settled on were a map of the Gettysburg battle and a Confederate dollar bill.
Various Promotional Designs