"The past is always tense, the future perfect"
- Zadie Smith
For this project we collaborated with a student on our course we didn't know, with the brief of designing a book cover for Penguin Books. We chose White Teeth by Zadie Smith. If you haven't already read it; do! I was lucky enough to be paired with an illustrator, so i focused on the type while she focused on the image...
We decided early on that we wanted to portray a sense of urban dilapidation in our imagery, because this reflects not only the character's surroundings (of a glum 1970s Willesden) but also the way they become run-down themselves by the hardships of their troubled lives.
We became really interested in 70s wallpaper, as it reflects the time and place that the book is set in, aswell as hinting at the "psychedelic" nature of the characters lives...Then we fused all our ideas so far into a big layered bundle of screen-printed experiments...
...from which we developed our work into some well considered final outcomes...
My favourite part of our design is the "white teeth" type, as it refers to the character Clara's front teeth being knocked out, and is a symbolic metaphor used throughout the book.
"Now young men shouldn't tell fibs, you see? Fibs will make your teeth rot..."
- Zadie Smith, White Teeth.
The word "teeth" appears 77 times in the book.