Wednesday 07 Mar, 2012

The cover for the William Gaddis book Ágape, Agonia designed for Ahab Edições has won the 2011 award for Best Fiction Cover (Melhor Design de Capa de Literatura) in the 4th edition of the Ler/Booktailors national annual publishing awards. The awards were attributed as the result of on-line voting by the public and a jury consisting of 20 professionals from the world of publishing and journalism. This is the second consecutive year that the studio has won this award.

The design of the cover (produced in 2010) underwent a series of transformations from initial ideas to final design, a number of which are shown below. One of the difficult decisions we have to make as designers is to subject visual solutions that excite us visually to an assessment of whether they fulfil the brief, and have the courage (or discipline) to start over. Despite tha fact that we were fond of the initial visual explorations for this book, we reluctantly agreed that they weren't working – working in the sense of being a faithful or appropriate reflection of the book.

Gaddis' writing in this book has a very distinct style. There are few paragraphs and his sentences and the thoughts they express often fail to complete themselves before new ones are formed. His writing is a constant, often frenetic stream of consciousness – a mental 'cut & paste'. The initial visual experiments, enticing and appealing as they were did not reflect this sufficiently. Instead I followed the 'cut & paste' analogy and after photocopying pages from the book spent hours cutting out thin strips of selected words from the 'stream of consciousness' and pasting them down to form a overall texture. As in previous projects the visual ideas that were left behind are saved, and as George Hardie told my MA students in a recent workshop “you can't use all your ideas at once – never mind – save them for another day”

The final cover