Shadow and Light
DECEMBER 15, 2008
I get a call from Farrar, Straus & Giroux to design a book jacket for a novel by Jonathan Rabb that is set in Berlin around 1930. The story centers around a detective and a murder at the Ufa movie studios; the legendary director Fritz Lang is a character in the book. The whole thing reeks of German-noir and Ludwig Hohlwein, and the art director is thinking about something with echoes of Lang’s Metropolis poster.
Fritz Lang movie posters
I send this sketch, everyone likes it, and we try three or four variations of the guy at the bottom. I like to handle all the typography on a project when I can, and on this jacket, for a little joke, I add a small logo that mimics the Ufa logo and uses the initials of the publisher, FSG.
The design is a wrap-around image that shows nighttime Berlin on the back cover. I send off the file and look forward to seeing the book on the shelves in the spring.
A couple of weeks go by, and I get another call informing me that the editors are uncomfortable with the lettering, and they’ve decided to go with this version that uses a straight deco-ish font.
I go downstairs and order a gimlet.
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