Monday, November 14, 2011

Two views of The Valley

Hot from the design department at Vintage Books, comes some new concept artwork for The Valley of Unknowing. It makes for quite a contrast from the previous attempt (see below), and I've given it the thumbs up.Something like this will go on the bound proofs, and doubtless there will be more tweaks before the final version appears on the first edition.

I don't think the designers had an easy time with this one. 1980s East Germany was a place of many arresting images, but the fashions were atrocious and the backdrops either soulless or decaying. I like to think The Valley of Unknowing is quite a vibrant story (love, sex, death and plumbing - all play a part), and that's hard to convey in such an apparently gloomy setting. I sent over a disk crammed with 'inspirational' images, but I was never confident they would help. All-in-all, I think this is a good solution: the general feel of the image strikes me as Middle European (or at least European), and there is plenty of blood pumping through the deep red of the title.

As for the shout line, that too is up-for-grabs. In the end, we may not use one, relying instead on a past review or an endorsement. That would be my preference, because it would effectively kill two birds with one stone.

5 comments:

liz fenwick said...

I like the new cover and I like the shout line...i wouldn't have picked up the first cover but would the second..
lx

Philip S said...

Thanks, Liz. That's very good to know. I wasn't very keen on the first attempt, but fortunately Harvill were great about it and immediately set about coming up with an alternative.

parisgirl said...

i love the new cover, philip - for me it evokes the coldness and bleakness of the place without being depressing. and i like the tagline too - a good hook, i reckon.

Philip S said...

Thank you,PG! The tag line, if we use one, is currently: 'Desire is dangerous. Love can be fatal.'
How does that grab you?

parisgirl said...

experienced the first part, philip. came close to the second...
as for endorsements or reviews, i always find them a little off-putting because as you know...a designer can cherry-pick words and use ellipses...and string a whole lot of unconnected words together... making a tidy little 'high-five' about the book. i never read them. just me??
i LOVE the plumbing bit, by the way!