Art Design graphic design

Graphic Design In the Wild – Day 15: The Making of Prince of Persia

I didn’t know it at the time, but video games were one of my first exposures to graphic design. The characters, the symbols, the 8-bit graphics, the cover art, all exposed my 8-year old self to graphic design ideas before I even knew what the term graphic design meant.

Enter the book The Making of Prince of Persia. This book is a collection of Jordan Mechner‘s journal entries while he was creating the game Prince of Persia. This documented journey of bringing a video game to life is a masterclass on book design. We’ll focus on the cover only today.

The Making of Prince of Persia is an example of scale. The designer (not sure who), scaled up the 8-bit prince to fill most of the cover. Leaving enough white space (or blue space) to give the 8-bit prince room to “leap” off the cover. The designer then contrasts the large image with one small DOS font for the title and author name. The DOS font reinforces the books 80s coding theme.

This is a counterintuitive choice for a book cover, but one that works. Usually the title font is large and prominent. But the giant 8-bit leaping prince instills the feeling that this book is an adventure. A page-turning experience you’ve never had before.

The Making of Prince of Persia , and other books by Stripe Press, are designed so well I want them all. Not only for their content, but for their visual beauty.

Art Design graphic design

Graphic Design In the Wild – Day 13: The Grand Budapest Hotel Book Introduction Page

Tis’ Grand

As we explore different graphic design pieces, we can’t ignore the book page layout.

This introduction page from Matt Zoller Seitz‘s 2015 book The Grand Budapest Hotel is an excellent example of contrast and framing.

First the color contrast.

You have grandma’s pea soup green (hex code: 594f20ff) located in only two places on the page. In the 1,418 – Word lettering, and the W drop cap. The rest of font color is standardish black (hex code 0f100fff). It’s enough of a color contrast to guide the eye, but not distract the reader.

My favorite piece of the layout though, is the framing.

Designer Martin Venezky uses the word INTRODUCTION to lead your eye down the page while simultaneously framing in the first paragraph. He does this by breaking INTRODUCTION vertically at the C. Of course Martin may have made that choice for an entirely different reason, but that’s how I interpreted it.

Visually this book feels like your thumbing through a cast member’s exquisitely assembled film-shoot scrapbook.

It’s a true page turner in both prose and design.