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I’m not quite sure what grabbed me first when I saw the cover design for Antony John’s Five Flavors of Dumb the odd title or the cover itself.


At first glance, the cover holds its own in the mood department. Dumb’s protagonist, Piper, appears to be resilient and no-nonsense. There’s a seriousness to this cover, despite the fact that its title suggests the exact opposite. In fact, this doesn’t even look like a cover. It lends itself more to the likeness of a movie poster. Or better yet, a band’s promotional poster, with Piper as its assumed frontwoman (but really band manager). The girl portraying Piper is especially striking, highlighted by a soft color palette of stage lights behind her.

I absolutely love a layered look. The process is often painstaking and I have a huge amount of respect for someone whose creation involves element upon element to create a final work that, well, works. Penguin’s cover designer Kristin Smith appeared to set out to cover as many bases as she could when it came to creating a design that encapsulated what Dumb was about. I particularly love the ripped up concert posters, the dirty texture of both the upper and lower half of the cover, each reflecting a side of the edgy music that plays throughout this book.

I could write a few more paragraphs as to why Dumb’s cover, well, rocks. (Sorry I couldn’t help myself) Luckily, Antony John and Kristin Smith spent some time answering a boatload of questions varying from design process to print texture to Antony’s intial reaction on seeing the cover. You’ll also get a peek at a first comp Smith designed for the cover. These posts will be going up tomorrow and Wednesday, so stay tuned.

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Bryan Williams