Society of the Spectacle Book Cover Design

This project is from my Introduction to Design class where I had to create a book cover for Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord. The goal of this project was to create a book cover that expresses the theme of the book, which uses formal contrasts, and asymmetrical-dynamic design. The assignment was to be completed individually and required me to make a 6 in. x 9 in. print which includes the name of the book and author and to use no outside sources.

Mind Map

First Draft

Second Draft

In brief, the book Society of the Spectacle, published in 1967, is about how society oppresses itself through capitalism, media, and social pressures to keep the status quo. To create many different ideas, I made a mind map to figure out what subjects I could create to express this theme. After a couple of class critiques, I noticed that my classmates were not abstracting the theme of the book, but rather focusing on an example of contemporary social pressure. Acknowledging how my classmates were tackling the project, I had decided to make something unique and abstract the theme and only using simple shapes to make the composition. My classmates were using Adobe Illustrator to develop their book covers, but I found that the design I wished to make required a 3D space. I decided to use Blender to design the composition, noting that no other classmate was using 3D modeling to develop their book cover.

The first draft was a large rectangle that casts a shadow on small circles. The idea is that the circles strive to be something that they cannot, and it keeps them oppressed. Issues with this draft included its poor lighting and portraying the idea that a separate force is oppressing the people, rather than the people oppressing themselves. The second draft, fixed issues with the theme. However, it needed further development in its formal contrasts and lighting. For the final version, I tightened the framing, fully desaturated the colors, and increased the lighting contrast to represent the dismal tone of the book. Lastly, I added the book title and author in the top left corner using Adobe Illustrator. I enlarged the words “Society” and “Spectacle” to pronounce their importance in the book’s theme and imagery of the book cover.