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This class, people! It is kicking my butt. One of the things I like about grad school is it definitely forces me out of my comfort zone, and I’m learning all kinds of good things. The short-term downside? So. Much. Work.

I’ve never taken graphic design, and that’s largely what this class is, so that’s why I’ve been quiet here. But now I can share a bit! Check out the learning curve for my first project, designing the cover for a short story by Dorothy Parker.

The story is, “A Telephone Call,” so I couldn’t help but go for the obvious at first (Important Note: All these covers are the full wrap, so the left half is the back cover and the right half is the front):

To keep from being too boring, though, I brought in this one as well (the story was written around the 1920s, so flapper seemed to fit the scene):

Consensus? The flapper was cool, but not quite right, and the telephone wasn’t working either (and was from the wrong time, to boot). Back to the drawing board!

I thought about the concept of the design, and decided my main focus was the fact that she was waiting for this call. After looking at some terrifying photos of bitten nails and lips, I decided smoking was a nervous habit I could feature in some kind of aesthetic way:

Two or three revisions later, came out with this, and realized my ashtray looked more like a drinking glass. Did a little more research…

This is much better! Except…the ashtray is recognizably Great Depression-era–about a decade too late for the story. Not a huge time gap, but enough to irritate those in the know.

Right era, decent concept, but so stark. I was beating my head against a wall by this point (keep in mind, I’m only showing you about 2/3 of the revisions I did on this design). My computer was so stuffed with photos of cigarettes, cigarette stubs, cigarette smoke and ashtrays that I was worried Andrew would think I had some kind of weird nicotine fetish. I still loved the idea of this glamorous girl in the ’20s waiting by the phone, smoking nervously, probably using some fantastic Cruella de Vil-esque cigarette holder. And then I found it. I talked to my professor to make sure she wouldn’t freak out if I overhauled my design yet again, and she gave me the green light to make this:

I finally felt like I had a book that felt like a book. I don’t have a grade back quite yet (I’ve been out for a week, so hopefully tomorrow), but this is the design that makes me happy. There’s a lot I like about this final version, and some things I’m sure could still improve, but I won’t say anything else for now. I’d love to hear what people think!