Freakonomics – Penguin Design Award

Our class has been presented with 2 briefs from which to choose: a YCN competition which is to redesign the book jacket for Alice in Wonderland, and the Penguin Design Award which is to redesign the book jacket for Freakonomics, Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit or Carrie’s War.

I’ve chosen to redesign the jacket for Freakonomics as I was initially drawn by the name because I see myself as a bit of a freak and I’m interested in how things work. After reading the book and watching the film I felt like this was a project I’d enjoy explaining through imagery. Christopher Wilson wrote in Eye Magazine:

“The function of a book jacket is to catch the potential reader’s attention – usually in an instant, and amid the visual noise of its neighbours. This is often achieved by abbreviating the book’s contents to a single image that speaks on a greater scale about the book.”

I think this sums up the idea and purpose of a book jacket really well – it will be a healthy challenge to condense the handful of short stories/theories written about in Freakonomics.



I like the natural illustrative qualities in this jacket – it works well to tie the multiple images together and frame the title. The contrast between the image and the author’s name also puts emphasis on the name. I see my jacket being busy with a few separate images/situations being tied together, however I envision more colour and vibrancy.



The word ‘cogs’ drew me to this jacket as economics is about relationships between things and explaining how things work and cogs signify that idea well. The layered composition is something I may incorporate into my jacket – this will work well because, again, economics has layers in which different factors effect each other.



I love the mural effect on this jacket and I could include it partially in my own design adapting it to be based around cogs and machinery themed relationships. The pastel colours create a soft and comfortable mood to set the scene for the book; having vibrant mixes of colour in my design will signify the range of theories talked about in Freakonomics as well as the universality of economics in general.



This style of illustration is similar to some of my own work and the harsh contrast between black and white sets the tone for the book, talking about fraud and governmental issues. I’m not sure what ideas I’d talk from this jacket to apply to my own design, but I really like the style of drawing.



Again, this jacket reminds me own some of my own work – the block colours work well to create a poster-style design which would be usual for further marketing of the book. I will look into the simplification and durability of my own design to cater for marketing purposes. The use of purple relates to dark midnight skies, setting the scene for a book about air raids.


wind in the willowsPaul-Harris-005

This light-hearted approach is something I want to bring to my own work, where I can play around with characters from the book reacting to each other, showing movement and energy. I also feel that I could push some taboo boundaries through a cartoony style as not to offend (too many) people.


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