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Duma Key

Book Jacket Design

For this project I got to select a book I had recently read and design a full jacket for it. I chose Duma Key by Stephen King, a unique story about a father, Edgar, who is maimed in an industrial accident and moves to the Florida Keys to recover. There he encounters a host of interesting characters, including his neighbor Elizabeth, an elderly lady who lives in a large Spanish villa, and her caretaker, Wireman. Edgar soon finds out that not only has he gained psychic powers while on the island, but that he is in the frontlines in a battle against an ancient entity which hosts a doll. The story is a rollercoaster of love, friendship, tragedy, and healing. It is a story that I love very much, and I was excited and honored to be able to design a jacket for it. Here I show my first three designs, the final being the one I decided to go with, which can also be seen in the mockups. I loved all three designs for different reasons, but I decided to go with the final design because it altogether fit so perfectly with the feel and the mood of the story. Just looking at all sides of the jacket made me feel like I was walking on Duma Key, and that's how I knew it was the right one.

First 3 designs:

For the first design, I included Reba, a Raggedy Ann doll given to Edgar as a coping tool; and the porcelain doll haunted by the spirit of Perse. The two dolls are next to each other but opposite, as a symbol of the fact that though they are both dolls, they play opposite rolls. The backside shows a heron flying upside-down, which is my favorite scene from the book: Edgar had seen a heron all around the island that didn't seem quite right, and one day he saw it flying upside-down and realized that it is not a real heron. The turbulent sea also alludes to the evil spirit of the sea, Perse.

My second design shows a koi pond with a china doll which Elizabeth threw into it. I darkened the tone on this scene to make it more spooky rather than cute. I used the same back cover as the first one, but experimented with text boxes to see the difference. For the inside flyleaf, I used a drawing of a pink beach house which looks like the drawings that Edgar would create.

My third design depicts the haunted doll in front of a raging sea with a spooky ship. This is a direct reference to a scene in the book when Edgar has a vision of Perse. On the backside is a spanish villa representing that of Elizabeth, with an upside-down crane floating over it. 

Final design:


In the redesign I adjusted the justification and heirarchy, changed the font, placement, alignment, and color of text for legibility, and adjusted the pull quote on the back as well as darkening the inner flap so that the paragraphs there are easier to read, I also removed the text frames, opting instead for a feather gradient to make the text on the back more legible--this also created a very spooky atmoshpere on the villa. I changed the heron into a better-quality image. 



For this project I learned a lot about legibility, but the thing I learned the most was how to allude to points of a story without giving it away. I had to focus a lot on what imagery makes this book so iconic and how I could convey that in this context. This project was a blast for me and an absolute honor to create something so directly celebrating one of my favorite books and my favorite author.

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