Here are the results of the 50 Watts' Polish Book Cover Contest, which asked contestants to design the "Polish edition" of their favorite book. Poland's incredibly rich history of book design can be seen in the new book 1000 Polish Book Covers. To sample some real covers and read more about the contest rules, see this post.
A huge thank you to my co-judges, Aleksandra and Daniel Mizieliński (editors of 1000 Polish Book Covers, founders of Hipopotam Studio, and book collectors) and Peter Mendelsund (book cover designer and the man behind Jacket Mechanical).
The Winner: Ben Jones for 1984
I asked Ben to write about himself and his design:
I am an illustrator from Manchester, England and have been working as a freelance illustrator since graduating from my degree in Design and Visual Arts in 2006. I have a big passion for Eastern European illustration and design, in particular Polish illustration, which is what drew me to this competition. I really enjoy looking at Polish illustration. I find the way in which the ideas are communicated very interesting. Polish artists seem to use the atmosphere of the narrative to carry the artwork forward. This is what I tried to do with my 1984 book cover. I used a mixture of print making and collage to create the image.
Second place: Singeon (Nicolas Gallet) for The Baron in the Trees
Bio: Singeon is a Paris-based comics author. He has drawn in zines for a few years and his two first big books come out this year, Bienvenue and Sauvetages. He continues to participate in multiple projects, from rock-themed comics to Polish book contests. He's fond of water, monsters, rain forests, and love stories. He's currently working on a sci-fi comic, codename Space Ranch, about a family exiled in space.
Third place: Bas Alberts for House of Leaves
Bas Alberts from Amsterdam (contact mrbassy [at] gmail [dot] com) writes about his cover:
The cover design is based on one of my favorite books House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. The book is not your typical haunted house horror story. It's layered with secrets, codes (Morse) and mystery. It’s a labyrinth in itself, written in a maze-like way. I tried to create a simple, striking image in red, black, and white. A house with an enormous lock to contain all its secrets, surrounded by leaf-like shapes that form a pattern similar to that of a labyrinth. Underneath the book title is Morse code which is a reference to a chapter in the book where some of the main characters hear a knocking from somewhere deep inside the house, a knocking patterned after the Morse code emergency signal SOS (save our souls). Considering the book isn't your ordinary horror novel, I tried not to make it too 'dark' but kind of left it open to the viewer's interpretation as to which genre it actually is. The design was mainly hand drawn and then run through illustrator and photoshop. All in all I'm very pleased with the end result and hope other people will like it too.
More judges' favorites:
George Stajsic, Descent of Man
George was basically tied for third place (I'm sending you something, George!). He "lives in Melbourne, Australia, works as a graphic designer and spends most of his time trying to figure things out (without much success as yet.) Feel free to email hints and/or solutions (george.stajsic [at] gmail [dot] com)."
Ada Buchholc, Alice in Wonderland
Ada Buchholc, Alice in Wonderland, with back cover
Andrew Brozyna, The Hobbit
Laszlito, Poética para Cosmonautas
Elena Giavaldi, Choke
Marc Storrs and Rob Morphy, To Kill a Mocking Bird
Chris Reams, Pasazer O (contact at chris [at] skipnwhistle [dot] com)
Anna Kövecses, Pulp
Bhavi Mehta, The Monochrome Madonna
"My name is Bhavi Mehta, and I am graphic designer based out of New Delhi, India.
My entry for the competition is a cover for my most recent favorite crime novel titled The Monochrome Madonna, by the fabulous Indian writer Kalpana Swaminathan.
The idea for the cover revolves around everyday articles like a safety pin, a comb etc, which the murderer collects as keepsakes from his victims." [bhavi.nift [at] gmail [dot] com]
Carlos Pozo, Blood Meridianalso see his blog
Bobby Breidholt, Lalli the Lamppost
"Lalli Ljósastaur (Lalli the Lamppost) was a popular Icelandic children's book about a basketball playing kid who got turned into a giant by some elves or something. Being a giant helped his basketball playing."
Daniel Carter, Inherent Vice
Louis Wood, The Lord of the Flies(lawood [at] hotmail [dot] co [dot] uk)
Bas Alberts, The Fountainhead
Third place winner Bas Alberts also landed two additional covers in one or more of the judges' top tens.
Bas Alberts, The Lord of the Rings
Marc Storrs and Rob Morphy, On the Track of Unknown Animals
Michelle Duckworth, Gormenghast
Matthew Hollister, Jailbird
Andrew Evan Harner, The Jungle Book(harner100 [at] gmail [dot] com)
Peter Mendelsund wanted to give a special nod to Emmanuel Polanco's Lolita:
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