Yesterday our show and tell theme was visual metaphors, specifically on book covers.
Visual metaphors are actually quite difficult to point out on book covers, I searched my entire book collection and didn’t find any, not strong obvious ones anyway, and thats with books I’ve read. I feel like you have to have read the book to be able to see if there is a metaphor, and even if you have you may not know what the designer was getting at.
There were some good examples in our show and tell, but equally some confused ones.
My choices were American Psycho(Bret Eastern Ellis) and Confessions Of An English Opium Eater(Thomas De Quincey) as they were the only two books I could find in my collection that didn’t have an image that was a straight depiction of the title or the protagonist, or even just a photograph of the author.
The best, most succinct were The Crucible(Arthur Miller), Solo(Rana Dasgupta), Failed It!(Erik Kessals) and The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction(Walter Benjamin)
Chip Kidd does a great job of speaking about his practice and his use of visual metaphors(especially 1Q84) in this TED talk… click here
Also just watch any videos of Chip Kidd, he is great.
I’m not gonna be able to stop thinking about visual metaphors now, and I think it’s definitely an interesting subject, and probably something we do all the time when designing without even noticing.