Game of Thrones Cover: Designer Blog

This case was a really special one for me to design because I finally got to elaborate on the sketches I had done a few years ago for a personal project (to redesign the covers of all my favorite books). The final piece went a completely different direction than the original sketches, but the lettering and some of the design elements remained.

Myself and the KleverCase team brainstormed this one thinking along the same lines as my last design (Hunger Games Cover), where the book could be something you find in the world itself. The idea for the title came from this, and we settled on a survival guide. The irony, of course, is that there really isn't anyone we could safely say wrote this if indeed it was a part of the world! But we circled around some ideas for the author name until my sister actually suggested the winner. I wish I could take credit for it, but I'll be nice. 

When I was coming up with ideas for the layout, I actually looked to the covers of vintage books, with the goal of evoking their styles so they might better fit the world. We settled on a style and the layout/colors we wanted, and I got to work. This series is all about the fight of many houses for a single crown, and what better way to illustrate that than a "storm of swords" from "clashing kings" (see what I did there?) all encircled by the crown they are after? Originally; this image was set in a plain ring on the lower half of the right hand side of the case. The words were more dominant, and the wall ran the length of the case near the spine. The wall was much more subtle, with the sigil filigree inlaid in the wall and running from top to bottom. The background was colored very closely to a traditional map, with greens and browns and blues, but everything was muted except for where the circle sat with the crossed swords.

I spent a lot of hours getting all the details to match our vision, but upon completing it, I had the sense that it wasn't what I hoped it would be. It didn't have the wow factor that my first case did.  A few of the friends (who happen to love A Song of Ice and Fire as much as I do) that I showed it to all loved it, so I chalked my reservations up to me being a perfectionist and sent it in for approval.

Thankfully, Chris at KleverCase brought up similar feelings and was able to articulate what it was I was struggling to define what felt not quite "it" about it, offering some great solutions and new jumping off points for a semi-redesign. I am so thankful that he and I were thinking along the same lines, and that he was better at explaining what wasn't working for me than I was.  

With our new direction in mind, I got to work. The swords and crown became the focal point, centered so that the title was split cleanly in two. With that change, it made more sense to bring the wall into position behind the circle and make it a statement piece of the design. Less subtle. More ice. The placement of the circle and line gave such a good balance to the case that an idea clicked into place in my head for the color scheme. We both agreed it needed to be less "lighthearted" in its color. There definitely needed to be a mood of blood and fire and the color red. But this is A Song of ICE and Fire, and with a whole different set of problems happening beyond the wall, in the cold and the snow, it made sense that whatever was above the line of the wall in the case should be snowy and white(ish). The wall placement in the center made for an easy jump to the distinct color differences on either side. I couldn't help but think "an entire kingdom south of the wall, soaked in blood and battle, it makes sense that this half would be blood red". But I still wanted the map in the background. I opted to keep color out of it, and only introduce an icy blue in the center circle to keep the color structure from being weakened.

I didn't want to lose the sigil filigree, which wouldn't work in the same way when I moved the wall, so I redrew it, wrapping it around the plain edges of the circle and really bringing the center into focus. I chose sigils based on which houses had the most common POV chapters. I would have loved to have added more house sigils but I didn't want to overwhelm the piece, so I added a few more in the inside cover, where my "wall of shields" represented the idea of just how many houses are actually in Westeros. 

As much as I loved how the outside of the case turned out, the inside might be my favorite part. It was something I envisioned exactly the way it turned out. The pattern the house shields makes just really catches your eye, even more than I expected. I think this had a lot to do with all the colors, which I pulled from the outside of the case and elaborated on. 

And for the back of the case, I chose to feature a quote from the book, just as I did in the first case I designed. In this instance, there was no other quote that would have chosen. It's delightfully apt, given the title of the case.


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