Novita Angka is the talented designer who developed the concept and layout of The Banda Islands: Hidden Histories and Miracles of Nature for Kabar Media, which won the Book Design (Entire Book) Bronze at the 2018 Adobo Design Awards Asia in Manila. We asked Novita about her inspiration when it came to the challenge of creating a cover design that could showcase the very diverse content of the anthology.
What was your starting point when it came to designing the cover for The Banda Islands?
In my opinion, a book cover is one of the most important parts of a book. It must represent the book in a two-second glimpse. It’s an invitation to uncover the world within, a visual teaser that makes readers want to dive into the book to know more.
With that in mind, my starting point would be trying to understand what the book is all about. So I talked with Jan about it. What kind of book she would like to make, her expectations, and so on. And then I read the manuscript.
“For the visual style, I was inspired by illustrated movie posters.”
How did you decide on the style of The Banda Islands cover design and how did you adapt the style to the content of the book? What were your sources of inspiration?
The Banda Islands is an anthology. There are so many stories and figures and visuals that are interesting to include in the cover. Then I thought, why not? But I understand that it is impossible to communicate everything, so I asked Jan to help me pick a few from many. For the visual style, I was inspired by illustrated movie posters. It’s amazing how those posters can combine all the elements and scenes into a beautiful piece of art. And everybody loves illustration, right?
What was the process involved in creating the cover, from the initial drawings to completion?
It was a challenging process. I really am not an illustrator. I’m only a graphic designer who loves to draw. So, the process might be a bit unusual.
After research and collecting references, I made a digital illustration to compose and stitch all the elements into a desirable layout. It was for Jan’s reviewing purposes only, so it looked like a mess. Images, sketches, and texts, all in one composition. Jan and I were perfecting the composition in digital form. Once the composition was final, I started the drawing process using pencils and technical pens. The last thing was to add the finishing touches and colours digitally.
“The visuals should support the essence of the entire book.”
What are some of your own favourite book covers? What do you think is the most important quality that a book cover should have?
Honestly, I have so many favourites. Just to name a few that just popped into my head, I love Stefan Sagmeister’s Made You Look, Leonard Mlodinow’s Subliminal, Alan Connor’s The Joy of Quiz, oh and all books designed by Kenya Hara. I’m a huge fan!
I think a book cover should have the ability to capture the book inside in some fundamental way, the visuals should support the essence of the entire book.
“Of course, designing this book made me want to visit the Banda Islands!”
Are there any other thoughts you’d like to share about the experience of creating the book as a whole?
I’ve designed a few books in my career as a graphic designer, and each one was a great experience for me. Helping Jan create the Banda book in particular was another great experience – this is the first anthology that I have ever designed. Combining all the different aspects of the content was challenging, but fun nonetheless. The drawing process for the cover really sharpened my patience and drawing skills. It encouraged me to draw more. And of course, designing this book made me want to visit the Banda Islands! I hope I’ll have the chance to visit in the future. It’s already on my bucket list.
© Kabar Media 2018
To find out how and where to buy The Banda Islands: Hidden Histories and Miracles of Nature, click here.