This was an interesting one - by Patricia Forde, this book is about a world where the very use of words itself is restricted, and the terrible consequences which could befall anyone who pluck words from outside the List:
"In the city of Ark, speech is constrained to five hundred sanctioned words. Speak outside the approved lexicon and face banishment. The exceptions are the Wordsmith and his apprentice Letta, the keepers and archivists of all language in their post-apocalyptic, neo-medieval world.
On the death of her master, Letta is suddenly promoted to Wordsmith, charged with collecting and saving words. But when she uncovers a sinister plan to suppress language and rob Ark’s citizens of their power of speech, she realizes that it’s up to her to save not only words, but culture itself."
The hardcover comes with a selection of words from that list in sticker form so you can see for yourself how hard it would be to work with such a limited vocabulary.
Nicole at Sourcebooks and I had ideas about this cover should look; an air of menace, and darkness, with hints of hope and empowerment. I made many variations to start with, exploring the idea of being muted, a mouth covered, a head full of words, and lots and lots of expressive, writhing ink textures, to suggest unrest and unease:
The final design was the tower block of words, Letta on top hurling sheets of paper into the wind. From rough to final was a fairly quick process, and I really enjoyed doing the blocky type for this, a refreshing breakaway from the cursive swirls that have dominated my lettering life for the last twenty years!
Here's the rough:
And here's the final, with lovely glowing spine lettering:
Thank you Nicole for hiring me for this one - it was a joy!