Penguin Book Cover Submission – Animal Farm

As part our our course work we were asked to design a book cover for either or both of two classic books; Animal Farm by George Orwell or Naughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman.

I was immediately drawn to Animal Farm as I find Orwell’s work to be shocking and vivid. Animal Farm is his classic which uses the revolt of farm animals as an allegory for the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. The reason it’s influence is so long lasting and pervasive. Is that the topics explored of devious political maneuvering and corruption can be applied to so many administrations including contemporary ones.

While I found myself drawn to this book, it’s popularity was a double edged sword. As a result of its commercial success, numerous book cover designs have been created. To put it simply, a lot of the best ideas have been taken.


As you can tell, there is somewhat of a theme in the book. I had to find an effective and visual appealing cover that would not be simply a reworking of existing designs. Basically, make it look nice, be implicitly descriptive of the books themes and don’t just shove a pig in the centre of the page.

After experimenting with numerous ideas and visual style, I elected to go with an effect I have always been interested in. I wanted to build a silhouette of a windmill. After the image of the pig, the windmill is certainly one of the most important themes of the book.

I was very pleased with my early outcomes, the only bumps in the road I was worried about were the over simplicity of my designs, as well as the fact that the line tracing pieces were quite intricate in their own way and so would become very difficult to make out once all the cover copy was applied, the blurb and title would do a lot to obscure the details and diminish the effect.

I decided to stick with the windmill silhouette as i liked the contrast it gave my page and it has a rather gaunt and rustic look as if it was cobbled together by sentient farm animals. What I now needed to do was find a way of bringing more depth and texture to a very flat and sparsely detailed piece.

IMG_20180302_0002.jpgI used a number of acrylic paints to create a textured image somewhat reminiscent of a vibrant skyline. The colour was intended to combine a skyline with the thematically important shade of green. This colour clearly represents the ideology of the early animal farm, symbolising freedom from oppression.

I also painted and edited some of the key text from the book, First, i daubed the words ‘Animal Farm’ and then the most famous quote from the book ‘All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.’ These turned out very well.


I used black paint on white paper before inverting the colours and increasing the contrast to allow the type to sit perfectly on my silhouette without losing the rough edges that are so important to the painted texture effect.

Book Cover silloutte.jpg

At this point I started building up my layers. The key concept for this book cover was for the front cover to represent the beginning of the revolt. The infectious atmosphere of optimism and new found freedom. The windmill acting as a centrepiece and a symbol of all of the animals efforts.

The rear cover then, was the downfall of Animal Farm as an idea. The windmill is broken, as were the spirits of the animals and the ideology of Old Major. The sky has also turned red to symbolise the return of the human way of life, as now dictated by the pigs. The broken windmill was created by simply cutting parts from the complete windmill and arranging them in a dishevelled and dilapidated manner. I also wanted to fade the ‘Animal Farm’ text, but I decided to leave some areas lighter that would spell out the word ‘LIAR’ the symbolise the betrayal the the principles of Animalism that occurred.

Final Piece in minion.jpg

Here then, is my final outcome. I was very happy with the finished product especially since it was almost entirely the work of a weekend. Up until very near to the deadline I was tooling around with endless ideas that would not produce anything to the standard I wished to produce. This then is pretty much as good as I could do with the time I had. I’m very happy with it and it’s now simply a case of waiting for feedback from the Penguin Publishing judges.


Persuasion – Health

Thus assignment is focused on persuasion. The aim is to create an effective and communicative message to persuade audiences to create change or contemplate and learn about issues they may have been unaware or apathetic about.

We were asked to pick broad categories on which to focus in groups, each group member would pick their own specific cause that fit into that category. I chose voluntary euthanasia as my cause.

Voluntary Euthanasia

This topic is, for want of a more appropriate word, rather ‘niche’. It is however, a very important topic for anyone for whom it becomes relevant to. Voluntary euthanasia is a very current moral debate. The reason I felt compelled to focus on this cause was the documentary about one of my favorite authors, Sir Terry Pratchett (1948-2015). In 2007, aged 59, he publicly announced that he had a rare form of early onset Alzheimer’s, called posterior cortical atrophy. He committed himself to raising awareness of the condition and became a strong advocate for voluntary euthanasia, even creating  documentary called ‘Choosing to Die’ where he explored the topic as well as traveling to Dignitas to accompany a patient ending their own life.

“I vowed that rather than let Alzheimer’s take me, I would take it. I would live my life as ever to the full and die, ­before the disease mounted its last ­attack, in my own home, in a chair on the lawn, with a brandy in my hand to wash down whatever modern ­version of the “Brompton cocktail” some ­helpful medic could supply. And with ­Thomas Tallis on my iPod, I would shake hands with Death.” – Sir Terry Pratchett

Currently the practice is rare. As of November 2017, human euthanasia is legal in the Netherlands, Belgium, Colombia, Luxembourg and Canada Assisted suicide is legal in Switzerland, Germany, Japan, and in the US states of Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Vermont, Montana, Washington DC, and California.

Currently momentum is slowly building to allow voluntary euthanasia in more countries. I can understand concerns about the process. There are strong arguments on both sides of the isle.


  • An important freedom is the right to die. There are those, a very small minority, but nevertheless there are people in very rare circumstances who chose euthanasia. For some, it could be argued that this is the right choice. If a person is suffering unbearable chronic pain or other afflictions that give them a very poor quality of life, Some would like the ability to take control of their fate.
  •  It is a legal right in the UK for an Adult to act as they see fit in private as long as they cause no harm to others. Death is surely a private matter and needs to consent.
  • Regulated, controlled euthanasia gives a far less traumatic way out for someone seeking to end their life. This is true for them and their family and loved ones. Forewarning can allows people to process the fact of death and not be damaged by potentially discovering the individual who has ended their own life by chance.
  • Terminal Illnesses can be painful and immensely traumatic. Whether the symptoms are physical, such as locked in syndrome, where a person is conscious but unable to perform the slightest physical action. Or a degenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s which often leads to senility long before death. Should victims of these afflictions be forced to undergo this trauma unnecessarily?
  • There are numerous instances of carers of terminally ill or heavily disabled people being prosecuted after having helped their loved ones end their lives because the patient was physically incapable. While it must be determined that this is indeed what happened. Those carers are forced to endure further trauma after assisting in suicide. Something they may not be equipped to handle.
  • This is less of an argument than a side effect, But if a terminally ill patient who wishes to die is kept alive despite that then they may incur huge costs in public health resources and finances. This seems cruel as well as wasteful.
  • Those who have the capacity and the will to end their own lives will do so regardless of the law. But they may not be equipped to do it properly or in a way which is as painless as possible. This often brings unnecessary trauma to the deceased and their family.


  • Many religions have tenants that suicide is a sin and therefore forbidden as your creator is the one who gave you life and therefore the only one allowed to take it away. It wasn’t until the Suicide Act (1961) that suicide ceased to be a criminal offence in the UK.
  • Abuse of the system us potential danger with government sanctioned voluntary euthanasia. It can be hypothesized that an elderly family member with a large estate could be pressured into being euthanized by a family in order to claim inheritance. Or that an elderly or disabled person may feel a burden to their carers.
  • Accepting euthanasia could be seen to be accepting that some lives hold less value than others,
  • Euthanasia is irreversible and may not be the appropriate path for a patient who may be in need of psychological care or other options.
  • Allowing euthanasia may lead to less quality of care for vulnerable groups and less incentive for doctors to keep some patients alive to the best of their abilities.
  • There are those who believe voluntary euthanasia may lead governments to overstep this and move to involuntary euthanasia.

There are powerful arguments on both sides. I was not previously aware of some of the anti-euthanasia arguments. To be clear, should voluntary euthanasia be legalized, there would have to be a huge deal of regulation and checks and balances instituted to prevent nay of the concerns arrayed against voluntary euthanasia coming to fruition.


Research – Dogs

Highest Dog Population by Country

  • 10. Romania (4.1 million)
  • 9. France (7.4 million)
  • 8. Argentina (9.2 million)
  • 7. India (10.2 million)
  • 6. Phillipines (11.6 million)
  • 5. Japan (12.0 million)
  • 4. Russia (15.0 million)
  • 3. China (27.4 million)
  • 2. Brazil (35.7 million)
  • 1. USA (75.8 million)

Extraordinary Dogs

  • Largest Litter




    The largest litter of puppies is 24, all of whom were born on 29 November 2004 to Tia, a Neopolitan mastiff, owned by Damian Ward (UK) and Anne Kellegher (Ireland) of Manea, Cambridgeshire, UK.

    They were born by Caesarian section, one was still born, three died in the first week. There were nine females, 15 males in total. Tia’s full name is Abellatino Arabella. The father is called Caesar.

  • Largest Dog Biscuit



    The largest dog biscuit weighed 279.87 kg (617 lb) and was made by Hampshire Pet Products (USA) in Joplin, Missouri, USA, on 8 July 2011. The biscuit was 1.16 m (3.8 ft) wide, 5.79 m (19 ft) long and 0.04 m (1.63 in) deep. It required a total of 10 bakers to bake it. The biscuit was baked to celebrate the company’s 10 year anniversary and when the attempt was over, it was broken into smaller pieces and distributed to dogs at the Humane Society in Joplin, MO.

  • Largest Dog ZEUS



    Measuring an incredible 111.8 cm (44 in) from foot to withers, Zeus is the same size as an average donkey.Standing on hind legs, he stretches to 7 ft 4 in and towers over his owner Denise Doorlag. The humongous hound weighs 70.3 kg (155 pounds or 11 stone) and eats around 12 cups of food a day (equivalent to one whole 30-lb bag of food!).

  • Smallest Dog (living)

Examples of dogs helping people

  • Swansea Jack (1930 – October 1937) was a famous Welsh dog that rescued 27 people from the docks and riverbanks of Swansea, Wales.
  • He was a Black Retriever

  • Frida the Labrador retriever made global headlines after the Mexican president praised her work following a deadly 7.1 magnitude quake.
  • Employed by the Mexican navy.
  • Frida belongs to SEMAR and has helped save 52 lives in various natural disasters at national and international levels.

  • Angel the 18 moth old Golden Retriever fought off a cougar about to attack an 11 year old boy.
  • Happened in Bar Boston, a small Canadian town some 150 miles north of Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • Happened in 2010.

  • Kelsey the Golden Retriever
  • A man who broke his neck outdoors in freezing conditions survived lying in snow for nearly 24 hours thanks to his dog, who kept him warm through the night and barked for help.
  • Temperatures of around -4C.
  • “I was screaming for help but my nearest neighbour is about a quarter mile away and it was 10.30 pm, but my Kelsey came,” said Bob.


Further Complicating Matters

As I have already outlined in my blog, I have decided to combine a website and animation as a means of showing my info graphic designs. What I have now come to the realisation of, is that I would like to add another element to this. It is perfectly easy to have, in my online maps, hyperlinks which would then show further information. My idea is to create a series of maps detailing various worldwide statistics as well as highlighting the locations and dates of certain important instances.

These would include:

  • First archaeological evidence of domesticated dogs
  • Locations of important dogs (largest, smallest, most expensive, rarest, fastest etc.)
  • Locations of news stories involving dogs (disaster response, protection, lifeguard, firefighting etc.)
  • Working breeds (hunting dogs, guard dogs, sled dogs)

Other examples may follow but these are simply off the top of my head. I may have a short time in which to do this, but now that I have inspiration I will be able to proceed quickly and efficiently. I work well under pressure.

One other advantage to this idea is that the maps could double as printed ephemera with very little extra work. I will show my research and progress in later blog posts.

Inspiring Example of Visual Storytelling Online

GoSquared –

GoSquared is a website that creates beautiful pieces of infographic work. One such example is The London Olympics in 2012. They created a live infographic showing some of the huge numbers that dominated the Olympic games.

The reasons I include this example are numerous. The website presents the information in a visually pleasing way, you interact with the graphic as you scroll. As you move past the statistic for the 100m record, a runner moves across the screen, its movement directly relating to your scrolling.

I also really like the layout and narrative aspect of the sight. The information is presented in a linear fashion, factoid by factoid, as you move down the page. Each graphic has its own illustration or animation which transition seamlessly into the  page.

The design style is also very compelling. The fundamental theme is illustrations of light grey on a darker grey background. It’s beautifully simple. However some slides are in colour when it is appropriate. When I reached the fact about gold medals being largely comprised of silver, the page transitioned from gold to silver.

The facts chosen are very wide ranging and give a deeper story of the Olympic Games than a simple dry list of statistics. There are facts on competition, the effect on London, the wider world and seemingly randomly, the weight of potatoes consumed for the games. While being useful and conveying good information. There is a human element included as well.

Rule of Three –

Rule of three is a website that offers three primary services, hence the name. It is a very typography heavy website. It is clean and crisp in its layout. It is entirely monochrome and while what I have described thus far is nothing extraordinary, it really is worth a look.

The website works in a similar format as GoSquared. It is laid out in a linear fashion controlled by the reader scrolling down through it. It is not text heavy, it relies on a combination of text, image, illustration and animation to create a seamless viewing experience.

As you scroll through the sight it follows the traditional narrative of a commercial brand, but it does so in a beautiful way. It interacts as you move down. Transitions are done in various ways but always crisply and with elegance. There are a series of smokey Roshack ink blot-esc patterns at intervals between information heavy sections.

I can only describe this page in sections, but this does not do it justice as it is actually one fluid page that you descend through. But each section has its own distinct style, there is no fear of being bored by repetition. Despite this, a strong theme follows throughout.

I don’t think I’ve spent such a long time scrolling through a sight whose message didn’t interest me. The design choices are intriguing enough without the need to even care about the content of the message.

Evoenergy –

This website catalogues the pattern of the UK’s energy consumption over past decades. It is at its core, an incredibly simple and basic website design. It uses the same scrolling format as the previous two and contains numerous simple graphs and diagrams in beautiful pastel colours. But this only adds to its charm in my opinion.

It features in its centre a tree whose leaves represent the entirety of the energy consumption of the UK. This seems like an obvious nod to the environmental impact of our fuel consumption. The tree is very stylised. Its leaves are made up of circles of varying sizes and colours. Energy use by type is displayed in the colour of these circles, or leaves. The percentage of the tree that is that colour correlates to the percentage of the energy source used.

There is a tab to the side of the tree with decades  marked out. As you click on them the tree changes to represent the usage data in that decade. Pretty basic. They creators did include a tab to navigate the fuel sources and give exact percentages of each source used. This is a nice touch because it offers solid statistics and compliments the visual story. The visual representation is simply there to show general trends. For example it is a moment works to scroll through the decades and see that use of solid fuels is consistently declining.

The design of this sight is very aesthetically pleasing while not sacrificing any efficiency in information conveyance. I also like the little touches such as one of the tabs bobbing as it appears to be held aloft by balloons. There are also cloud that drift by gently as you take in the information.

Overall this sight appeals to me for its user-friendly nature. It is a pleasant thing to look at. It just looks polished and perfected. The design style consists of simple geometric shapes like the first things you create in Adobe Illustrator. But this only serves to keep the message of the sight in focus. There is no clutter.

My Thoughts 

The idea of creating a website in the same vain as these examples for my project really appeals to me. Having something permanently available to the world that is a very basic tool to help people navigate a small collection of information quickly and in an anjoyable way.


Visual Story Telling Brief

We have been asked to create a narrative through visual story telling on any subject we choose. The idea is to create a visual piece that uses a systematic approach to convey statistics or other forms of information.

There are numerous forms of visual information we use on a daily basis without even taking conscious notice of them.


  • Street SignsImage result for uk street signs

The world is full of street signs, many countries have their own approach to these signs, but all of them follow a theme. They all revolve around the use of isotype.  Isotype is a means of communicating simple messages in a visual form that is more universally recognized than text. Visual representations of the message are created to quickly bring to mind the subject matter and allow those who see the symbol to react accordingly.

One reason Isotype is used so universally in road networks is to allow people internationally to comprehend their meaning.without having to understand the language. While many signs include some text, they are designed to be comprehensible regardless of this.


The term hieroglyphics refers to a system of writing using ancient Egyptian symbols. The hieroglyphics involved a series of ‘picture’ words. Consisting of several hundred words, this system of writing was intensely complex and very labor intensive. The first hieroglyphics were used on buildings and tombs. It is believed that the Egyptians first began developing this system of writing about 3000 BC.

Similar to istype, hieroglyphs were ancient examples of using pictures as language. They would represent actions or events and tell a story in a linear fashion.


Wingdings is somewhat of a phenomenon as it is a commonly available typeface that consists of seemingly random symbols in place of alphabetical letters.

‘In the early ’90s, it was one of the first times people realized fonts could break through to the mainstream. One of the creators of Wingdings, Charles Bigelow, of the legendary design studio Bigelow & Holmes, told me Wingdings marked one of the first times a font became part of the popular culture.’

‘As a means of writing sentences, Wingdings fails — but that was never its purpose. It was created to be used as a unique tool for the pre-internet era. It was akin to emojis, but with even more utility.’

‘Today it’s easy to cut and paste images from the internet, but it used to be a lot harder. There were few ways to get images, files were way too large for puny hard drives, and they were of poor quality. Even worse, it was tough to get pictures to play nicely with text. Fonts like Wingdings provided a workaround by giving people high-quality, scalable images that didn’t clog up their hard drives.’

Wingdings then, is not much good for story telling of any kind. Unless, it seems, you are a conspiracy theorist. In my research I found an odd story regarding Wingdings and the events in New York on September 11th, 2001 or 9/11.

According to some, the Wingdings font predicted the events of that day. This theory comes from the fact that if you type Q33NY in Wingdings it will turn them into images that seem to relate to the events. It’s clear to me that this is very dubious. But the story seems to have gripped many people and as far as stories telling goes, this story made a large impact on people.



Infographics – Final Product

The info-graphic task we were set, while on its surface, something quite simple, involved a long process and development and refinement. I was originally confident I could produce a comprehensive final piece quite quickly, but all my ideas turned out to be quite underwhelming and required a lot of further work.

The difficulty with this task was creating something that met three primary requirements:

  • Effective and intuitive depiction of information
  • Strong visual language and aesthetic qualities
  • Thematic design relating to the subject matter

Here is my submission. And I will detail the ways in which I have attempted to achieve the above requirements.

Each of these images signifies the results of the study with the diagrams representing, from left to right, Ground Floor, Firts Floor and Second Floor.

For the first point, I decided on a colour coded combination between a bar and pie chart. The colours each signify an action taken by participants in the study.

This is the final format of my graphic. I placed the individual images in a vertical row that correlates to the floor plan of the building. The idea was that the diagram could be mistaken as a set of buttons in an elevator or could simply double as a sign to help people find the bathrooms in the building.  This key signifies the meaning of each colour used in the graphic. The colours were carefully chosen for two reasons. Firstly, our group had already agreed to use a pastel colour scheme in our work. That is represented in the background of each diagram.

In order to create a contrast with this I decided that the main body of my graph should consist of bold primary colours. The colours are chosen carefully based on the general perception of each colour.

  • Yellow, is bright and vibrant, it represents the independent mind that would ignore the sign and make its own decisions.
  • Red is generally associated with passion, either anger of love. In this case it represents the anger and discontent of those who complained.
  • Green signifies a willingness to consider the situation and engage with the issue at hand.
  • Blue is a colour associated with sadness and resignation. The idea here being that those represented by the blue colour immediately resigned themselves to the fact that they were being turned away.


My thoughts

This was a group project and so one of my groups first failings was a lack of communication. While we all wanted to produce something unique, we should have made more of an effort to keep a few consistent themes that would tie our work together and make it clear that it is a collection of work rather than three separate examples.

On the other hand, I was very happy with my outcome. This final rendition was entirely created in the last day of the project and marked a major change in my work, as I had gotten quite bogged down with a lack of solid ideas up until that point.

The others in my group also delivered exceptional outcome. One creating a stop motion animation in a style reminiscent of the ‘Out of Order’ signs we originally drew up and the other creating an A3 spread in the same style detailing the data in stick figure form.

While all of our work could use refinement, I think this was a very successful first dive into Info Graphic design and it will help us progress in upcoming information design projects.