Illustrator and book designer Luísa Zardo recently shared her evocative system for the paperback of Ecologia, a 2018 novel by Portuguese writer Joana Bértholo. In this experimental work of science fiction, Bértholo imagines a dystopian late capitalist landscape where words become a form of currency. Zardo sets the stage for the story with a sympathetic, hand-drawn illustration of a crowd, where scattered attendants have barcodes over their mouths. The designer makes the bold, admirable choice to overlay the image with a vibrant orange-red, and the resulting effect is simultaneously somber and exciting. Zardo’s bright cover, emotive faces, graphic endpaper lend a sense of action, pathos, and revolutionary history to Bértholo’s work. But most importantly, they make me want to know what happens on the pages inside.
Ecologia is just one recent instance of exciting cover art from Zardo, so if you’re a fan of smart book design, we highly recommend keeping an eye on her work.