• Steven Heller

Speed Designing

There is something a little unsettling about “How to Design a Cover in 1:55 Seconds.” Of course, we all know that it really takes at least twice as much time to design a book cover (and then those painful hours of back and forth with editors and marketing experts). But this sped-up video by Lauren Panepinto, creative director of Orbit/Yen Press, revealing over six hours of “my onscreen compositing, retouching, color correction, type obsessing, all condensed down to a slim, sexy one minute 55 seconds of cover design” begs the question: why demystify the process? Aren’t print designers stressed-out enough these days?

Panepinto answers, “Trust me, no one wants to watch it in real-time … and even then I left out the not-as-riveting-onscreen stages of my cover design process, such as reading the manuscript, sifting through Alexia photo shoot outtakes, background photo research, etc. And since this is a series look that has already been established for Soulless and Changeless, there weren’t the usual batches and rounds of versions of different designs that happen with standalone or first-in-a-new-series covers. That would be a weeklong video!”

What this video vividly shows is how Internet technology and resources have truly accelerated the process. What is lost in studied contemplation is made up for in swift animation.

(Don’t blink or you’ll miss the dramatic Eiffel Tower portion.)

About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.View all posts by Steven Heller →