Last winter, Ooligan students were far too busy to notice Portland’s infamous rain—-we were hard at work on one of publishing’s most demanding creative challenges: designing the cover that will grace one of Ooligan’s forthcoming titles when we send it out to greet the world.
Having worked on the editorial team for Ooligan’s upcoming young adult release, A Series of Small Maneuvers, I was keen to see the creative process up close, as was author Eliot Treichel, who eagerly awaited a chance to see the cover that would introduce readers to the book’s story of grief, survival, and growing up. Ooligan’s design students did not disappoint. In a creative process that lasted five weeks and three full rounds of individual critiques, eight different designers submitted more than nineteen covers for feedback, working with fellow students to refine their ideas into fully realized cover concepts for a final vote by the whole press.
This process was remarkable, not only because of how many Ooligan students submitted cover designs, but also because of how much the designs themselves developed through the term, evolving and improving to the point of utter transformation. Sitting in those weekly design meetings and listening as students gave each other feedback on everything from font selection to color palettes to point size, I was amazed at the dedication of these artists as, week by week, they channeled raw creative energy, tempered by constructive criticism, to forge covers so eye-catching that we only wished we could print them all. As the three finalists show, each cover offered a distinctive interpretation of Eliot’s story, offering readers astonishingly different windows into the book’s themes of coping with loss by taking life one “small maneuver” at a time:
Cover Finalists: The Top Three