Grammar Rules Book Cover Design

Client Kyle Books

Format 198 x 125 mm, hardback, 256 pages

Skills InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, picture research, art working

Grammar Rules is, as the name gives away, a guide to the rules of grammar; written by Craig Shrives and published by Kyle Books.

Grammar Rules book cover design. The full jacket including the front, back and spine. The cover is designed to look like an old school exercise book and features a blue background and distressed 'aged' typography. The author's name, Craig Shrives, is in a handwritten font, as though it has been added by the author himself. The cover also features an ink stamp of a pointing finger, which is based on the Lord Kitchner 'Briton Needs You' World War One poster.The front cover also features the subheading 'Writing with Military Precision' and a quote from the director of the Intelligence Corps, Brigadier Mark Hallas. The quote reads 'Few people understand grammar like Craig Shrives. Best of all, no one explains it so well and so easily'.

A revised Grammar Rules book cover design for a book club edition. The title has been changed to 'Grammar for Grown-Ups'. The cover features a ruled paper background covered with ink splashes and pen and pencil. The type is in the style of a scribbled pen. The subheading and author's name are in a handwritten style. The cover features a new subheading – 'Everything you need to know but never learnt in school'.

The brief: Grammar Rules cover

Kyle Books contracted me to design the cover of Grammar Rules. The book was a straight-talking reference guide to the correct use of grammar. The original title of the book was General Grammar – the author was a former army officer, so the client was keen to find a way to emphasise this military aspect in the design of the book cover. The client had mocked up a rough cover design themselves – it used the iconic Lord Kitchener ‘Your Country Needs You’ First World War recruitment poster, so I took that as my starting point.

The design: Grammar Rules cover

As the client requested, my first options played on the military aspect. The initial designs that I presented included camouflage, dossiers and even a pastiche of the ‘Keep Calm’ poster – which I had to get that one out of my system. I also provided a design using an illustration of a pointing finger, which was based upon the Kitchener image they had supplied in the first instance.

After this stage there was a change – the title became Grammar Rules. This meant the military aspect was no longer relevant. For the new direction I looked at old school books. I settled on a final design based on an old school notebook – I wanted the cover to look ‘worn’. I made the typeface for the title match this look and used a handwritten font for the author’s name. The client still wanted to use the ‘pointing finger’ somehow, so I incorporated it into the design by treating it like an old stamp on the front of the book.

After Grammar Rules was published the client needed a new design for a book club edition. This had a new title – Grammar for Grown-Ups – and was aimed at a different target market, so the design needed to reflect this. I kept the ’school’ look but went for something a bit more playful – this time I used a lined paper background, ink splashes and more hand drawn style typefaces.