Jeff Minkevics discusses cover for Type

July 1, 2013 Five Rivers will release Alicia Hendley’s second novel, Type.

The novel focuses on the fallout from the Social Media Era, when rates of divorce, crime, and mental illness were sky-rocketing and civilization was at its breaking point. As a result, prominent psychologists from around the globe gathered together to try to regain social order through scientific means.

Their solution? Widespread implementation of Myers-Briggs personality typing, with each citizen assessed at the age of twelve and then sent to one of sixteen Home Schools in order to receive the appropriate education for their Type and aided in choosing a suitable occupation and life partner.
North American society becomes structured around the tenets of Typology, with governments replaced by The Association of Psychologists. With social order seemingly regained, what could go possibly wrong?

Trade paperback 6 x 9
ISBN 9781927400296
eISBN 9781927400302
Available July 1, 2013

Five Rivers’ Art Director, Jeff Minkevics, kindly took time from his busy schedule to talk about the cover he’s recently created for Alicia Hendley’s forthcoming YA SF novel, Type.

Q: What was the creative trigger for the cover of Type?

JM: Oddly enough, the inspiration for this one came from a Visual Communications class I’d taken while at ACAD, that was simply titled ‘Lettering’. Computer assisted design was just coming into its own, and although I had some Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator experience, they wanted to put all of us through our paces in an ‘old school’ manner, doing typesetting and hand-crafting in a manner that was similar to how it had been done in the past. One of my assignments was to produce a poster that used letters as design elements without them forming actual words. I was really into H. R. Giger at the time, and figured some sort of industrial 3-d ‘wall’ visual with inset/embossed letters would satisfy the requirements, so I created a grid of letters on illustration board and spent a week or so creating airbrushed 3-d ‘alien pipe’ effects around them in a strange yellow-green industrial sort of way. When I realized that this particular novel was about Meyers-Briggs typing, where every personality type could be represented by four letters, I made the connection to that piece right away.

Q: Tell us a little about how you decided to realize that inspiration?

JM: When I thought of Meyers-Briggs typing in the way it had been presented in the novel, I immediately focused on the whole notion of dehumanizing someone – the act of breaking them down into a category rather than seeing them as a person with their own wishes and desires. I visualized streaming computer data on a LCD screen, with rows and rows of personality types flying by, each one representing an individual person. Then I realized that 3 out of the 4 letters in the title of the book were actual letters that were used when defining Meyers-Briggs personality types, and that the missing ‘Y’ could easily be re-created by substituting either a modified ‘J’ or an ‘I’. With the rows of data meant to be read left to right, I imagined an accidental vertical alignment that spelled ‘Type’, and the whole concept solidified for me.

Q: Why choose the colours you have, or was that simply personal preference?

JM: I realized fairly quickly that I didn’t want to go with an excessively ‘computer’ font, because the whole concept was more about human beings making high-level choices about how other human beings were going to be sorted rather than an arbitrary computerized choice. So, rather than focus on a green electric-light effect or something similar, I went for more of a 3-d ‘classical lighting’ steel effect for the letters themselves, so the categories would have a more ‘set in stone’ feel to them rather than a ‘decided by computer’ feel. Because this story was about a revolution of sorts, I went with blood red to differentiate the vertical ‘accidental’ spelling of the book name, with a hint of a blood spatter thrown in to the ‘Y’. A very pale green was used as background for Alicia’s name because it contrasted the red nicely, and allowed that portion of the cover to pop. Though most of the book cover is a series of letters, the two things that dominate the cover are the red ‘Type’ lettering, and the green-backed author’s name, which is as it should be.

Q: Was the cover the result of several prototypes, or did you experience an epiphany?

JM: Honestly, I was surprised how quickly this one came together. I remember thinking “Hey, I think I have a solid idea for this cover! I should do a quick sketch of it in Photoshop, before I forget!” and the next thing you know, I’m staring at a cover concept that was pretty close to what I had imagined. A print-ready version of the whole thing only took a few hours to put together, because the only real elements in the whole thing were font-based. So yeah, after reviewing how everything came together … I figure it was definitely an epiphany.