For this project, I was tasked with creating a book cover for the fictional "Famous Couples" series by Penguin Books. Utilizing the traditional Penguin color scheme, we had to create an illustration that symbolized both the individuals and the relationship, without physically depicting them or their features.
I chose Hades and Persephone as the focus for my book cover. I've always found it interesting how throughout history their relationship has been perceived so differently as either antagonistic or incredibly romantic. Despite how varied stories of their relationship are a common thread is the dichotomy of life and death. Hades is the God of the Dead, whereas Persephone is the Goddess of Spring and Natural Abundance, this contrast really spoke to me and is what I wanted to highlight within my design. Another unifying factor between myths of Hades and Persephone is the pomegranate that eternally bound them together. I felt that the pomegranate would be an excellent vehicle to represent the couple individually and as a whole. The pomegranate's connection to Persephone's vitality was inherent, so I began exploring how I could include Hades essence as well.
I wanted to understand the visual language of the pomegranate so I spent time breaking one apart and studying how all the pieces fit together. While I initially tried to incorporate Hades into my sketches through using skeletons, the more I studied the pomegranate I began to see the individual seeds as resembling small skulls. This was ultimately the direction I went in. With my illustration done I began working on the typography, which I wanted to capture the contrast of the relationship as well. I settled on Bodoni type to represent Hades as very structured and refined, and I lettered a script for Persephone's type elements, in an attempt to capture her wild nature.