Cover design process: Prismatic Ecology

Our hot-off-the-press book Prismatic Ecology: Ecotheory beyond Green uses color as a guide to theoretical reflection on innovations that arrive when ecotheory moves beyond the pastoralism of green. This book has a gorgeous cover and a pretty cool story behind that cover. We’ve asked the cover designer, Jeff Clark, to let us in on his process.


The river Hvitá in Iceland. Its falls,
which appear to plummet into the earth,
are called “Gullfoss” or “Gold falls.”
Photo by Jeffrey J. Cohen.


The editors of Prismatic Ecology had provided, among other art ideas, a photograph of a rainbow over a canyon. This gave me the idea to try and play with light and color in my darkroom. I printed the title and subtitle on a transparency sheet, laid it in an empty white utility sink, then lit it and photographed it:

Then I wet the sink, squirted in some paint, and laid the transparency back in:

 … which felt a little garish or obvious. So I rinsed out the sink, squirted in just a little bit of paint, and filled it way up and floated the transparency on the surface of the water:

This wound up being too soft, I imagine, for everyone’s taste. In the end, the editors chose a design that featured this photo, which was created by submerging the transparency a bit in a quick and carelessly paint-infused bath of water:

I had a blast. If I could go back, though, I’d spend some time kerning the Joanna.

Jeff Clark‘s graphic design studio, Quemadura, is based in Ypsilanti, Michigan. He is the editor of Wolf.

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