How to be a woman is a fantastic read! I enjoyed reading the inappropriate, the clever and the humorous memoir and part rant of Caitlin Moran’s growth into womanhood.
The book is great for females – Moran hits the hot topic of feminism by sharing her personal experience of everyday fuss in womanhood, such as; miniature underwear, getting fat, expensive handbags, work, marriage and kids.
For these reasons, I wanted to design a cover that further attracted the female reader. Heading into the direction of a “chick flick” vibe, I was aiming to produce a cover that reminds women of their; beauty, elegance, confidence and independence, but also to bring forth an appreciation for strong inspiration female figures of the world.
The main image of the silhouetted woman represents the female gender – who is not subject to one person’s ideal or representation of the “perfect woman” – she is not defined by her ethnicity, wardrobe or hair colour etc, she is designed for the reader to apply their own interpretation of her identity.
However as a designer, I recognise that I have given some level of influence by suggesting she is slim.
The image can act as a self reflection or a desire of womanhood – however it is important to consider the figure is an exaggeration of the female body, to give it a fun and lighthearted impression.
Also I believe an illustration can sometimes be more suitable than a real image of a woman because it eliminates the pressure and insecurity of trying to attain the “perfect” image. In this case, the image should be recognised as an illustration and not a real person – therefore less desirable as it is unattainable.
Secondly, when studying the image, her posture oozes confidence – the position of her hand in relation to the text is designed to represent the strength in women who have gained control over their womanhood, embraced it and feeling positive in their identity.
Lastly, there is a sense of her sisterhood emotion to it: – the woman’s hand assuming control over the text mimics the relationship between perhaps an older sister and a younger sister (the younger sister being the text). This idea of “petting” or resting her hand on the younger sibling who has not yet hit puberty, is assured and guided through the wisdom and comfort of her elder that womanhood is not something to fear but to embrace.
The pink typography is designed to emphasise the femininity of the title.
The initial colours I chose for the background were a gradient of pastel blue and pink, however toward the end of the project I decided to change it to a blue and white gradient as I felt this diluted the femininity of the cover and brought balance as well as sophistication.
The title of the book ‘How To Be A Woman’ automatically draws a female audience and for this reason it required a level of masculinity to neutralize the design – otherwise very easily the book becomes a “pretty in pink”, “girly” book that potentially may attract a younger audience than targeted.
I wanted the typography to reflect a high fashion magazine such as ‘Vogue’ so that an association was made to the reader who would hopefully relate this back to inspiration, confidence, beauty and female empowerment.
I felt that a large percentage of the audience would be women who are self conscious, who want to know what is is to a be a woman and would maybe seek that in other materials like magazines – seeking tips and tricks or an idol of modern women.
With this in mind, I designed a cover that was specific to that target audience, who upon reading it would be surprised and comforted that on the outside every woman is brought up thinking flawlessness is a “MUST” and an effortless achievement, but the reality behind…is every woman moans and nags at the joys and chores of womanhood.
In development with this, the design is created to attract the opposing woman who may not read magazines in search for an ideal vision, but would appreciate a cover that is aesthetically and emotionally pleasing, in hope that it prompts a reminder that women are strong, confident, equal, independent and beautifully inspiring.
Gurmukhi MN Regular – to mirror a high fashion font
ChopinScript Medium – to enhance femininity of the cover