• Nick Janicki

PIER 33: The Cover

Sure, writing's a passion of mine. Yada-yada. I could talk about that (and will) on here 99.9% of the time. Tonight, I'm taking a break from the writing. Instead, I want to talk about the novel's cover photo.

Graphic design is also something I am very much interested in. I find few jobs more fascinating than the graphic designer's, working an inch away from their three+ monitors on an assignment they'll spend hours—if not days—combing through. Perfecting. They'll make the most minor adjustments that aren't visible to the naked eye. Why? Because it's their reflection. This is their life's work. Each project, large or small, is their life's work.

I took a graphic design class in college. Big deal, right? I was hungover most of that course and can truthfully admit to my recollection of 5% (that number's generous) of what I had learned. The moment I stepped into the real-world, though, I found myself looking for opportunities to get back on the horse, so to speak. Video thumbnails in Photoshop, cut-downs in Premiere Pro, even reporting templates in InDesign. You mention something related to sub-par graphic design and I'm there.

This interest led me to design the cover of my first book, PIER 33. It's simple, yes. I'm sure there is a plethora of other covers out there with similar vibes. At the same time, I find myself discovering new observations every time I look at it. Here's a breakdown of my interpretation of my own work.

– Color: The background of the cover is pitch-black. This adds to the simplicity, but it also reminds the reader (will try to keep this spoiler-free) of the recurring theme of darkness in the novel. Literal and metaphorical blackness is present in nearly every chapter.

– Light: The title, PIER 33, holds much more than just letters and numbers. The most obvious is its yellow-white color, which is reflective of the sun. It's the complete opposite of that aforementioned pitch-black background, again symbolic of the novel's themes of the meaning of right vs. wrong, good vs. evil, light vs. dark.

– Outline: Also within the PIER 33 text are several obscure shapes. This was my way of incorporating Alcatraz Island, the setting of a good portion of the novel, into the cover. The shapes are odd – the building looks incomplete, the lighthouse appears as though if it were about to topple over, etc. I wanted this to be flawed. I wanted this to be as subjective as the meaning of the novel. I find the most intriguing pieces of art (any form, really) to be those that leave interpretation up to the individual. That's the fun in everything.

– Broken: One of the last aspects I incorporated into the design was the shifted text. To me, this describes the brothers' relationship. Not only are they in different timelines/versions of reality/dreams (I'll let you decide what's true) . . . they are also at odds for most of the novel. They have different goals in life and carry an entirely different perspective of the world.

So, there it is. This was my attempt at taking on a different art form. The most ironic part of it all? It's all in writing.


©2020 Nick Janicki