Barnes and Noble Classics: Jessica Hische

Curator: Chuck Anderson
date: January 10, 2012
Categories: Book Design, Illustration, Typographic Design
Tags: books, jessica hische, Typography
Jessica Hische for B&N Classics. Spines.

When you go to Jessica Hische’s site and click a project on the right, you’ll notice the URL does not say, for example, jessicahische.is/designing/nameofproject. (Where “nameofproject” is simply, duh, the name of the project.) Jessica, whose site has a quite badass Teen Girl Mode, gives every project a unique description in its URL. Why does this matter to this post? Because her book covers for the Barnes & Noble Classics project page URL is “thebestprojectever.” I envy Jessica having a single job in her portfolio stand out head and shoulders above the rest, enough to bestow the “bestprojectever” URL upon it.

I had the privilege of seeing Jessica speak over the summer and believe me, her enthusiasm for this project was just as apparent in person. That should really come as no surprise to anyone familiar with her work, however, as the opportunity to merge custom typography, illustration and layout on beautifully bound and crafted classic books prominently displayed in the largest bookstore chain around sounds like the ultimate dream job for, well, any designer.

A lot of good restraint clearly went into the creation of these. No overtly obvious references to the books and their subject matter—they are classics after all and really need no introduction—just well-selected color schemes, type choices and design elements that set the mood just right for each one. Even Dracula, with the red/black colors and the drips, feels just right. Not too much, not too little. Just right. I love that.

Jessica Hische for B&N Classics. The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Pride and Prejudice

Jessica Hische for B&N Classics. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Jessica Hische for B&N Classics. Dracula

Jessica Hische for B&N Classics. The Picture of Dorian Gray

My favorite part about this whole “best project ever,” however, might just be the way they look when lined up on a shelf, only their spines visible. Creating a true “collection” of something is no easy task. It takes a lot of time and thought to have completely unrelated things (Dracula / Huckleberry Finn ?!) look like they are meant to live together yet stand strong when seen independently of each other. 
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