I chose to design a set of coffee table books and a matching slip cover from one of my favorite philosophy anthologies, Philosophies of Art and Beauty: Selected Readings in Aesthetics from Plato to Heidegger. I separating the collection into 4 distinct philosophers whose works I wanted to base my covers on.
I began by reading more thoroughly the philosophies of each author and recording their definitions of art and beauty. I used their writings as a guide and inspiration in my cover design. Many of the philosophies discuss abstraction, realism, form, light, nature and truth. I wanted to be able to use both abstract and photorealistic elements in the design to communicate these philosophical arguments more accurately. Collage allowed me to create meaning and structure from both abstract forms and recognizable, realistic images. I wanted the covers themselves to behave visually like a philosophical reading; creating contrast, presenting symbols and abstractions meant to be interpreted by the viewer, just as the ideas of the philosophers are meant to be interpreted by the reader.
Each cover acts as a symbolic representation of the philosophical ideas held in the book. A collaged portrait of each philosopher is distorted and organized with elements of nature and abstract forms on each cover. On each back cover there are key quotes from the works that I selected to represent their writings and respond to the art work on the front covers. The rainbow motif is the only repeated symbol, abstracted differently on each cover according to each philosopher’s writings. The motif represents the beauty of nature but also the unknowable almost mystical nature of art and beauty that is a repeated theme in the works themselves. The slip cover shows a vibrant rainbow over arching and connecting all of the works it contains.