Monday, March 19, 2012

Under Cover: Robot Visions

In the fall of 1989, Byron Preiss began work on another Isaac Asimov collection called Robot Visions, which was to be published by Roc. Once again he commissioned Ralph McQuarrie to handle the cover and interior art. I believe Maxfield Parrish’s Stars was used as reference. I designed the volume. After seeing the cover art I began work on choosing a typeface, whose name I don’t recall. I made a photostat (below) of the type and spaced the letters on both sides of the centered “A” and “V”. The crossbar of the “A” was made parallel to the blue ray beaming from the robot’s eye. A color comp was made of the cover with the type in place (see black-and-white photocopy).

The cover comp was sent to the publisher for approval. In early November, newspaper ads appeared for Disney’s new animated movie The Little Mermaid (see poster below). The image appeared to be based on Parrish’s Stars. I used elements from the ad and made Mermaid Visions (see black-and-white photocopy) which circulated among the editors in Byron’s office.

The publisher informed Byron that it wanted a bolder treatment for the title and the changes would be handled in-house. The book was published in April 1990 (below). I didn’t like the title typeface with the thick blue rule running behind the title and the thin blue rule dividing the letters, nor did I like the boxes around the name and title. Too busy. And I wasn’t pleased with the cover design credit, attributed to me, printed on the copyright page.

My original type treatment as it appeared on title page spread.

The British edition was published by Gollancz in 1990.

(Next post on Monday: W.A. Dwiggins)