work riso
Once Upon a Time . . .
2020

We were invited to produce the book cover of a collection of writings from the students of New Harmony High in New Orleans. The themes of many stories explored the dark realities of our city, so it was a nice challenge to find a way to keep it light-hearted in its outward appearance.

Client: 826 New Orleans
Youth writing and publishing organization

Editors: Kyley Pulphus and Jeff Carver
Texts: New Harmony High students with Nathaniel Rich
ISBN: 978-1-948644-42-6

106 Pages
5.5 x 8.5 in.

Exploring dark themes is an easy go-to in some of the projects that have been put in front of me over the years. It tends to be my default approach, but applying such to the work of high school students and for the audience of their peers, family, and patrons of 826 didn’t feel like the right direction. While dystopian in many ways with the understanding of New Orleans on-going plight with water and it’s very existence, I took a more illustrative approach for the cover.

The child-like character is non-descript, without emotion, looking forward, and underwater. Maybe they are having fun in a pool with goggles or possibly existing in an unfortunate future where we all must wear head gear to breathe underwater. Either way is fine among any other possibilties, and it is this openness which gives the viewer agency on his it is to be perceived.

Aesthetically, the classic geometric sensibilities of the trade-paper era in height has always appealed to me, so it was nice exploration to revisit these ideas in bold shapes and deep color usage.

New Harmony High student writers. Photograph courtesy of 826 New Orleans
Kyley Pulphus and Jeff Carver of New Harmony High. Photograph courtesy of 826 New Orleans
Back Cover.