The Nowhere Girls

This was a fantastic YA book to work on for Simon and Schuster (New York). I opted to read the manuscript one rainy afternoon in the reading room of my favourite pub, the Hillgrove here in Bristol. The Nowhere Girls are a group of students that stand up to the misogynistic culture in their small North American town. After reviewing the editor’s notes I decided to try and portray the kick-ass tone of the girls.

The final cover uses a painting by Daniel Evans that l defaced. The concept is that the Nowhere Girls are crossing out the flowers, which are often seen as a traditional symbol of femininity. I was looking for floral paintings that had a black background, hinting at the darker aspects of the book. The lettering also brings out the NO in NOWHERE. The idea that the girls are saying no to rape culture.

The slideshow includes two other comps from my initial development. The lipstick grafitti idea was especially fun to work on, although l had some strange looks as l experimented with lipstick lettering on a bathroom mirror. It proved difficult to photograph as l had to opt for a side angle. The other design sketch was inspired by some neon paper flyers mentioned in the book. One of the main characters is obsessed with Riot Grrl and l wanted to convey that aesthetic, as if created by a teenage girl. This lead on to researching Kathleen Hanna and discovering The Punk Singer, an insightful documentary on the musician and activist’s life.

I really enjoyed this book and it seems very topical with Donald Trump’s abhorrent attitude towards women. Hopefully the cover does justice to Amy Reed’s excellent writing.

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