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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

This self-initiated book cover brief formed part of my third year negotiated illustration programme.
Having first read the book a number of years ago, I recalled how interesting I found the narrator's viewpoint. The protagonist, Christopher Boone, is implied to have behavioural issues similar to conditions on the autism spectrum. Christopher's account presents the reader with an unfamiliar perspective of the world, one that I aimed to communicate through the cover and present in a tangeable, yet visually intriguing manner.

My thought process throughout the project predominantly involved stepping into Christopher's character and trying to understand how he functions. As a result, my final design is split into two halves: his likes and dislikes. The front is divided into a rigid grid of squares; these pieces depict literal aspects of his daily life in order to evoke a sense of structure, something that we find he relies on in order to function. Coupled with its red colour palette, this is a cover that I imagine Christopher himself would feel safe with.
However, the grid begins to break apart and form a trail, representing the journey that Christopher embarks upon when investigating the death of his neighbour's pet dog. This path onto the back cover leads the reader into increasingly unfamiliar and uncomfortable territory, marking the antithesis of what the front cover aims to communicate. London is depicted as an almost alien environment within a vast open space; this abstract representation being a stark contrast to the safe, structured existence Christopher was used to. The back cover's yellow and brown colour scheme further pushes the intended sense of discomfort and intimidation; these are colours he associates with bad fortune and should be avoided at all costs.

As a whole, the cover documents this distressing and unfamiliar journey from the structure Christopher relies on. It was designed in a fashion that would perhaps encourage the audience to refer back this imagery at various points while reading the book, without explicitly giving away details and twists within the plot.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Giles Mead