The Designer's Process: Jenna Stempel on The Thousandth Floor

Designer Jenna Stempel developed the cover for The Thousandth Floor, a soon to be released book from HarperCollins. Here she elaborates on her process for creating the work.


What was your process for creating this cover?

I typically take notes while reading manuscripts and pull out themes and imagery that might serve the narrative well. With The Thousandth Floor, the aesthetic was the driving force behind the cover design...I put together mood boards with champagne bottle labels, perfume branding, and other luxury packaging based on the editors' interest in a black and gold palette.

I also wanted to represent height more gesturally; it seemed too redundant to pair a literal thousand-story building with the title The Thousandth Floor. I thought a brushstroke-like mark would illustrate the loftiness of the setting and the disintegration you see as you descend to the bottom of the cover would hint at the inequality of the various characters' wealth.

The title typography references the fluid signatures you see on fashion brands like Oscar de la Renta and the global advertising firm Leo Burnett. More futuristic options looked too sci-fi when the tone of the book was more Gossip Girl.

Did you have any sort of architectural reference for the building?

The book is set in 2118, and we definitely had some back-and-forth with the amazing 3D modeling artist Sasha Vinogradova so we could make sure that the building looked futuristic, but still easily recognizable as architecture. Initially, my comps just had the Chrysler Building as a placeholder; that art-deco style is a great signifier of wealth and excess. Sasha did a fantastic job designing the final building.

Is there a special coating on the final print?

The final jacket printed on silver stock, and had a matte finish with spot gloss UV. We also have an effective sculpt emboss on the title and tower; they really come forward on the printed books.

A photo posted by Epic Reads (@epicreads) on

A photo posted by Epic Reads (@epicreads) on

How do feel a reader should interpret the image?

I hope the cover reads as the book does; glittering, futuristic, dramatic, and dangerous, with scandals and secrets!