Ellen Rockell on Splash!

Ellen Rockall is a Junior Designer at Little, Brown and Company. Her portfolio includes the jacket for Stephen Glover's Splash! Here Rockall discusses her process for developing the cover.

Splash! Is a satirical novel that gives an insight into the world of newspapers and the press, and so my initial idea was to focus on portraying this side of the story. I started by looking at working the elements into a newspaper backdrop, using the title as though it was the headline. However, after a few rounds of visuals (some of which are attached if needed) and discussions between the editor and author, we decided that it wasn’t getting across the humour and wit of the story. They felt a bit too serious and some looked more like non-fiction covers.


I explored some more typographic approaches and ways of manipulating the type to suggest the idea of chaos, such as scrunching up newsprint to form the title, or using other elements such as coffee stains and broken letters. It was fun to be quite experimental with it – as the title is so punchy it meant that I could be a bit more playful with it, which is something that you can't always do in the same way.


To get to the final outcome I used the same concept but executed in a simpler way. I found a type that felt a bit more fun and was more reflective of the tone, while the layout and faded newsprint was still suggestive of the story. It was one of those covers that after trying lots of variations, the final outcome seemed like the most obvious solution from the start.

Join us in celebrating the enormous talent that goes into book cover design. Consider a small donation to our Patreon fund. Your support helps us provide you with an in-depth look at some of the book publishing industry's most creative people.


Design Editor, Painter, Designer, Lifelong bibliophile.