Jess Koroscil on Stories in a New Skin

Jess Koroscil, of the Winnipeg-based Housefires Design & Illustration, is one of University of Manitoba Press’ freelance graphic designers.

Most recently, she did interior design for Timothy Winegard’s For King and Kanata, Robin Jarvis Brownlie & Valerie J. Korinek’s collection Finding a Way to the Heart, and the cover for the Canadian edition of Anna J. Willow’s Strong Hearts, Native Lands: Anti-Clearcutting Activism at Grassy Narrows First Nation.

For fall 2012, Jess was responsible for cover and interior design for Keavy Martin’s Stories in a New Skin: Approaches to Inuit Literature.

Jess was kind enough to share a bit about her design process around the Stories in a New Skin cover:

“When I was tasked with using an existing image to create the cover, I knew I had a challenge on my hands. The image, Shaman Revealed (2007) by Ningeokuluk Teevee, was fantastic. The colors were interesting and the concept worked so well with the book’s content.

The challenging part was that this image, being so bold and visually compelling, didn’t really leave room for much more on the page. And still, I had these pieces of text that I needed to work in there. I didn’t want the title text to sit on top or apart from the image. I really wanted them to blend. So I started off by trying to make the title text look like it had been originally part of the image. I put it on top, I put it in a strange script font, I tried making a little box that it could go in.

Nothing was working.

The image really didn’t want any part of the text I was forcing upon it. I really had to sit back and take a moment to figure out how I could incorporate text within this beautiful image. I was literally leaning back in my chair searching for inspiration when my eyes fell onto a stack of antique books sitting on my office floor. That was it! The confident and straightforward styling on those old books! I was definitely onto something.

In the end I went with a modern variation on the jacket of an antique book. The text is quiet as it sits at the top of the page, the image is bold and the two have a type of harmony.”