The final stage of the development of my Railsea cover called for me to come up with a suitable colour palette and custom lettering for the title. As I'd been asked to work on the book based on other covers I'd created in the style of vintage movie posters and pulps, it made sense to mine this rich vein some more.
The colourway below came about from me noticing what a common combination this intense orange/red with a cobalt blue was in the advertising and magazine cover design of the 30s. They are complimentary colours and so are naturally seen together no matter what the decade, but they seemed particularly common in this saturised form in the 30s and 40s.
This colour combo looked incredibly intense to me after submitting it and I didn't expect my Art Director to buy into the idea, but surprisingly they loved it.
When it came to submitting a second colour rough (with some alterations to the colours and train design) I still had not looked seriously at developing custom lettering for the title. Wanting to suggest the area to be used for the title however I quickly cut and pasted something together from a poster for 40s seafaring adventure movie Reap the Wild Wind.
I hadn't really intended this to be the final look for the title but once again the design team liked it and wanted something pretty close to this for the final cover. To help refine the lettering I turned to pulp cover design again, this time Air War -
Below is my final concept for the cover including finished lettering, as submitted to Pan Macmillan. Before it went to print the Blue colour of the title would revert to the original white of the rough, and the 'pulpular' type used for the author credit would be replaced by the distressed font used for the Mieville adult covers (to keep an association with the brand). Nevertheless this is pretty close to the cover you'll find on the shelves.
Railsea is available now from your local bookstore, or online. You can still read the first two chapters online here.