This is a very nice project from designer Lucas Heinrich. He uses the Random Article button Wikipedia to come across books he’s never heard of before, and then he designs jackets for them. It’s a totally self-initiated endeavor, intended in part to get him professional work designing book jackets. Here are a few examples.
I emailed Heinrich to get more background on it, and he was nice enough to answer a few questions.
Where did the idea come from?
Lucas Heinrich: Book cover design has been an obsession of mine for a while and I’ve always been someone prone to falling down the Wikipedia rabbit hole for hours at a time. I also liked the idea of simulating how real world book design works—the topics aren’t chosen by the designer and may be something they know nothing about, so there’s a period of research before you even begin. Which, of course, Wikipedia is great for!
Do you keep hitting the Random Article button until you get an article about a book, or do you use the first reference to a book that you come across?
Lucas Heinrich: I tried to stay faithful to what the Random Article button spit out. If it was a completely unusable topic—like a page about a small German town with two lines of info about it—I let myself hit the button again. I made up the book titles myself and pulled the “author” names from the references section. Sometimes I just kept the article title, sometimes I went with something a bit more playful that looked good on a book cover.
Is it your goal to be a book designer?
Lucas Heinrich: Book design is very much where I want to be going forward. I spent the past year at Chicago Portfolio School to build up new projects—like this one—so that I can transition out of marketing work. I’m moving to New York in early April and have spoken with a few publishers and book designers there. I’ve gotten good feedback, but I’m definitely still available for any opportunities in the field. Hopefully this project shows off my abilities and my enthusiasm for book design as I try to get a foot in the door!