Joel Green: Robber’s Cave

Project Brief

Local author Joel Green wanted a cover designed for his debut book, a historical and anecdotal look at Robber’s Cave, a historical landmark in Lincoln, NE. Underneath a current day brewery is a series of tunnels and passageways of the cave, the walls of which are covered in etchings of images, names, and dates of the people who have visited, both before and after it was open to the public.

Its history is based partly on legends, like how it was a hideout for Old West outlaws including Jesse James, but also on the truths and confirmed stories, which Green brings to the page alongside his personal interest of the cave.

Using an old photo of the original cave entrance from the 1970s for reference and vintage tourism posters as inspiration, we digitally painted the front and back cover, and set the type on both sides and the spine.

This was our first book cover design project.

Client:

Joel Green
Mighty’s Son Publications

Date:

Spring 2018

Services
  • Print Layout
  • Illustration
  • Art Direction
  • Cover Design
Client Link

www.robberscavebook.com 

Credits

Art Direction

  • Jordan Lambrecht

Illustration

Cover Layout

  • Karley Johnson

“Pixel Bakery conveyed exactly what I had hoped! Color scheme, images, positioning… I’m so glad their design team really wanted my project!”

-Joel Green, client

Process

We offered Green two concepts for the cover: a digital painting using a photo from inside the cave, and a more abstract painting, using a photo of the outside from the 1970s as reference.

The first consisted of a yellow, orange, and brown color scheme of one of the longer, narrower passageways, where the path curves around to one side, out of sight. This was a more obvious reference to the cave and conveyed a sense of adventure and intimacy – almost claustrophobic.

The second, and eventually chosen concept, was a painting of the door and original entrance to the cave, with grain silos in the background. Beneath the surface is an image of the cave, modeled after a tunnel with the original, natural ceiling – the only untouched overhead area in the cave. We used a couple different photos captured in the early 1900s as inspiration for the two men lighting a fire together in the cave.

We also wanted to incorporate themes and imagery from older, more minimalistic tourism and landmark posters to convey a sense of nostalgia and to really drive home the point that Robber’s Cave is historically significant, and should be visited by anyone interested in local history and adventure.

The cover stands strong as a piece by itself, and will be used for merchandise and promotional materials for Green and his debut book.

Cover Design

Cover design is an art in form in and of itself, and provides the first glimpse into a book or novel. As consumers, we really do judge books by their covers, which isn’t inherently a bad thing. The purpose of a front cover, whether it is for a novel, album, or film, is to entice the viewer to pick it up, and to read the back cover. From then, it’s the author’s job to tell a story worth reading, and we think this piece hits all those marks.