Designing with Kevin O’Neill

centuryfc
All images © Alan Moore & Kevin O’Neill.

Thought some of you might like a small window into the design process that I go through with Kevin O’Neill on the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Early in Kevin’s career he worked as a staff production artist for a British comics company, as did I for DC Comics, so we share that background of working with page layout, type and images. Often Kevin has a firm idea of what he wants for the LOEG design pages, but for the front covers he nearly always just sends me the art and leaves the rest up to me. I suspect this is from a long career in comics where he rarely got to have any input on the design of covers he drew. On the cover above, for the latest LOEG book, Kevin sent me the original art. I scanned it, sent a scan to colorist Ben Dimagmaliw (who Kevin also sent his own color notes), and I then put the cover together using InDesign, choosing the fonts and type placement. I had to consult with Alan on this one, as Alan had wanted only the number 1910 in the title, but I remembered an interview where he called the three-issue arc “Century,” and I thought that should be included as well. Kevin agreed with me, so I faxed Alan the layout, and he was fine with it, as was Kevin. When the color file came in from Ben, I chose colors for the type and the top banner, and sent color proofs to Kevin, Alan and publishers Chris Staros and Brett Warnock. Fortunately everyone liked it.

konregcardlayout

Here’s an interior design page from LOEG: THE BLACK DOSSIER, what became page 5 of the book. Kevin has given me a tight layout for the registration card as well as a clipping from a magazine showing a page from an old WW2 ration book that he wanted me to copy for style and font choices. The portcullis logo art was on a separate piece. I scanned that, and put everything together on the computer, using Quark this time, as DC preferred that.

regcardfinal

Here’s the final printed page. The page background was a scan of an old piece of cardboard, while the card paper came from another old piece of buff writing paper I had on hand. The type was easy and straightforward thanks to Kevin’s tight layout. I added a subtle shadow on the bottom and right edges of the card to give it a three-dimensional feel.

century1ifclayout

Back to CENTURY: 1910, Kevin likes to do the indicia pages on LOEG with actual old ads from Victorian-era newspapers, and he sent me these cut and pasted onto a piece of art paper. Then he wrote in the additional type and script from Alan that I needed to add to the two items on the right side.

century1ifcfinal

Here’s the final printed page. In some of the similar pages in past LOEG books I purposely roughed up the new type a little to try to give it an old look, but on this one I left it alone. I was afraid the very small type I had to use for the indicia wouldn’t print clearly if I did that. Looking at it now, I think it would have been okay, but with legal text one has to be careful. And, since I wasn’t going to do that with the indicia, I decided to leave it all alone. There’s a slight disconnect, therefore, between the left and right columns that I don’t like. Oh well, I’ll try it differently next time perhaps.

3 thoughts on “Designing with Kevin O’Neill

  1. David Goldfarb

    Yes, I remember noticing that disconnect.

    I was looking through some old LoEG issues, and noticed one of the old ads that caught my eye: a device to grow hair on balding heads by applying an electric charge to the scalp. This was supposed to revitalize the energy of the follicle cells. Nowadays they’re selling brushes with low-power lasers in them…with exactly the same reasoning! My guess is that this works about equally well.

  2. Lawrence

    Todd,

    Recently I tried to read a lot into the numbers of “1910” on a forum. Is it just my craziness — of course, you’re probably going to keep the suspense going 🙂 — but did you intentionally make those numbers so that, if you’re crazy like I am and turn the cover upside down, it looks like “Q161” or “0161”????

    Best,
    Lawrence

  3. Todd Post author

    Yes, you’re trying too hard, Lawrence. The shape of the letters is inherent in the font I used, and no one intended them to be read as anything upside down.

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