Final book cover artwork for Steinberg Carl Jung Book

Many artists and writers are big fans of Carl Jung, in large part because he’s the champion of the hidden dark recesses of the human mind — places where many creative people find themselves in when working on plots, sketches, or other ideas. I’m one of those artists.

So when I had a chance to work on the cover illustration and layout for Suzanne Steinberg’s fictional novel about Carl Jung, I jumped at the opportunity.

Here’s how the publisher describes the novel:

This fictional biography A World Within a World goes deep into the unconscious mind of Carl Jung, one of the founding fathers of psychology. The book doesn’t just graze the fields of Carl Jung’s development but also touches upon the many people who were an inseparable part of the emotional tapestry of a life few understood behind the heavy curtain.

Two essentials for the book were an accurate portrayal of Jung — not too hard since there are lots of reference photos of him — and the creation of a graphic connection to the “world within a world” concept of the book’s title. Additionally the author wanted a light or ray coming from Jung’s head and requested that, if possible, I portray him sitting in an office.

That all sounded easy enough.

It proved tougher than one might have thought going into the work.

First of all, the cover would be used as an ebook as well as print version, so the central character couldn’t be reduced too much as might have been possible with print only. So immediately we were left with an upper body/head shot, plus hints of office furniture.

Here’s an early stab at the idea:

Early Cover illutration for Suzanne Steinberg Carl Jung book

Early Cover illutration for Suzanne Steinberg's Carl Jung Novel

As can be seen, the “world within a world” didn’t work too well. I had thought hollow earths, split down the middle, would be perfect. In fact, the dark blue of the top of the atmosphere and the darker blue of the planet caused an illusion of two metal rings surround Jung. Yikes.

So the solution seemed to be to let him be in his own world inside the Earth and make more of the planet show, perhaps a bit like a chick inside a broken egg.

Here’s the second attempt to make sense of the idea:

Suzanne Steinberg book cover illustration

The second attempt at the book cover illustration.

This proved more effective — but the colors weren’t what the author wanted to see. Also, the author suggested a book under his hands and a cup of tea to one side of the desk (both of which proved great suggestions).

So I shifted the colors from purple to blue, reworked the color of Jung’s sweater to match the planet better (using the original color of his sweater to create a leather elbow patch if you look closely), and then moved the beam coming from his head so it projected off to the right, thereby allowing for all white lettering to show up. The final touch was a little steam rising from the tea cup.

Illustrator Duncan Long's final artwork for World Within a World

The final artwork for the novel.

For the lettering, nothing seemed to be quite right (perhaps the irony of the electronic age is having thousands of typefaces to choose from, and not having one that quite works). After trying a variety of types, I finally decided to break the gold rule of layout and use more than just a single typeface for the title and author’s name.

Instead, I employed one type for the title, a second italic type for “within a,” and a third for the author’s name and kicker line. This worked (at least for my eye and that of the publisher) in part because there are so few duplicated letters in the title and author’s name — a rather unusual occurrence that made breaking the layout rules practical.

Finally, to mirror the “world within a world” idea, I added some stars in the center of the Os in the title.

Final book cover artwork for Steinberg Carl Jung Book

Of course mixing three different typefaces on the cover bothered the flying monkeys here at the Duncan Long Studio no end, as (like most hairy primates) they’re sticklers for obeying the rules. However, after plying them with fruit-flavored candy and reruns of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, they begrudgingly agreed to go along with the idea.

You can purchase Suzanne Steinberg’s A World Within a World at Smashwords.

See more of Duncan Long’s book cover designs at: Duncan Long’s Art Portfolio