A CLOSER LOOK: Gross by Dave Proctor

I had the pleasure of designing the first book for Meat Locker Editions (more on that wonderful publishing adventure later), Gross by Dave Proctor. 

 
 

45. blade of egg beater.
97. bullet casings, brass.
132. travel-sized toothbrush.

Many people live perfectly normal, healthy lives with celiac disease. Frank, the baker, did not. He didn’t handle it well. You can see it on the coroner’s report, in the things he ate when the going got rough–the paint chips and light bulbs and Scrabble tiles. You can see where he felt useless; you can measure the time he lost with his daughter. Get to know Frank through the contents of his stomach, spilled out and itemized in little jars. It’s the only way to understand him now. 

 

 
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VERSION 1

The book title, Gross, is spelled out in Lego. The toys are an important motif in the story, so this was a natural starting place. 

The photograph read too much like a biography or memoir.

VERSION 2

The positioning of the Lego block captures the disjointed nature of the protagonists' relationship, and introduces an element of humour to the story.  

The style of illustration paired with the typeface felt a little too juvenile.

VERSION 3

A quirky custom illustration of the digestive system. 

We all loved this idea, but it wasn't quite right for the cover. This design was later used as the basis for the book launch posters and evites.

 

THE FINAL COVER

Drawing on the hand-stamped Lego pattern in Version 2, the final cover has a more mature, and much darker feel. There are 144 dots on the cover (a “gross” of dots), representing the 144 objects found in the protagonist’s stomach during his autopsy.

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