A few months ago, during a conversation about his book "Street Angel" with author Jim Rugg, I mentioned my frustration with using fluorescent inks on my covers; Like silver ink, fluorescent ink requires a double print to register as truly fluorescent and this second pass at the printer is what makes it too expensive for most projects. Rugg talked about the emotional impact of color and discussed adding a tint to the original black and white art of the book.
Recently he got in touch to share the ink swatches for the second printing of "Street Angel"; it features a light pink paper with purple ink, and the cover and spine is now using a two-pass, truly fluorescent pink. He included swatches of the colors to give me an early look at how the book would look (see images, above). These colors work on multiple levels. First of all the story is about a very atypical little girl, and so the use of pink as a traditional girl's color subverts the meaning of it, reinforcing the impact of her role as a powerful, aggressive fighter (i.e. traditionally non-girly). Then from a design history standpoint, the combination of pink and purple echoes the old mimeographs so many of us remember from elementary school letters and announcements. Obviously in this instance the quality of the printing is pristine, unlike the crumbly old mimeographs, but the emotional impact of childhood and the implication of taking the reader back to a time of childhood fantasies is strong.
In addition, the new color treatment of "Street Angel" is now being serialized on Boing Boing, and the book is available as a two-pack (along with his "Afrodisiac" book) in a custom designed sleeve published by AdHouse Books (see image, above left). All of this make "Street Angel" a definite must-own, for both readers and designers.