foreigners and wolves

Jesse Marinoff Reyes:

DON’T GET LITERARY WITH ME, BUSTER! A sampling of novels I’ve done with a more classic, mostly atmospheric intent—including these that address Middle Eastern culture and Islam.

JMR Design

W.W. Norton, 1999
Design: Jesse Marinoff Reyes
Photograph: Gen Nishino/Tony Stone Images
Art Director: Ingsu Liu

Another contemplation on the portrayal of Middle Eastern culture (here, Iran), being sensitive to Islam, and contrasting that to the modern. Interestingly, the photo didn’t originally represent a Muslim woman grappling with her veil (or, as suggested by the novel, an Iranian returning to Iran after living in America and confronting the old culture). Converting the image to greyscale and fooling with blur sure changed that. The background is a rich plumb color with a pale green metallic. The background design was inspired by and appropriated (redrawn) from an abstract, architectural motif on the cover of a pocket book I found from the Middle East/South Asia. Design influencing design from the other side of the world.

JMR Design

Wolves of the Crescent Moon
Penguin Books, 2007
Design: Jesse Marinoff Reyes
Digital illustration: Viktor Koen
Photograph (Riyadh): Art Directors UK
Art Director: Paul Buckley

Instead of a duotone, a saturated, otherworldly, almost lurid color palette. Al-Mohaimeed’s work (banned in Saudi Arabia) echoes Gabriel Garcia Márquez and Latin American Magical Realism, so working with Koen we aimed for a somewhat surreal landscape for the otherwise industrial city of Riyadh. Also, as with The Bastard of Istanbul, using Arabic motifs to signal the cultural background of the novel—and Islam—without getting all Ali Baba about it.

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