Turning a government report into a work of literature is not an uncommon occurrence. There are many in print, ranging from sobering (The Warren Report on JFK’s assassination and the 9/11 Commission Report) to the more salacious (Ken Starr’s findings on the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky affair).
Creating a cover for these kinds of books, at least historically, has been focused on clarity and simplicity. Because these reports are more serious workings in government, veering into a wildly creative territory to stand out on bookshelves and Amazon might not make the most sense.
That said, one can only wonder what a cover for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report into Russian interference in the 2016 elections could look like. To that end, The New Yorker asked five graphic artists to envision what a cover for the full 300-plus page Mueller Report might look like.
Pentagram partner Michael Bierut’s version is a bold red (Russia, anyone?) with intertwined lines that create a web that may or may not have been unwound in the yet-to-be-released full report.
Na Kim’s design may foreshadow the White House’s desire to keep grand jury testimony and classified information heavily redacted.
Alex Merto went with a starkly classic and straightforward spy novel approach, with a red looking glass dominating the space.
Paul Sahre’s hope, potentially, is that a kitten will get the job done. It’s hard to find any real symbolism here, but an animal on a cover presents some cute cognitive dissonance on a serious topic.
Finally, Janet Hansen kept it very simple with a brown wrapper stylized with some bold, blocked copy.
For what it’s worth, we still don’t know when (or if) the full report will be released. Even then, it could very well not tell the whole story due to redactions or selective editing from the Department of Justice.
But that hasn’t dissuaded The Washington Post from getting ahead of the game and putting their version of The Mueller Report into Amazon’s store for pre-order (Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos owns the paper so this may not be wholly surprising). And they’re keeping their design very simple because what matters most are in the pages, not the cover.
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