Images 1-2: Final design

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Images 3-5: Original presentation

Images 6-7: Original images

Hollow Earth
Author David Standish
Designer: Alex Camlim
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Typefaces: Adobe Bickham Ornaments, Map's original calligraphy,
Neutraface 1

Imagery: From the author's personal collection
Specials: Uncoated stock (Tomahawk)
Genre/Audience: Science-fiction fans and closet conspiracy theorists

A cover like this causes someone to want to pick up the book, which is the goal of any book cover. I got in touch with Alex a while ago and wanted to see if he could provide us with some information behind this beautiful cover. He has a great process for a great end product. Thanks Alex!
—Jason Gabbert

Hollow Earth explores the history of an idea—Hollow Earth Theory—that the Earth is hollow, and we are either A.) Living unsuspectingly on the surface of a world that is inhabited by an advanced, primitive, or alien civilization; or B.) Are actually living on the interior of the Earth, our “heavens” being the inner surface of the globe. Serious scientists including Edmond Halley and Leonhard Euler—and kooks such as Adolf Hitler—have all been prominent supporters of the idea, which has also surfaced as an ongoing myth in several forms of fiction (Jules Verne, Edgar Allen Poe, Edgar Rice Burroughs, etc.) for centuries. It’s also an idea that is very much alive today, with several websites and groups devoted to the theory (just google hollow earth). It’s quirky history to be sure, and the book is aimed squarely at science-fiction fans and closet conspiracy theorists. It also has a certain Ripley’s Believe-It-Or Not quality that originally drew me to the project.

The cover images came from the author’s own collection of Hollow-Earth memorabilia and images found in his research for the book. The art was originally B&W—I colorized it and sort of “rebuilt” it a bit for the cover, adding some Xeroxed texture I had in my “digital dustbin” (which contains all of the graphic debris I save from various failed attempts). The front cover uses a map of the inner earth from an early (19th-century) work of hollow earth-themed science fiction, The Goddess of Avatabar, and the back cover sports elements from a flier that advertised the newsletter of the "Koreshan System (or State)", a utopian society and inner-world cult.

I felt it was important for the design to have a quirky-but-classic quality seated in the world of early science fiction (H. G. Wells, Verne, etc.) while projecting the air of the serious, analytical history (which it is) of a belief that many people out there do accept as truth. I tried a couple of other approaches, but nothing seemed to have the period quality and meaningful impact of these illustrations. For the selected design, I attempted to marry the late-19th century quality of the illustrations with color and typography inspired by mid-20th century comic books and pulp science fiction covers.

For typefaces, I used Adobe Bickham Ornaments to compliment the map’s original calligraphy and House Industries’ Neutraface 1 (which I customized a bit for the title to create an inline version). The jacket was printed on uncoated stock (Tomahawk), which softened everything a bit and muted the colors for a nice, pulpy, vintage look. The book’s interior has the look of an early 20th century text or reference book (with illustrations throughout and a generous 7” x 8-1/2” trim) and was designed by Steve Cooley, who’s cover for The Dark Stuff just appeared on Faceout.

It’s a fascinating subject that took a personal turn...I mentioned the book in passing to my dad, and he remembered that my great-grandmother was a firm believer in the hollow earth (among other things!). She was convinced —mostly by tabloids like Weekly World News—that UFOs came from holes at the north and south poles(!)...who knows, maybe I'm one of "them" after all...

11.24.08 // Courtney Baker said:

This cover is exquisite--I'll be looking for the book in store so I can take a peek at the interior too!


1.24.08 // Ian Shimkoviak said:

what great acquired art...


1.24.08 // Brandon Hill said:

Excellent cover. I love the location map typography in blue. No two letter characters are the same. That and the spine treatment. It's just great.


12.4.08 // Jacob Covey said:

I really have to buy this book. Success.


12.9.08 // Anonymous said:

So, so beautiful. Just breathtaking. I have to buy this book just for that glorious cover.

Thanks for posting this.