Working with colour – Abstract cities

In this exercise I am asked to produce 10 abstract designs that are going to be used as covers for guidebooks. The books are going to be A5 landscape in format. I can use as many colours as I like and I need to include the name of the city on each cover.

I started the exercise by doing research about the cities that the guidebook covers are for. I decided to use colours included in the coat of arms of each city so as to allow for the colour palette used to have a unique connection between each cover and the associated city.

The blocks of colour will present one of the city’s landmarks. I did a research and chose landmarks that I think should work as illustrations of colourful blocks, loosely based on the shape of the landmark. I do not want the illustrations on the cover to be the exact copies, but I want them to imply the chosen characteristic place of each city. For Madrid I chose Puerta de Alcala monument, Malmo-HSB Turning Torso skyscraper, Managua-Masaya Volcano, Manchester-Beetham Tower, Manhattan-Empire State Building, Marrakech-Badi Palace, Marseilles-Abbey of St.Victor, Melbourne-Old Treasury Building, Montreal-Place des Arts,  and Mumbai-Rajabai Clock Tower.

The blocks I used are rectangles and squares. They are all filled with different colours, I used different gradients in some blocks to achieve a sense of depth and variety.

There will be also a name of each city included on the cover. The city’s name will be placed on a white rectangle that will form a speech bubble. I thought that a speech bubble will be appropriate in this case. Communication is such a big part of travelling, it helps you find what you are looking for, it helps you get around. Therefore the speech bubble should work telling the reader the name of the place the guidebook is about. The rectangle is white with the city’s name written in black Myriad Pro Bold, so the title is clearly visible and stands out against the colourful illustration and background. The way I placed the speech bubbles looks as if the landmarks were telling the names themselves. The illustrations’ positions vary, some of them stand up straight, while others lay flat, like the Rajabal Clock Tower in Mumbai.


These are my creations:

madrid  malmo managua  manchester manhattan  marrakech marseille  melbourne montreal  mumbai







I think I experimented quite a lot with the blocks, trying to make a cover I would be happy with. The one I am most happy with is the Montreal cover with an illustration of the Palace des Arts, I think that the different shades of brown work well as background and pillars, combined with windows made out of brown and blue blocks. The title in the upper right corner completes the cover.

Place des Arts in Montreal

Place des Arts in Montreal



Guidebook cover for Montreal



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