Machine of Death is a collection of short stories of people who get told how they die by a fortune telling device.
It just takes a drop of blood from a finger. Then it spits out a sliver of paper upon which are printed the words “DROWNED” or “CANCER” or “OLD AGE."
Nothing else. No dates, no details. And it’s always correct. But even with knowledge of how they are going it die, it never actually goes how they think it will.
Above is the original cover of the book (left), next to This is How You Die (right) which is a collection of the authors' favorite 30 stories.
Below I explored different themes that overarched across all of the stories, focusing on cover for imagery, typography or abstraction each.
I chose to use the different shades of blue from the overs to stick to the coldness of death, making the darker shades more prominent and heavy to represent the darkness of death but still keeping colors alive since most of the stories aren't so much dark but ironic. For the red I used as a visual flag to cue viewers attention, a shade that was dark enough to be cohesive with the shades of blue but just bright enough to get the viewers attention in a more subtle way.
Here are the final three designs
The first book cover design is a close up of a clock, more specifically a death clock, to represent that everybody has a finite amount of time to live. There are no numbers to show the ambiguity of the concept of time, which mirrors the ambiguity of the words printed by the death machine.
The second cover focuses more on typography where I chose a street sign to mirror the continuous irony in the stories by showing the ridiculousness and humor of a sign saying "this way to your death" or "your death is this way."
Lastly, the third book cover is a design with layers of different chrysanthemums, a flower that symbolizes death, to simulate how the different lives of people overlap. The single red flower brings a feeling of individualism of every human having the curiosity of wanting to know his or her own death.