The Rule of Thirds is for Hacks

I never thought that if I were to break into publishing that it would be in the design branch, but this seems like too sweet a gig not to consider:

The Face Cropper.

If you’ve scanned a shelf for biographies of celebrities or historical figures, you’ll realize who I’m talking about.

The Face Cropper is typically brought on when the the publisher cannot produce a new photo/portrait of the subject for the bio cover, often because said subject did not authorize the writing of said biography, or is dead. The next step is to peruse archived portraits, but not too deeply, for the focus isn’t necessarily finding the best image for the jacket but finding the best way to crop it!

Certainly, one may choose not to crop the portrait at all, but this is generally inadvisable and squanders a host of great aesthetic options. I’ll highlight some of the heavyweights.

Say you’re publishing a scathing exposé on a public servant, but you don’t have a photo of this person that can be interpreted as sinister, stupid, angry, etc, just by itself. Enter the Face Cropper:

As you can see, Hillary and the Gipper each have something to hide — their right eye.

Sometimes you want to obscure most of your subject’s face for a different reason:

Ah, mystery and intrigue! What is Elizabeth thinking about? The delicious hunkiness of Sir Philip Sydney? That bitch cousin Mary? You tantalize us, Weir, by withholding the secrets contained in her eyes and forehead.

A jacket designer might also crop the face ever so slightly to suggest movement:

Jane! Don’t go! I want to ask you a question!

Is the subject known for being crazy? If yes, then try this great number:

Down is up! Up is down!  Guy’s flippin’ unpredictable!

And lastly, when in doubt, crop for an uncomfortable closeup:


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