One of my favorite projects of the past year was designing the book Tomorrow May Be Too Late by Thomas Marino. The work included the design of the book cover, page layout, and the book website.

From Rich Merrit’s review:
“Banker by day, stripper by night. Twenty-one year old Tom Marino invites you to be a voyeur on a year of his life, one of youthful exuberance and mistakes, loves and loves lost. Enjoy a sexy romp through the late eighties from Philadelphia to New York. You will cry, laugh and grow angry along with Tom as the man he loves takes advantage of him…. His honesty makes this a compelling read and perhaps you will avoid his mistakes, or if you don’t, perhaps you will have as much fun making those mistakes as he did.”

This is how I love to describe the book: Tom was married, worked in a bank & lived a straight life. When he started stripping & fell in love with a guy, it all changed. The book is a ‘naked account’ of his love story during that first year as a gay man. Oh yes, we had fun working on this book design.

AS A FIRST STEP WE LOOKED FOR THE BOOK CONCEPT:
A LOVE STORY.
This is the concept that every part of the project should carry along.

THE BOOK COVER

I consider memoirs delicate works by definition, so it needed to be treated carefully and at the same time it had to be true to the content, including many stripping nights & hot scenes.  After reading the book and discussing the cover concept with the author we decided to go with a hot-love cover. The challenge was to keep it masculine, because that is also true to the story. Helvetica Neue Caps with strong weight variations was a big part of the answer.

Book Cover Design for Tomorrow May Be Too Late

THE PAGE LAYOUT

For the layout, I gave it good margins for holding the book (ideally, the reader’s thumb will fit in the interior margin to hold the book in your hands) and also for resting the eyes. (The book is about 380 pages). For the text:  Caxton Light, a very readable font that allows the text block to breathe in a normal line-height due to its small ascenders & descenders.
Page Layout

The Helvetica Neue in different weights (from the cover) worked well for the headings and Table of Contents.

Table of Contents

MISC

Using the story told in the book as a theme, I’ve done a set of broken-heart-icons to use in different pieces (back cover, chapter numbers, website & more).
Broken Heart -icon set

THE WEBSITE

The Web site for Tomorrow May Be Too Late has grown quite a bit from the initial idea: we started with a basic book Web site (cover, blurb, reviews, about the author and about the book).

Later we added new features:

  • We integrated an author blog to the Web site.
  • Shopping cart -very important if you are self-publishing!
  • The time frame of the book (’80s) was used to create a soundtrack page with the music mentioned in the book.

Book Website