Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Advice to War Presidents

by Angelo Codevilla

Art Director: Nicole Caputo // Basic Books

From a distinguished conservative scholar, a primer on the principles of foreign policy and how the United States, having ignored these principles for nearly a century, can use them to resolve its current crisis.

The Art Director Nicole Caputo wanted me to try, "a small handbook that has a plain state dept look, like a type pamphlet to war presidents" feel. This idea has been overdone and I've probably done it a hundred of times myself. But I'm here to serve the Art Director and her editor and I'll do my best to give it a fresh take. I thought working with a simpler amount of elements would keep it from looking too cluttered. The texture was key. I had an old A.T.A. Advertising Standard Type Book from 1951 that was laying around my office that I was actually going to throw away. It had a great pebbly textured case with gold foil type stamped into it. That would be a nice thing to play with.

The book itself is filled with pretty standard fonts, hence the name. So I thought this would be a no brainer in cleaning out my office. But because of this assignment, it just reinforces the idea that you can never throw anything out because you never know when you'll need to use it.

Another idea was to work with the Presidential Seal.

I heard somewhere that in times of peace, the Seal of the President of the United States depicts the bald eagle facing its usual direction towards its talons clutching the olive branch of peace. But in times of war, it is switched out with the eagle facing its talons clutching arrows of war. I like the idea that the state of conduct of the Union extends to even the smallest of details. But I read that it's just urban legend.

Alternate concept focusing on the Talons of WAR:

The US Government didn't allow us permission to use the original Seal so I had to recreate one for the final. I chose to combine an alternate idea that focused on the Eagle's Talons of War.

I like the way this turned out. It suggest that maybe this was Presidents Woodrow Wilson's original handbook and that it has been passed down from President to President offering advice. And now it'll be in the hands of our 44th President, Barack Obama.


Nicole Caputo said...

Ah, but just as suspected I knew you would do something fresh and new with this old idea! Thank you again for the gorgeous work, Henry.

JDM F.F.C said...

If you are a fan of the West Wing, the Urban Legend about the seal and the side the eagle is facing is told in an episode. Because of a rug in the oval office with the seal on it.

I would say it's in season 1 or 2.