The Big Short Book Jacket

Tags: Editorial | Typography

September 24, 2021

The Big Short book, with white and gold type set on a deep green background on the cover.


The Big Short is a book by Michael Lewis, based on the 2008 financial market crash that affected the United States and Canada. The feeling of this unstable economy is visually represented throughout every aspect of the typesetting on the front and back cover. A specific restriction for this assignment was the use of a single type family and no illustration.

A close-up of the front cover, where the letters of the title “The Big Short” are stacked into an unstable pile.

Front Cover

The Big Short is a book with some serious topics, which demand professional treatment. The audience that would gravitate to this title is mature and educated. The colours on the cover reflect this tense and professional tone by adopting the muted appearance of a standard bank's branding. They also directly represent currency—green for dollar bills and gold for gold bars.

A close-up of the back cover, where the words “Inside the Doomsday Machine” are arranged inside a crumbling grid.

Back Cover

The only typeface used is Futura PT, which is heavily associated with big corporate names. It delivers a sense of elegance to the work through the beautifully constructed curves of the letters. The concept plays upon the timeline in which the book is set. The slow and imminent collapse of the market is represented in the carelessly balanced letters on the cover. The title rests on a seemingly stable base on the front, but the back cover reveals the truth. Like the book's title, it is also crumbling—a visual depiction of the events that unfold.

The full book jacket, with front cover, back cover, and inside flaps visible.

Full Jacket

Here's the full flat jacket. The inside inserts provide information about the artist and novel.

The front cover is placed inside a visualization of the Amazon online book store.

Marketplace Visualization

From the start, marketplace presence was kept in mind when considering design decisions. The high contrast cover demands attention even at small sizes and invites the viewer to explore the concept behind the title treatment.

Gold text on a deep green background reading “Animated Website.”

Animated Website

Accompanying the book cover is an animated website to promote the book. It further expresses the themes inside the book, this time utilizing CSS animations to create a more dynamic experience. Click the image beside to view the site. Depending on your browser settings, the site may be slightly zoomed in.