NPQ, Spring 1989
BACK STORY: This was my first cover for New Perspectives Quarterly. The concept was that drugs were tearing apart American cities. Empowered and violent inner-city gangs were dealing crack cocaine. If you grew up in the projects of NYC or in South Central LA, you faced the daily reality of living in the hubris of the ghetto; which most likely meant you joined a gang, and the odds were good that you would end up either dead or in prison. The message of the cover was that when you leave prison you returned to the ghetto, and without opportunity, a life of crime awaited. Thus the title, “Drugs and the American Dream.”
I hired a photographer to shoot some black and white photos of the projects in Brooklyn, and then to come to LA to shoot in a jail. Luckily, the editor had connections with the city of Santa Monica and we were granted a couple of hours in their women’s jail cell, where there wasn’t anybody currently in detention.
This was an era when production was still not done entirely on the computer. In fact, most designers were still working traditionally. I scanned the two photographs and collaged them together using a precursor to PhotoShop, DigitalDarkroom. I created the type in the computer and digitally layered it onto the image. I had that output as a positive print. I then cut a rubilith where I wanted the yellow, and gave the printer artwork for a two-color cover.