“Not that Kind of Girl” by Lena Dunham of HBO’s “Girls” has become a New York Times bestseller.
It seems her words were not the only key to achieving this high honor. According to Teddy Blanks, the co-founder of CHIPS, the cover design was a bold choice.
“The idea was to design something that evoked the all-type covers of essay collections from the ‘70s like Joan Didion’s ‘The White Album’ and also advice books from the ‘80s and ‘90s like Helen Gurley Brown’s ‘Having It All,’ while also having it stand on it’s own,” Blanks said.
Blanks said he and Dunham felt these references would help signal the tone of the book.
Blanks worked with Dunham at his graphic design studio in Brooklyn to create the cover.
“Lena is a great collaborator,” Blanks said. “She’s one of my favorite people to work with. It was a bold choice to not include her photo on the cover.”
Jacob Szeligowski, a 2D design program major, is a fan of Dunham’s work on “Girls.” He said “Not that Kind of Girl” was designed fittingly to Dunham’s comedy.
“It is very representative of Dunham’s humor, which is dry, straightforward, clean-cut and awkward,” Szeligowski said. “Things the average person may not find humor in, Dunham can make interesting or hilarious. She is pulling on the cult style of ‘60s romance novels, where I can see her humor is tied to.”
Szeligowski noted “Not that Kind of Girl” has reproduced cover design typeface styles from the ‘60s.
“Novels like ‘The Valley of the Paper Dolls,’ which has become an American cult masterpiece is designed in a very similar way to the cover of Dunham’s book,” Szeligowski said. “I would argue that she has capitalized cult culture to the mainstream. She is pulling on these features of a cult ‘60s era novel in the stylization of her own work.”
Simplicity was also a winning design element for Szeligowski.
“A basic aesthetic to good design is simplicity,” Szeligowski said. “This particular book really taps into that graphic ideal.”
Szeligowski read “Not that Kind of Girl” in just a few days.
“It was hard to put down because it was really insightful, and I felt like it related to me and my concerns in my life,” Szeligowski said. “I have a strong love/hate relationship with Lena Dunham. Part of me is really attracted to the work she does and the other part thinks she needs to grow up, figure out her issues and get it together.”
Szeligowski said Dunham has been successful in accommodating her weird lifestyle, but finds it impossible to not mention the controversy her memoir has brought on.
Dunham has been accused by several online critics of molesting her younger sister because of a passage in her book describing an event in which Dunham looked at her sister’s vagina to discover pebbles her sister had placed there.
Dunham turned to Twitter to express how disgusted she felt about these accusations. Dunham cancelled several book tour stops because of the backlash she has received.
“Although a lot of the book was really interesting there were many parts which were kind of disturbing,” Szeligowski said. “Dunham posed certain issues as very normal when in reality they were the opposite.”
Still, Szeligowski finds Dunham relatable.
“‘Girls’ functions as a modern reiteration of ‘Sex and the City,’” Szeligowski said. “I enjoy her character Hannah, though she often annoys me. I feel like we would be really good friends.”
Arts & Entertainment Editor