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For those of you old enough to remember the movie Damage with Jeremy Irons and Juliette Binoche (1992), you’ll know its dark, sexual and intriguing.

The book is better. It’s even darker, and describes the sexual relationship between a father and his son’s fiancé, Anna Barton.

The brief was to design a set of two books by the author Josephine Hart, the lead being Damage.

Having read both books, we identified flowers as the key motif. We chose a simple photograph of a rose for Damage, symbolising Anna and her beauty but also her dark, erotic side. The crop centres on the vase of the rose, and uses very simple sans serif type alongside.

Having come up with the rose, the second book which was about two sisters, their rivalry and a recurring theme of death . . . we had trouble. The vision was to create a cover that showed intertwined lilies, or a funereal lily shape suggesting a serpent, but it proved too specific and although we managed to render it, it sat strangely alongside Damage. In the end just a dark, simple image of the white flower was approved by the client and the author.

Sadly, the author died soon after these covers were finished but she liked them so much she sent us a dozen red roses to say how happy she was. What a privilege.

Client: Little Brown, Book Group
Commissioned by Sian Wilson, Senior Designer
Images: Getty