DESIGN THE COVER OF AMERICAN SOLVENCY AND BE A PART OF HISTORY IN THE MAKING
"American Solvency: One Constitutional Amendment to Permanently Fix Much of What is Broken in American Government"
I. A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY
II. THE BOOK
III. THE COVER DESIGN PROJECT
IV. AN ENVISIONED COVER DESIGN
I. A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY
"American Solvency" is the basis for a serious effort to amend the Constitution of the United States in order to resolve America's long-term debt problem and ensure our country's solvency. As such, this cover design project presents a unique opportunity.
If this effort doesn't succeed, then--as with any other posted project--the designer who creates the winning design will receive the award amount set for this project. Money is always nice.
However, if this effort does succeed, then the winning designer will also receive something far greater than money. If this effort succeeds, the next Amendment to the United States Constitution will have a face, and that face will be the winning design of this project. The winning cover design--and the winning designer--will forever after be associated with the resolution of one of the toughest political problems our country has ever confronted.
So, participants in this project can compete for a chance to win money. Beyond that, participants can also compete for something that money could never buy: a chance to make history.
II. THE BOOK
The spectacle of America's debt-limit debate in the summer of 2011 was a stark reminder of a fiscal crisis that has been brewing for a long, long time, and has now started to pose a much more immediate and dire threat. Our country has a long-term debt problem. As if on autopilot, our government continuously spends more money than it receives. The deficits between the two are financed by taking out debt. That debt accumulates, and if it gets large enough, America will risk insolvency.
Some say that America's deficit spending is a revenue problem, and that we should accordingly increase our revenue to eliminate our deficits. Others say that it is a spending problem, and that we should accordingly reduce our spending to eliminate our deficits. Neither side has been able to propose a solution capable of breaking the political gridlock between these two perspectives. As a result, although nobody wants fiscal recklessness, our deficit spending has become entrenched. Our government's process for establishing our revenue-side and spending-side policies is broken.
"American Solvency" approaches our perilous financial situation from a new perspective. This book takes a fresh look at the factors underlying our long-term debt problem and proposes a constitutional amendment to resolve those factors. Unlike the balanced budget amendments that have been brought up from time to time, this Amendment is not based upon a mere requirement that our budgets be balanced. After all, a great deal of our problem in the first place is that it has proven to be effectively impossible to achieve the degree of political coordination necessary to produce a balanced budget. Instead of issuing a bare demand for balanced budgets, this Amendment does something else: it creates conditions that will lead us to naturally balance our budgets ourselves. It is, for lack of a better term, a Solvency Amendment.
The Solvency Amendment will solve our long-term debt problem in a non-partisan and unobjectionable way, by focusing strictly on procedure and by implementing only a modest change. Nevertheless, it will completely resolve the factors underlying our problem, and will therefore also solve our problem permanently. We will never again be subjected to an existential crisis over our country's finances in which we are forced to rely upon our elected officials to perform superhuman feats of wisdom and political forbearance. Under the Amendment, balanced budgets will simply become the natural result of our ordinary political process in action. Our deficit spending will no longer be entrenched, and America's solvency will thereby be ensured.
The Amendment will fix our government's broken process for establishing spending-side and revenue-side policies. That process, however, is not the only thing broken in American government. While some degree of partisanship is inevitable in our politics, not all partisanship exists from necessity. Excessive partisanship, which unnecessarily pits us against one another, has broken our political culture.
In the course of resolving the factors underlying our long-term debt problem, the Amendment will at the same time eliminate at least one unnecessary source of partisan rancor, which will in turn help to fix our broken political culture. By bridging one pointless divide, we will find ourselves more free to work together in order to solve whatever other problems our country may face.
In this way, with a single constitutional amendment, we can permanently fix much of what is broken in American government.
(See "FILE 1 American Solvency (sample).pdf" for a sample of the book.)
III. THE COVER DESIGN PROJECT
III.A. INTENDED AUDIENCE
The intended audience for this book is the entire voting public of the United States. This includes--maybe even especially includes--people who do not think of themselves as being particularly interested in politics. As such, the cover design should strive to be striking and compelling to as wide an audience as possible.
III.B. REQUIRED ELEMENTS
On the front--
* The title: "American Solvency"
* The subtitle: "One Constitutional Amendment To Permanently Fix Much of What is Broken In American Government"
On the back--
* This phrase (although not in quotation marks): "Have you heard about the Solvency Amendment?"
* The URL "AmericanSolvency.net"
* The publisher's mark in "FILE 3 Squaring The Circle.gif", incorporated in some subtle way into the background
* A blank space for the ISBN number and barcode image in the lower right-hand corner: 2" wide, 1.2" tall, 1/4" up from the bottom trim line of the cover, and 1/4" to the left of the spine
(Note: the cover design should not include the author's name.)
III.C. WHAT TO COMMUNICATE
Given the intended audience and the subject matter of the book, the design should connect to the people of the United States ("We the People," i.e., the United States as a people, preceding and existing separately from its government). The design should also in some way evoke or refer to the U.S. Constitution.
The design should ideally convey impressions of wisdom, strength, and hope (e.g., through conveying such things as authenticity, authority, capability, certainty, credibility, dependability, durability, purity, reliability, responsibility, safety, security, soundness, steadiness, sureness, and trustworthiness).
III.D. GENERAL PREFERENCES
As a general preference, the non-textual graphical elements on the front cover should be capable of functioning as an icon when taken together. That is, apart from the words, the graphical elements should constitute a single symbolic image. The reason for this is that the cover design must be capable of supporting symbolic associations with the book and with the concepts discussed therein. This general preference has two implications.
The first implication is that graphical elements should strive to be uncluttered and elegant. Distinctive flourishes and ornamentation will be welcome and appreciated, but should strive for subtlety.
The second implication is that any graphical elements used should be at least somewhat abstract--in other words, no photographs or ray-traced images, please. Abstraction in the graphical elements will allow them to be personally internalized more easily. Photographs and ray-traced images, in contrast, have an inherent specificity that does not lend itself to personal internalization.
Such images could be used indirectly, however, as a basis for semi-abstract graphical elements (i.e., elements that are not recognizably photographic). For example, software could be used to digitally alter a photographic element until it is made semi-abstract. Alternatively, a photographic element may serve as a reference for more traditionally-created graphical elements (e.g. a drawing, painting, watercolor, or collage) and may thereby be made semi-abstract.
colors to use--
* aged-parchment yellow
* aged-flag blue
* aged-flag red
colors to avoid--
IV. AN ENVISIONED COVER DESIGN
This project envisions a particular cover design (which is described below) based upon the design parameters described above. As such this project specifically requests (a) entries that are variations upon the envisioned cover design, and (b) entries inspired by this envisioned cover design.
However, despite this specific request, all entries will be seriously evaluated. This includes entries inspired by the envisioned cover design discussed below but departing from it in some way, and even entries that bend the design parameters discussed above (although not with respect to the required elements). While entries based upon the envisioned cover design will most likely be favored, any compelling design concepts are welcome.
IV.A. (ENVISIONED) COVER BACKGROUND
As envisioned, the entire design cover will have a solid and continuous background (front, spine, and back) resembling yellowing, aged parchment. This background will be at least somewhat mottled and/or textured. While this background may contain scattered imperfections, its imperfections will not dominate and will be distributed in a roughly uniform or even way. Specifically, the background will not appear degraded around the edges, such as by having a border with a darker color, with rips or tears, or with a "look and feel" that is otherwise different from the rest of the background.
This envisioned background will thus incorporate one of the desired colors (aged-parchment yellow). By resembling parchment, the background will implicitly evoke and refer to the U.S. Constitution, and will convey an impression of wisdom (e.g., by conveying authority, certainty, soundness, and trustworthiness). However, by not appearing degraded, the background will also convey an impression of strength (e.g., by conveying dependability, durability, reliability, security, steadiness, and sureness).
URLs depicting aged-parchment yellows:
IV.B. (ENVISIONED) FRONT COVER GRAPHICAL ELEMENT
As envisioned, the front cover will include a single graphical element incorporating an image of the American flag, either in the background or in some other way subservient to and not interfering with the text of the title and the subtitle. Areas that would normally be white will instead be "transparent" (i.e., showing the underlying cover background), thus leaving the blue field and the red stripes. The blue field will resemble the blue of an aged American flag, and the red stripes will likewise resemble the red of an aged American flag. However, although depicted using aged-flag blue and red, the colors will still be vibrant, their inks aged but not washed-out (i.e., suggesting age without suggesting damage), as with an old but meticulously maintained flag. Moreover, the flag itself will not appear degraded: it will be a modern flag (i.e., a 50-star flag) , and will be perfectly intact (i.e., not fraying at the edges). The visible blue and red portions will not be photographic, but will be somewhat abstract (such as by being based on a photograph but digitally altered, or perhaps by being rendered as a drawing, a painting, a watercolor, or a collage). The entire flag will be depicted at an angle, as if viewed looking up, and from the side, i.e., with the flag rising from left to right across the page. Finally, the flag will be depicted as rippling.
This envisioned front cover graphical element will thus incorporate the other two desired colors (aged-flag blue and aged-flag red). By being non-photographic, the graphical element will be more capable of serving as a single symbolic image. Being based upon the U.S. flag, the graphical element will connect to the people of the United States, and will convey an impression of hope (e.g., by conveying authenticity, capability, credibility, dependability, purity, responsibility, safety, security, and trustworthiness). However, despite the use of aged-blue and aged-red, the combination of (a) the still-vibrant colors, (b) the modern 50-star flag layout, (c) the rising of the flag from left to right, and (d) the ripples will give the appearance of a flag in active use, thereby allowing the graphical element to also convey an impression of strength.
URLs depicting aged-flag blues and aged-flag reds:
URL discussing and depicting the modern 50-star flag layout:
URLs depicting angles of view:
URLs depicting rippling flags:
IV.C. (ENVISIONED) FRONT COVER TEXT ELEMENTS
As envisioned, the title "American Solvency" will appear in an old-style font (i.e., a historical typeface font circa the 17th or 18th century, such as a Caslon typeface), suggesting history and tradition (perhaps with a slight or subtly decayed appearance suggesting imperfections of historical printing processes). The title will preferably be in "small caps" (i.e., all capital letters, with the first letters being larger than the others).
URLs discussing and depicting Caslon typeface (search for "America"):
As envisioned, the subtitle "One Constitutional Amendment to Permanently Fix Much of What is Broken in American Government" will appear below the title and in a script font, suggesting the handwriting on the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, but without sacrificing legibility as viewed by the modern eye.
A URL pointing to high-resolution copies of the Declaration of Independence, the 4-page Constitution, and the Bill of Rights:
(As a conceptual springboard, see the title page of the book in "FILE 2 American Solvency (title page).pdf".)
IV.D. (ENVISIONED) BACK COVER TEXT ELEMENTS
As envisioned, the question ("Have you heard about the Solvency Amendment?") and the URL ("AmericanSolvency.net") will be different fonts.
The font used for the question should evoke a conversational feeling.
The font used for the URL should be more functional, and should be understated (such as by being smaller, and/or by being toward the bottom).
IV.E. (ENVISIONED) BACK COVER GRAPHICAL ELEMENT
As envisioned, the background of the back cover will subtly incorporate the graphical element depicted in "FILE 3 Squaring The Circle.gif" (which is the publisher's mark, symbolizing "squaring the circle," i.e., resolving an unresolvable problem). The mark will be depicted in the colors of the front cover graphical element, i.e., aged-flag blue and aged-flag red. The mark may also be altered to make it somewhat indistinct and abstract (a version of the mark altered to make it somewhat indistinct and abstract is depicted in "FILE 4 SquaringTheCircle (semi-abstract).gif").
Trim size: 5.25" x 8",
Page count: 114,
Interior type: Black and White,
Page color: Cream,
Spine width: 0.285"
Who are your readers?
(see "III.A. INTENDED AUDIENCE" above)
What 3 things would you like to communicate to your readers with this design?
(see "III.C. WHAT TO COMMUNICATE" above)
Style and Content
What colors do you want to see in your design?
(see "III.E. COLORS" above)
What colors do you NOT want to see in your design?
(see "III.E. COLORS" above)
Describe the style(s) you like (traditional, modern, etc.)
(see "III.D. GENERAL PREFERENCES" above)
What content must be included in your design?
(see "III.B. REQUIRED ELEMENTS" above)
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