At the Y

Judging a Book by Its Cover

Three books are stacked on top of each other; a small black book, a medium-sized white book, and a large yellow book. The covers are embossed with intricate designs.
Photo by Bradley Slade

Artist Abby L. deWitt (BFA ’19) may have been the only student to leave out letters and words altogether in her typography class assignment, but that didn’t stop her innovative three-dimensional book cover designs from catching the attention of some of the leading graphic design organizations in the nation. Her take on Elie Wiesel’s Night trilogy left deWitt not only with a unique set of the three Holocaust memoirs but also with a Communication Arts Design Award and the Young Ones Merit Award

The covers depict repeating motifs of the Star of David. “I started by developing patterns based on symbols from Judaism and adjusted how each set of patterns looked based on how . . . the [author’s] outlook on religion and life changed in each book,” says deWitt. Night, Dawn, and Day each have their own colors: black for the dark of night, white for the newness of dawn, and yellow for the day as a “warm representation of finding ourselves.”

The books are blind embossed, a method that makes the art three-dimensional and creates a tactile experience. “The reader is encouraged to touch and feel the covers and engage in a personal way,” she says. For deWitt, whose work often remains in the digital sphere, the physical trilogy has a special place on her bookshelf: “These books are something that I treasure.”

See more of deWitt’s artwork at

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