Their Eyes Were Watching God

My Role

Book Cover Design

Print Book Design

eBook Design


Overview: The publishing industry is rapidly changing with eBooks on course to outsell printed editions by 2018.

Problem: Design an eBook and print book edition of a title that meet the unique needs of print and electronic book readers.

Solution: Their Eyes Were Watching God — a print book with a colorful and engaging jacket and typography optimized for for the printed page as well as an eBook organized with simple navigation and typography designed for a screen in an ePub file format.

Style Board

One of the most important aspects of book design is setting the look and feel to match the tone of the book. Their Eyes Were Watching God is a coming of age novel written in 1937 by Zora Neale Hurston. It is a love story told in the captivating voice of an African-American woman who refuses to live in sorrow, bitterness, fear, or foolish romantic dreams. It is the story of fair-skinned, fiercely independent Janie Crawford and her evolving selfhood through three marriages and a life marked by poverty, trials, and purpose. The book is written in a thick, southern dialect. My first step in establishing the tone of the book was to create a mood board. I was greatly inspired by the quilts from the women of Gee’s Bend, Alabama.

Margaret Darcher Their Eyes Were Watching God Moodboard

Jacket Design

Next I designed the printed jacket. Using the colors from the style board, I quilted the front and back covers. I embroidered the type by hand to give the jacket an accessible, folksy feel.

Margaret Darcher Their Eyes Were Watching God Book Cover Book Jacket Design

Book Interior

In designing the book interior, I focused on user experience for the printed page. I choose a typeface with large x-height for increased readability. The text block has generous margins and a light type color that gives the readers’ eyes some rest and the ability to read for a long period of time. Special attention was given to micro-typography for the best possible readability from page to page.

Margaret Darcher


When I converted the text from printed book to eBook, my goal was to optimize the content for readability on small screens. I removed all micro-typographic treatment so that text could flow seamlessly across a variety of device sizes. I increased the weight and size of the typeface for better screen readability as well.

Margaret Darcher Their Eyes Were Watching God eBook

Margaret Darcher eBook