The Revenant

 In Design

Back in August of last year I started working on an interior design for The Revenant, a revenge novel written by Michael Punke back in 2002. Picador was re-releasing it this year, and it was to be made into a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy. By now you’ve seen the amazing trailer for the film—directed by Oscar-winning director, Alejandro G. Iñárritu. And if you haven’t, here it is:

All of the book work happened well before any of the film footage was out in the world, so this design would be completely new—though the movie tie-in version would use some of the promo materials. More on that later.

What I did on the interior was nothing astounding. I wanted it to be pretty simple but powerful, and an easy way to do that was to follow the cover’s lead by using some very bold display type. The cover, by the way, was beautifully done by Picador’s creative director, Henry Sene Yee. Check it out, along with some interior samples:





Outside of creating easy-to-read text, some bold headers, and incorporating maps of the area where the story takes place into the book’s endpapers, I didn’t do a ton of work on the interior. I did create a blind stamp to be put on the cloth case’s cover, though. It’s a kind of standard claw mark to represent the bear’s attack on the main character. My pitch to cover the book in fur instead of cloth was rejected . . .


Prior to the Picador release, there were several other editions of the book over the years. Here are the covers I could find for them from new to old (not sure of the designers in any case):





Now that the film is imminent, Picador has released a movie tie-in paperback version of the book, which includes my interior design and a cover lifted from the first posters to be released.


I’ve seen a lot of what I assume are fan poster designs online. But the only official ones I’ve seen—one of which serves as that Picador movie tie-in cover—are these beauties from Neil Kellerhouse. I’m so happy to see him working on this because his wide, empty photographic elements lend themselves perfectly. His images are also the opposite of Henry’s original cover design, which is tight and tense. I love that the designs go in different directions and both work so well.



Even though I didn’t do a ton of work on this, it was a fun project. And it’s really interesting to watch it come to life in such a different way with the film gaining momentum as it is right now.

The movie version of The Revenant is in theaters on Christmas day. And you can buy the book right now. Revenge stories make great holiday gifts . . .

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