Le Flambeau book cover

Le Flambeau School of Driving

After designing the cover of Miracle Motors, Peggy Morrison asked me to design the entirety of her new book, Le Flambeau School of Driving. She wrote this one in the same manner as the preceding book, compiling stories form her life as a form of narrative theology—teaching by example about going far and going deep with God.

This idea of “going far and going deep” was the central idea behind the book design. The phrase “reckless abandon” kept surfacing as we talked about leaning into life on God’s terms, because God rarely calls us to what is comfortable or easy. God teaches us “on the job” and uses our very weakness to let God show through. Discussing these things, Peggy came up with the idea of a rocket ship with “student driver” on it. This image perfectly captures the kind of reckless abandon she writes about.


To keep some visual continuity between this book and the last, I used the same illustration style—ink drawing with digital watercolor.

The mystery and marvel of space travel was never greater than at the height of the space age in the 1960s. Images, color palettes, and type from this period inspired the cover.

As with Miracle Motors I tried to integrate the title with the illustration. In this case, the title (which doubles as the name of a school) would be on the rocket itself, as if this rocket were driving school property (complete with “student driver” stickers). I settled on a long thin rocket because it seemed less “cartoonish” and more closely resembled an actual rocket. It also accommodated the length of the title.

Image of conceptual sketches of the cover

In the illustration the planet is lit but the sky is dark, implying a non-earth planet. This presumably puts the student driver astronaut far out of her/his depth and comfort zone. (Go far, go deep.)

I always try to integrate the UPC into my designs, rather than just awkwardly slapping it on. In this case the UPC is part of the astronaut’s pack.

Image of the final cover design, open to show how the design wraps from back to spine to front.

For the lettering I tried to mimic signage script from the ‘60s and tall thin gothic lettering. Compressed gothic type was used extensively in publications from NASA.

“Le Flambeau School of Driving” title hand lettering

Text Block

Text was set in Grad, a face from Mark Simonson Studio inspired by Century Schoolbook—again rooted in 1960s type themes. The text face was chosen in part based on the author’s desire for a Q with a tail that loops over the bottom of the bowl.

Headings were set in Franklin Gothic URW Condensed—tying it to the condensed gothic lettering on the cover.

The way the book is divided is a bit unusual; it has chapters with sections, and some sections have subsections. The sections and subsections made the table of contents a bit of a challenge.

I built visual hierarchy appropriate to the content while taking into consideration the page count.

Image of the book open to the table of contents and Foreword