Portfoliobox of the Month: Hardcover Slipcase for Stephen King’s Sleeping Beauties

James Lucey

Where do we go when we dream? Isn’t there something sort of supernatural about it? Our bodies shut down in the dark and we hallucinate for hours. We have these sagas of the subconscious every night, and we just accept it. In fact, we look forward to it.

Maybe we take it for granted just how strange sleep is; and dreaming. That somebody lying perfectly still can be way off in a completely different world. But for Owen King, the subject of sleep was fertile ground for a terrifying story.

In a collaboration with his father, Stephen, the King combo imagines what would happen if the female population of the world fell into a deep slumber in the novel Sleeping Beauties, where waking up has deadly consequences.

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The story is set in the heart of Appalachia, the country town of Dooling, West Virginia. The town is ground zero for a confounding, nightmarish plague which envelops women in white cocoons as they sleep, leaving humanity with an entire gender indisposed.

Without women, the resulting male-only society quickly deteriorates, and one woman, Evie, holds the answers to the cure- if only Dr. Clint Norcross can keep her alive. There’s telepathy, talking animals, and a Lord of the Flies-style battle royale. Pretty standard King fare.

We collaborated with Cemetery Dance Publications to create a custom slipcase for the hardcover edition of Sleeping Beauties.

If you’re a reader, you’ve certainly experienced the heartache of a damaged book jacket. Forced to discard the beautifully decorated paper cover, you’re left with the plain-jane hardcover. It’s just not the same. If only there were some sort of box or casing that could prevent that from happening…

A slipcase adds an extra layer of security to works of literature that defends against damage, dust, and general deterioration. Plus, they’re fun to show off. It’s a collector’s packaging that separates the casual reader from the hardcore fan.

This hardcover slipcase is embellished with foil stamping modeled after of the cover art of Sleeping Beauties. The original artwork depicts the visage of woman peacefully asleep with a moth covering her eyes, and here, that image gets a bespoke treatment.

The thrust of the entire story is apparent from this visual alone; and not to fall into cliché, but you can, in fact, judge this book by its cover.

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Everything is there. The moth alluding to the cocoon-like casing which envelops the afflicted female population. The floral accents cuing the natural world and the aforementioned talking animals. And of course a woman’s face, obscured, almost disappearing.

The design is soft, plenty of curves and feminine imagery, rendered in a shimmering turquoise foil stamping. But the paranormal beauty of the cover art is subverted by juxtaposing bold red lettering against it, signaling danger and providing visual contrast.

Scrawled over top of it all is the title Sleeping Beauties, rendered in an erratic, maniacal font, furthering the foreboding mood of this slipcase in its peculiar handwritten typeface. And you need some foreboding in this design. It’s a Stephen King novel, after all.

There are three different layers of foil stamping to this slipcase, each of which require a specific set up on our machines to accommodate the heat and pressure sensitivities of each respective foil color.

Black Skivertex cover material from FiberMark  wraps the box. This leatherette simulates the look and feel of real leather and adds a tactile element to the piece- something you can feel as much as you can see.

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We’ve been lucky enough to make a multitude of hardcover slipcases for Cemetery Dance Publications and the work of Stephen King. This construction is perfectly suited for hardcover books, spooky or otherwise.

Dreaming of working with Portfoliobox for your next project? Get in touch with us today.

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