The Exquisite Book

22 Jun

Visit The Exquisite Book Project website to read more about The Exquisite Book.
Read about designing the chapter openers on Book By Its Cover.
Find The Exquisite Book on the Chronicle Books website.

I stumbled across this gorgeous book on Book By Its Cover and it interested me in terms of book design for a few reasons.

The first was because it’s a collaboration between many artists (as opposed to being, like most books, the work of one author or artist).This collaboration is incorporated into the design – each chapter is a fold out of images that carry on from one to the other so that, even though the work of each artist is very distinct, it is still connected to the work of all the other artists in the book. While I really like this idea, I’m not so sure I’m a fan of the fold-out pages: I’ve had books which do a similar thing and usually end up getting frustrated and unintentionally ripping the pages when I try to fold them back into the book!

The second was because the chapter opening pages play with font and with individual letters in a way that I found really interesting. These pages use type as an illustration, so reading is not so important as how the words look as a final image. Again, I really like this (it’s very whimsical) but I’m such a practical person that I’m not sure I like chapter intros upon which you can’t even read the chapter title properly!

I think this book is a really good example of one that is very pretty (indeed, exquisite!) but not so functional. I think that a book can let itself down if it focuses too much on how it ‘looks’ and not enough on how it ‘reads’ (or interacts with the reader in terms of use) and vice versa.

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