What makes a book ‘a book’?

Broken Narratives

Berta’s mini book project

My first mini project since studying Graphic Communication started with Berta’s book project: Broken Narratives. We were given a brief asking us to work on the design of a book using a selected theme. Mine was ‘staircase’, and my task was to use this as a starting point to redesign the book in front of me through means of cutting, sticking, and experimenting, and relate the design in some way to the plot of my theme. The idea was to use destruction to enhance our creativity, and to try to break the rules of what we might usually perceive a normal book to look like.

Staircase‘ is about a man who arrives at a Sanatorium with a mild case of a disease. The 7 floors of the hospital represent the extent of the disease, and the lower the floor, the closer the patient is to death. The man in the story is gradually moved down each floor, so i wanted to use the image of a descending staircase in my book design to echo the storyline.

After ripping out pages and experimenting with the ways in which I could incorporate a staircase into the book, i begun by cutting out some 3D steps of the front cover and sticking some relevant words beneath each step, eg ‘down’, ‘condition’. I used cut outs of short paragraphs to create a pattern in the shape of a staircase on the front cover around the 3D steps but wanted to extend this idea further in a more engaging way for the reader. This led me to question the form of the pages within the book, thus I began trimming each page from start to finish of the book so that each page got smaller and smaller, creating a downwards slope to represent the descent of the patient down each floor. Other elements I incorporated were a cutout of some stairs using negative space on the back cover of the book, and a set of stairs emerging from the title page.

This project allowed me to have fun with experimentation in book design, create a new visual dimension to my book and encouraged me to gain a new perspective to explore what defines a book.