Author: Riya Vashistha



‘Original’ book
Clean slate









What is a book? Why are we so scared to damage them? Why is this format invincible?

This mini brief required us to question the ‘concept’ of books, alongside with their composition, layout, binding etc. True enough, I had never thought or even considered the importance of visual dimension within books. We have all become so accustomed to flipping the pages in a certain pace, holding the spine in a particular manner and feeling the repetitive texture of paper, that all of these aspects are almost ‘forgotten’ by our conscious self. And bringing in this element of ‘connection’ to a reader, can help to create powerful and immersive experience.

With ‘loop’ as my chosen theme, I decided to narrow down some factors aside from the provided storyline/narrative (which is based on a female, that hired to kill her partner, with the help of an assassin, who is reading a book about, female, that hired to kill her partner, with the help of an assassin, in reality).

The creation of loop sits on-top of the temporal dimension: time. Without the fourth dimension, a loop wouldn’t exist (whether it may be in the narrative or in reality). Instantly, I knew that alongside with the murder narrative, the blend of time could add in an interesting imagery.

The cover of the book, focusing on repetitive days and time variations, alongside with texture
Striking red acrylic paint, with haphazard brush strokes to portray the ‘soon to be’ murder scene

I have always been extremely interested with texture and the sensations it can provide, therefore I wanted to draw severe attention towards it. But the material couldn’t just be anything. It also had a make a connection with loop or the narrative of murder. After some quick research, fabrics, especially threads seem to have a portrayal of ‘loops.’ With their never ending entwining threads curling each other, they almost seem to reflect some aspects of loops and temporal dimension. Thus, the need to experiment with threads seemed very important. Whether they may be glued on or stitched into the texts.

The introduction page stripped down to important words, with a layout change, to slow down the pace of turning pages
A combination of materials and techniques

For one the ‘main’ concept page, I decided to create a collage based on the predator (who is a female and hired to kill her partner, with the help of an assassin, in the book he is reading, in reality) before linking it with the prey (who is the man). Of course, I also wanted to created some repetition from the cover, so I brought in the element of time (and day) to mimic the loop of reality and fiction. Lastly, I paired it with some sewn in lines, to support the madness, that a loop in time could create, especially with a murder.

A close up look at the texture
The texture representing the madness

The ‘taboo’ of not destroying books. The page flipping pace. The feel of paper.

These ideologies can easily be altered through movement, sound, pace, time, involvement, shape, space, 3d, scale, texture etc and in return, they can make the reader more connected with books physically and realise that we have all been missing out a lot on the ‘experience’ of reading.

Are monograms always supposed to be uppercase?


G A R A M O N D     E X P E R I M E N T A T I O N



Initial practice scribble

During the briefing of this mini brief, we were all asked to experiment with our own initials and transform them into a monogram.

Then, a question struck me. Why do we always tend to write monograms with uppercase letters? Many brand/companies prefer uppercase more than lowercase in their identity.

Is it due to our approach to grammar? Perhaps it’s the history? Or it just looks ‘nice?’

Lowercase ‘stencil’

Keeping this as the core idea to my project, I began to draw out my initials (R and V) with lowercase letters, referencing the ever so popular Garamond typeface. Sure, it did seem very strange when I was sketching, almost inaccurate, but it also made me realise how deeply this concept resides within us. Subconsciously, our approach to grammar has enabled our minds to form this complex layer of psychology that instantly ‘corrects’ our approach to lowercase lettering, making it seem/feel ‘wrong’ if it’s(lowercase lettering) on its own (i.e no uppercase).

Experimenting with overlapping lettering
Developing ‘overlapping’ experiment with contrast

Along the journey of experimentation, I accidentally discovered the beautiful contrast that black and white offers, especially in lettering. This was also something that caught my eye, therefore I started to build the core of my project around the basis of ‘contrast.’

After much confusion, on terms of layout and placement of the letters, I looked back at my initial sketches and found an idea that I liked the best, because it had the potential to fulfil both of my main focuses.

My final design idea

This piece above, embodies the usage of lowercase lettering in monograms, yet also provides a beautiful balance of contrast between black and white. It’s simple and elegant at the same time.

After all, it’s enjoyable to break the norms that can sometimes bind us.