Design of "On the Origin of Species"

  • This is the final project for my Type II class. Students are asked to typeset/make a book. There are three choices of book. Each of them is very different in structure. I chose the book On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin.
  • Variation and evolution are the main idea of this book. To express the idea of variation I did the image on my dust jacket by letterpress. It has a variety of different faces of O. I chose O not only because the title start with O, but also the shape of O resemble zero, which conveys the idea of start point/origin.
  • This book relates to nature. To express quality of nature through material/color choice, I used green as my main color. I also used beige colored suede-like fabric for book cover.
  • To make the jacket hamonious with the texture fabric inside, I add texture to the piece by using Photoshop. I produced the texture by press the paper directly to the mixture of solvent and letterpress ink. I also used same method to make the texture on end paper.
  • I did something to the back of the dust jacket as well. I put the only Illustration in the original edition on the back of the jacket. Since the author refers back to illustration constantly in the book, it is more convenient for the reader to have the illustration separately. If the illustration is treated traditionally as a folded bonus page in the middle of the book, it is inconvenient for readers to flip the page repetitively. But what's more, it creates a weird moment in the rhythm of this book.
    There is one extra reason for putting illustration on the back. I know a lot of people does not appreciate dust jackets. They throw away the dust jacket right after they buy a book. The main reason is that jacket makes the reading experience uncomfortable as these readers leave it on while reading the book. By putting critical information on the back of jacket prevents these people discarding it. Also it will reminds them to take off the jacket while reading.
  • For the treatment on typography, I tried to create the hierarchy as subtly as I can. I want to this book has a high legibility, so I tracked the type.
  • Since the main idea of the book is about variation and changing, it is suitable for including a subtle, but constantly-changing element in the book. So I gradually made the weight of page number/chapter number heavier to convey the idea of evolution.
  • Considering about small movements within the type, I thought about incorporate color in text. Index, for me, is a suitable place to play with color. I find that it is hard always for most of the readers to search for the word mentioned in the index among a large chunk of body text. So I used color green in text as a search tool for readers.
  • The book was bound by hands with a traditional case binding. This binding gives it a higher finish quality than the other kind of binding, since it goes well with the texture of cover. Spine is rounded because it makes the book lay flat and easier to flip. Also round spine will not create folding line on the jacket which can be a distracting element for the illustration on the back of it.
  • *These booklets shoud be together. It is separate due to the limitation of uploading file on issuu.