Typography Project 5: System

About the Project

The objective of this project was to build on my knowledge an practice in selecting type, applying typographic treatments, developing typographic hierarchy, and expressing ideas visually. I used these concepts in this project to organize and design the content of a book.

My Process

Using Project Gutenberg, I was tasked with selecting a book, and then to research that book. I chose the book, Wildflowers Worth Knowing, and in research design and content of botany books I visited Cowles Library and checked out three books to use as a reference to my own. I noted that most field journal books about botany were very small in size, which makes it convenient for carrying and bringing with you on the go. I also took measurements of these books and created diagrams of how these books were designed. Below is a diagram of one of these books that I created in order to decide how to decide my own book.

The next step in my process was to explore a series of different typefaces, type settings, compositional options, and methods for organizing my content for both the interior and cover pages. For this step, I analyzed what type I would use using my professor’s template for analyzing type. What this looked like is pictured below with the font that I chose, Book Antiqua.

With these type sample palette I created I began applying different samples to different compositions. Below are three iterations of my internal pages and three iterations of my cover using this typeface.


The next stage of the project was to refine the iterations of cover and spread that I liked best and begin to apply those changes to the entire text. Obviously, I’m not going to upload all of these spreads to my portfolio website to show you because that would be using an insane amount of space, but instead I will show you a few samples here and then give you a link to the digital version of the entire book here.

The final stage of this project was printing and binding my final product. To do this, I had to learn how to print duplex, so that my pages would be in the right places when I started to bind my book. My book could not be more than 64 pages, and had to have at least 16 pages. I ended up with about 40 pages, which was perfect for me because it’s a pretty decent size for the sample of pages I chose to include. Because my book was that big, however, I had to use a different technique of binding than some of my classmates who chose to print about 20 pages or so instead. Because my book was twice as thick, I had to bind two separate pamphlets of my book together, which essentially meant I had to complete more steps than others. My process consisted of the following steps:

  1. Separating my cover from the rest of the book in a separate InDesign file & printing 2 copies of that on their own sheets of paper (in which I picked out a completely different color and weight of paper).
  2.  Removing the cover from my original InDesign file & deleting half of the book in order to print 20 pages on their own for the first pamphlet.
  3. Returning the half of the book which I didn’t print from my InDesign file and then renumbering my page numbers (because it using special characters alters your page numbers if you delete pages. I didn’t have to do this for the first half of the book because the page numbers didn’t change).
  4. Cutting the two cover pages apart from eachother, leaving
  5. Creating a template for punching holes in my book’s binding.
  6. Using my template to punch holes in my book’s binding
  7. Using a needle and thread to bind my two pamphlets together.
  8. Trimming the excess paper from my book.

My Reflection

Overall, I’m very happy with how my book turned out. It was amazing to see something I spent weeks on come to life, especially since this was probably one of the most rewarding projects I’ve done in this class. I’m just very happy with everything I learned through this project, from book binding (because that is a very useful thing to learn) to just overall design, and minimal things that I didn’t know how to do before, like how to link text boxes together.

I feel as though my ideas came together very nicely, and that this book has very practical use for someone who would need it. For example, you can use the back cover of my book to measure wildflowers up to 6 inches high. The design feels very refined and thought out, the use of images incorporated within the text makes the page feel fuller, and really helps the reader find what they are looking for.

I feel that the way I organized my text made the spreads seem more legible, and easy to read. When I skim through the pages of my book I don’t feel as though it’s a heavy reading that I would loathe spending my time with. Through critiques in class and chats with my professor, I feel like most people are in agreement with that aspect of my book as well.