Activity: Dissect a book into its parts

I have brought 12 examples of recently published books for you to study. I am asking you to spend an hour scrutinizing a single book in order to dissect its whole into its core visual parts. How did the designer, or how can you, connect those parts to form visible systems? How do those systems connect to form a cohesive book design.

The systems used to organize content and create a coherent experience within a contemporary book may rely more on paper type, image use, and type families than on the repetitive placement of elements.

Note page size(s), text block size(s), running heads, folios, colors, and other organizational matter. What paper is used? How do the systems connect or fragment the work? What reasons might the designer have had for arriving at these choices? What system(s) does the book rely on to define its grammar? Is there an overall concept that produced the systems? How do these systems connect to the content.

Present your findings to the whole class and comment below with the name of your book, author and the key properties of your book (ex: changes paper, grids used to denote subject matter, etc.)


One response to “Activity: Dissect a book into its parts”

  1. Ryan says:

    Yale Architecture Perspecta 40: Monster

    Typography system:
    Heads in Bold Helvetica Neue.
    Text/folios in Regular.
    Contributor section/chapter citations in Prestige Elite.
    Third typeface used for Table of Contents and Subtitles.
    Fourth typeface (bold old-style serif) for captions.

    Two Column grid (strict for text flow).
    Flush left, ragged right. No hyphenation.
    Indentation for new para. and definititions/quotes
    Tight margins. Black border (at least).
    Folios and information on the bottom.

    Titles usually on top left and left justified.
    Mostly B&W.
    Photos fall into two column grid, centered, or in 3-column.
    System is broken after a certain point, and some photos are in color, etc.

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