Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Interesting Books Using Design

Because I am also a designer, books that push the experience of reading to include design always catch my eye. I thought you might be interested in the following two books that came up on my radar.

Tree of Codes
The Tree of Codes, by Jonathan Safran Foer, has done what no other book has done (and as a result, Foer had the dickens of a time finding a publisher). It has a different die cut on each page. A die cut is a specific cut out in the paper. Here's what I found out about this book:

"Initially deemed impossible to make, the book is a production first—as much a sculptural object a work of masterful storytelling. Inspired to exhume a new story from an existing text, Safran Foer took his favorite book, The Street of Crocodiles by Polish-Jewish writer Bruno Schulz, an
d used it as a canvas, cutting into and out of the pages, to arrive at an original new story. The story of a last day of life, as one character is chased to extinction, is multi-layered with immense, anxious and, at times, disorientating imagery, crossing both a sense of time and place and giving it universal resonance.

Visual Editions’ involvement with Jonathan Safran Foer began when he expressed an interest in experimenting with the process of using a metal die to cut the pages. With that as a starting point, they explored the physical relationship between pages and how it could be d
eveloped to work with a meaningful narrative; Safran Foer quite literally began cutting into the pages of The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz. As the author undertook the challenge of carving a brand new story from an existing text, Visual Editions and the book’s designer, Sara De Bondt, took the project to printer after printer, all of whom said a book with a different die-cut on every page simply couldn’t be made. Eventually, after months of writing, cutting and prototyping, Belgian printers, Die Keure, found a way to make the impossible possible."

If that was too much, then just check the pic:

This is a book clearly not written in English about dreams and uses colored thread to link ideas. Cool, huh? Here's the official information about it:

"Maria Fischer's Traumgedanken book is a collection of 'literary, philosophical, psychological and scientifical texts' about dreams. The book uses threads pierced through the pages and affixed to other pages to make physical hyperlinks between ideas."
My first thought was, hmmm....this book would be best suited to an e-reader, where real hyperlinks could be inserted. But of course that's not the point. This is about printed books, so this is pretty cool. I can't even imagine the production and thought and planning that went into this one.

Have you ever run across neat printed books like this, which push the boundaries of book design and use?

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