The 5 Ws of Illustrated-Book Design (Part 2 of 2)
Last week, I began examining some favorite VAI fine art and architecture illustrated book projects using the journalist’s basic storytelling structure—who, what, when, where, and why—to consider how VAI integrates graphic design in the service of animating a book’s story. Part 1 considered the who and what; part 2 looks at the remaining three Ws.
When—Samuel McIntire: Carving an American Style
In 2008, Vern Associates produced the book, which accompanied an exhibition at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA, on Samuel McIntire, one of federal-period New England’s preeminent master woodcarvers and architects. The number and variety of objects in this exhibition gave the visitor an in-depth look at life in the upper reaches of society during the period. Like the exhibition itself, the design of the publication reflected styles of the day. For example, I was careful to employ colors McIntire used in his interior decoration and set the text in Baskerville, a popular typeface during McIntire’s era.
Where—Means of Grace, Hope of Glory: Trinity Church in the City of Boston
Vern Associates was commissioned to help commemorate the 125th anniversary of the Trinity Church building, H. H. Richardson’s masterpiece in Boston’s Copley Square. Given the opportunity to work with some of the city’s premier architectural photographers, I art directed the new photography of the building’s interior and exterior, which was created for the publication.
The building is a perennial favorite of architects and laymen alike, so it was imperative to convey a sense of place throughout the book, from the way the church is sited in the square and relates to its surroundings to how the individual might feel sitting alone in the vast interior.
Brian and I met with Trinity and proposed a “birds-eye” tour of the church, beginning with the view high above Copley Square, then exploring each face of the exterior up close, and finally heading inside for an in-depth look at the interior, both high & low.
Photographs of worshipers and visitors in all of the seasons are interspersed throughout the book, to convey the sense of spiritual sustenance this building has offered to so many for so long.
Why—Visualizing Density, by Julie Campoli and Alex S. McLean
Visualizing Density was the first book we produced for the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, which has become one of our longtime clients. Lincoln Institute, which publishes professional and scholarly books on urban planning and land conservation policy, sought our help in creating what would be their most ambitious illustrated book to date.
The two authors—Julie Campoli, an urban designer, and Alex McLean, a world-renowned aerial photographer—devoted years to preparing this exhaustive reference about residential density as witnessed in a wide range of urban areas. McLean shot thousands of aerial photographs throughout the United States, then Campoli wrote the text that accompanies them. We worked with Lincoln Institute and the authors to design a matrix of photos that display a single-acre plot in these residential neighborhoods. We then organized them, starting with sparsely populated areas and progressing toward ever-higher density. Each grouping shows aerial photos of the neighborhood, its plan and street pattern, and its context within its particular city or town.
The result is a comprehensive reference that allows urban designers and architects to compare the successes and failures of rural areas, suburbs, and densely packed cities, demonstrating how each might suggest ways to improve neighborhood planning for all combinations of living areas.