Book design is one of the most important aspects that defines the attractiveness of the book and how it communicates its content to the reader. When properly studied, it can turn a book into a treasure.
In order to understand this better better, we must first accept that books are not simply instruments made to carry knowledge -they certainly are used for that too, but not exclusively. Books can also be:
a. objects of desire, something from which the reader derives enormous pleasure. That may not be true for everyone, but dedicated readers of all kinds genres admit that reading is an important aspect of their lives, linked to various activities, both personal and social.
b. signs of one’s identity -gender, age, class, sexual orientation, etc. Different people value different books for different reasons.
c. a challenge field where the designer’s craft is judged. Can he/she give the story a face? One that people would instantly recognize and that they would instantly want to read?
In this project we wish to share with you wonderful books that should be in everyone’s library and could be proud members of the “book design hall of fame”.
Our first take is on the great manga Children of the Sea, by Daisuke Igarashi.
Chapter One: Front & Back Cover
A story that lasts for many volumes is a difficult case for every designer. One must make sure that the original layout is flexible enough to adjust to new illustrations and yet always remain solid to its identity.
Children of the Sea has achieved that purpose with great ease, for each volume can be equallt admired individuality or as part of the series. I love the fact that, with every new volume the overall hue of the cover gets darker, reflecting the development of the plot.
The illustrations are very detail but what makes this case special is the consistency to the level of detail, so that if we put the different covers one next to the other, they fit perfectly.
Another thing that makes this design amazing is the quality of the print and the UV effect used in the front and back cover. It adds another dimension to the product and makes it come alive in ways that average covers simply do not.
The back cover follows the same reasoning; it uses a strong illustration and many details but always keeps the layout stable and thus manages to provide us with a consistent, strong design. The fact that typography is used dynamically makes things even better.
Chapter Two: The Logo
What makes Children of the Sea a masterpiece is its logo. I am usually the kind of guy who goes nuts for the simple designs, yet this logo has managed to combine complicated human forms with a deformed and cut typeface, and still keep the end result readable and interesting, perfectly harmonized with the heavy background.
My favorite version is the one you can find on the backpack.
Chapter Three: Typography & Details
The way to make a difference is to give attention to every detail. Such technique as the one you can see below can only be the result of hard work from the designer, but more importantly, smart and good work. That is the kind of work the reader rewards, financially and aesthetically.
Last, but not least, Children of the Sea provides us with wonderful illustrations in the first pages of the book. Those illustrations have the same reasoning to the ones used in the cover; they depict the development of the plot, yet remain aesthetically consistent.
A smart, elegant and well studied piece of art, Children of the Sea is a must for every friend of books -and art in general.
Next time, prepare for old school design. Osamu Tezuka‘s Ayako, by Vertical Inc, will be our next feature.