Project Evolution

design & creative direction


Harper Collins Publishers


In 2012, Harper Collins publisher asked us to take part Project Evolution – A Brief for Well Designed Books. Taking A Land by Jacquetta Hawkes as the case study, we were asked to research every aspect of the book design. A Land is a classic interpretation of regional culture based on the landscape and the underlying geology of the British Isles. We undertook detailed research into every aspect of the design, from the market, genre and competition, to the format, paper, layout and cover, and presented three concepts with how they could work in a series.

In concept 1 the reader becomes the archeologist. Taking a journey through the text, they discover artefacts and research inserted among the pages on varying different paper stocks and translucents, giving the feel of a journal. This would ideally include the original notes and collections made by the author, including manuscripts, photographs and specimens.

The second concept centred on the book as a metaphor for the land itself. The pages and chapters become layers of rock, with different materials and textures describing the journey through time. The dust jacket cover shows an image of a landscape carved into the book itself, revealing the different layers. Chapters are defined by differentiations in paper stock and the side of the book looks like sedimentary rock.

The third concept focused on a clean contemporary layout with bold colours and striking fold-out photography. With the additional use of QR codes and/or augmented reality apps to access more information on the content referred to in the book.