Book Patrol reports on an interesting design project co-sponsored by Blurb and Jotta, a design studio. It is called “Unbinding the book”. Their stated aim to “push the boundaries of how books can be experienced, by evoking the storytelling properties of print and the way in which images evoke a narrative, whilst bringing to life the materiality, form and physicality that make books so alluring and different from their digital counterparts” sounds fine, especially at a time when the way in which books can be experienced is obviously having its boundaries pushed already.

The opening statement by one of the designers, “People have a definite expectation of what a book should look like, and I like to challenge those expectations” is however not one calculated to endear the project to me. Why should my expectations be challenged? I’m quite happy to be challenged by the content, but I don’t see why being discombobulated by the form does me any good. Still, as a committed liberal, I am happy for people to be doing this sort of thing. Actually her threat turns out to be just that — the book she creates for the project, while large, certainly does’t seem to challenge my expectations. Of this I am glad.

There are videos of each project at the Unbinding the book link above. I liked Vince Kosloski’s “illuminated book” — acrylic pages with type etched into them then side-lit to make them appear to float in space. I’m a little leery of the book printed on thermal paper which goes black over time. Is this sending me the message that I need to read faster? Certainly it’s saying I would have to buy a new copy if I wanted to read the poem again. Not sure where this stands in regard to Aymee Smith’s comment “As with anything else, printing needs to be treated with respect”.

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