Arboretum

Arboretum

McSweeney’s Publishing, San Francisco, California, 2006

Description

For a few years, Danielle and I wondered if there was a book in the accumulation of tree-shaped drawing/diagrams I had been doing. We thought about whether it should look like an art book or a field guide to trees. At Dave’s urging, we decided that my sketchbooks had a special quality: one can sense thought processes evolving and being built upon in the rough, quick drawings. We tried to retain the feel and look of a sketchbook; we left the erasures and smudges, the paper is like drawing paper, and the cover is made of grocery-bag paper, with hand-drawn dingbats to further set the mood.

I tried writing “explanations” opposite each drawing, but the reading took away from the looking. Images may affect us directly, but I think since we can’t verbalize that, we often rely on text to tell us what things are about. But text can only tell you what can be put into words. McSweeney’s wisely suggested a big fold-out. Now the appendix isn’t lost but one can still see the texts and the drawings together by employing some simple origami skills. So, even though it’s not fancy we ended up with a lovely object.

Juror Notes

“Quiet, simple typography that complements the gentleness of the drawings.”

Collections: 50 Books/50 Covers of 2006
Discipline: Book design
Format: Book

Credits

Design firm
McSweeney’s Publishing
Creative directors
David Byrne, Dave Eggers, Eli Horowitz, Danielle Spencer
Designer
Danielle Spencer
Jacket designers
David Byrne, Danielle Spencer
Illustrator
David Byrne
Production director
Danielle Spencer
Author
David Byrne
Editors
Dave Eggers, Eli Horowitz
Trim size
7 x 9 inches
Pages
192
Printer
Tien Wah Press
Paper
Berga cream
Publisher/client
McSweeney’s
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