826CHI Compendium
826CHI Compendium
826CHI Compendium

826CHI Compendium

Mollie Edgar Design, Chicago, Illinois, 2010


Project brief: Each year 826CHI develops a book of short stories by students, ages 6 to 18. The book must speak for a wide age range, while also catering to an advanced and literary audience of older ages. The objective was to create a playful cover, but something that would not give off the impression of a children’s book due to the mixture of content. For many of the students, this is also the first time seeing their work professionally published, so we wanted the book to maintain a professional feel as well.

Approach: Most of the stories were developed either through in-classroom sessions, workshops or after-school tutoring with 826, so the book was divided by those standards. The previous year the cover used foil stamping; to remain consistent, it was used again to give texture to the title. Through purchases at the 826 store, we have also seen that both young and old enjoy the tactile quality of a cover. The shapes that play across the cover are also found throughout the book, at the beginning of each section, to help tie cover and guts together. I (the designer) worked closely with the director of 826 to come to a final design and interior layout we were happy with. We used the same print vendor we have used for years past, Printcrafters, Inc. in Canada. They do excellent work time and time again. It was printed on

Effectiveness: The book’s colorful and tactile exterior has made it enjoyable to both young and old audiences, as seen through our sales at the 826 bookstore, feedback from parents and watching the authors themselves flip through the pages on release day. Because 826 relies on its store sales to fund its programming, it’s essential to have a successful final product. It has also won a place in the Chicago Design Archives for 2010, which has helped 826 promote itself and its young authors.

Juror Notes

A dynamic use of type and overall well-balanced design. The large debossed letters add a nice depth to the cover.

Collections: 50 Books/50 Covers of 2010
Discipline: Book design
Format: Book, Book cover


Design firm
Mollie Edgar Design
Students, ages 6 to 18
Kait Steele
Printcrafters, Inc.