The Prairies
The Prairies
The Prairies
The Prairies
The Prairies
The Prairies
The Prairies

The Prairies

James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia, 2007


Book arts have recently seen a huge resurgence within the art and design community. The letterpress has once again become a popular process and represents a return to the non-computer approach to design. This parallels the late 19th-century English arts and crafts movement, which treated the book as a limited-edition art object and called for a return to the handcrafted. This ideal formed in reaction to the Industrial Revolution.

Like the advent of mass production, the computer has revolutionized graphic design by allowing endless creative possibilities. But the computer can cause one to rely on its “bells and whistles,” adding style without substance. As a modern-day designer, I relished the opportunity to develop a book without the computer, setting type by hand on the letterpress and silk-screening the imagery.

The Prairies is a rumination on the past. It represents a transformed pristine landscape, its ecosystem endangered by the sins of our fathers. The text juxtaposes a time line of historical facts describing the demise of the landscape with stanzas from “The Prairies,” William Cullen Bryant’s 19th-century poem celebrating the plains.

Juror Notes

A beautiful choreography of type over time, foiled nicely by the red center elements.

Collections: 50 Books | 50 Covers of 2007
Repository: Denver Art Museum
Discipline: Book design
Format: Book


Design firm
James Madison University
Creative director
Dawn Hachenski
Art director
Dawn Hachenski
Dawn Hachenski
Production designers
Ann Kalmbach, Tana Kellner
Production coordinator
Chris Petrone
Wiliam Cullen Bryant
Trim size
9.125 x 5.375 inches
Quantity printed
Bembo, unknown sans serif
Dawn Hachenski at the Women’s Studio Workshop
Neenah Classic Crest, natural white, Neenah Classic Columns, red pepper
Accordion fold