The Beatrice Letters
The Beatrice Letters
The Beatrice Letters
The Beatrice Letters
The Beatrice Letters
The Beatrice Letters
The Beatrice Letters

The Beatrice Letters

HarperCollins, New York, New York, 2006


The Beatrice Letters manuscript was, at first glance, simply a collection of correspondence. But an examination of its 13 letters revealed a complex plot, ripe with signature Lemony Snicket secrets, codes, and revelations, offering its designer boundless opportunities and a chance to add a new format to an established, successful series design. It also offered an important challenge: the design must lead the reader through the narrative as well as define the voices of multiple letter writers. Perceiving then decoding the different layers of meaning in the work is critical. On the cover, the word “Letters” is die-cut, offering one clue and revealing a second: file folders inside the book, also labeled “Letters.” From one folder, the reader takes a bound manuscript and begins to read, coming upon the next “letter” a few pages in—a punch-out letter of the alphabet. Twelve such letters form an anagram, yet another clue.

The reading experience needed to be tactile, to suggest the treasures of a long-forgotten trunk in a dusty old attic. Rare bookshops, antique shops and flea markets provided inspiration and authenticity.

Juror Notes

“Ah, Lemony Snicket. This is a teaser to Book the Thirteenth but delightful all the same. Part mystery, part artist’s book for kids (of all ages). Fun and artfully done.”

Collections: 50 Books | 50 Covers of 2006
Repository: Denver Art Museum
Discipline: Book design
Format: Book


Design firm
Creative directors
Barbara Fitzsimmons, Alison Donalty
Art director
Alison Donalty
Alison Donalty, Chloë Foglia
Jacket designer
Alison Donalty
Brett Helquist
Scott Irvine
Production director
Ruiko Tokunaga
Production coordinator
Lillian Sun
Lemony Snicket
Susan Rich
Trim size
7.75 x 10.25 inches
72 + poster
Quantity printed
Hand-lettering, typewriter
Leo Paper USA
Jacket printer
Leo Paper USA
4/4 on 170 gsm matte art paper (text), 4/0 on ISO gsm glossy art paper (photos), 4/4 on 157 gsm glossy art paper (business cards), 4/4 on 128 gsm matte art paper, press varnish (poster), 4/0 on ISO gsm glossy art paper, matte lamination, graining emb (case)
Binding method
Section sewn
HarperCollins Children’s Books