Art + Design

Challenging the Rectangle: 5 Different Takes on Book Shapes

Jennifer Tolo Pierce, a Design Director at Chronicle Books, explores the many shapes a book can be. 

A book can be defined as a collection of pages bound between covers, but nowhere in that definition does it say that a book has to be a particular shape. The following are five examples of books that defy or evolve the status quo and take the book form to new levels.

Tiny Farm and Tiny Town

Shaped Books
Shaped Books

These adorable architectural board books by celebrated illustrator Suzy Ultman transform a farm and a town into a 3-dimensional experience. The die-cut roofs and interior cut-outs create a physical space to explore and encourages play and interaction. Tiny Farm Tiny Town

 

Masha and Her Sisters

Shaped Books

Shaped Books

Another Suzy Ultman wonder, Masha and Her Sisters introduces readers to the main character and her sisters through the construct of Russian nesting dolls. The book cover is die-cut to showcase Masha, and then nested within are her younger sisters, all die-cut from smallest to largest. It’s bound at the bottom with yellow binding tape for easy flipping of the pages—together the sisters are, as the book says, “a perfect fit!” Masha and Her Sisters 

 

The Box
Shaped Books

Shaped Books

Shaped Books

This whimsical die-cut journal by Brian McMullen encourages users to “think inside the box.” Turning the original adage on its ear, the shape of the journal creates an optical illusion of a three-dimensional box. A rotation of cleverly gridded pages in the interior echoes the box premise in a way that will challenge perceptions and entice the user to draw, write, or dream a little longer. The Box

 

Juicy Journals

Shaped Books

Shaped Books

With winter on the way, we could all use a little reminder of beachy days and tropical evenings. Erin Jang’s pineapple and watermelon journals are irresistible in their fruity goodness, as evidenced by the bite marks in the lower corner of the covers. These playful die-cuts reveal the journals’ juicy interiors—yellow gridded pages for pineapple and refreshing pink (with a scattering of seeds) for watermelon. Pineapple Journal Watermelon Journal

 

101 Joys Make a Rainbow and 101 Smiles Make a Sunshine
Shaped Books

Shaped Books

101 Joys Make a Rainbow: A Gratitude Journal and 101 Smiles Make a Sunshine: A Happiness Journal demonstrate how the user can sometimes determine the shape of the book. These journals are designed so that the user first captures a moment of gratitude or happiness in writing, folds the page, and, over time, watches as the folded pages become either a rainbow or the sun. 101 Joys Make a Rainbow | 101 Smiles Make a Sunshine

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To read more about all things design at Chronicle books, visit here.

Jennifer Tolo Pierce

Jennifer Tolo Pierce is a Design Director at Chronicle Books with a love of all things words and images, particularly as they intersect in the realm of lifestyle and children’s publishing.
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2 Comments

  • Mary McClellan November 4, 2017 at 7:37 pm

    Love these books!! I especially like the nesting dolls for a child’s book. I want The Box even though I’m a writer and it seems better suited for an illustrator. The Rainbow and Sunshine journals are great. I’ll be buying these as gifts…and one for me.

    Reply

    • Jennifer November 9, 2017 at 6:52 am

      Wonderful to hear, Mary! The varying gridded pages in The Box are great for writers and illustrators alike. So glad you’re enjoying these books!

      Reply

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