The Making of What’s In Your Purse?

Whether it be a book, a toy, or a machine, there is often a curiosity in children and adults alike about how things are made. It’s one thing to see the finished version of something. But it’s an entirely different experience to learn the story and process leading up to that final “thing”. From proposal to the final book, let’s take a look at how What’s in Your Purse? came to be:

When Ben (our industrial designer) and I were tapped to work together on What’s in Your Purse?, Kelli (our editor) presented us with the proposal from the author Abigail Samoun and illustrator Nathalie Dion. The finished book was to be five (count them, five!) purses in one:
What's in Your Purse?

We knew we had a lot of work ahead of us. But first, some research. We studied the handbags (and their contents) of our colleagues . The research proved to be fruitful:
What's in Your Purse?

Afterward, we circled back to record and discuss our findings. It got extremely technical:
What's in Your Purse?

Ben went right to work on prototypes. Here’s a look at the evolution from the first (more boxy) version to a more elegant and stylishly curved version, and then to the printer’s mockup, and the final book:
What's in Your Purse?

And after each prototype was submitted, rigorous field-testing commenced . . .
What's in Your Purse?

. . . which included walking it around the office:
What's in Your Purse?

All the while, Nathalie was hard at work creating sketches for each purse. Along the way, some notes and adjustments had to be made (“Add some color” or “Make much more readable as a headphone wire”):
What's in Your Purse?

And when Nathalie submitted final illustrations, things really started coming together:
What's in Your Purse?

Just one last detail, the cover. Here’s a look at the evolution of the cover (and color) execution:
What's in Your Purse?

The final result? A book that we hope is as much fun to read and explore as it was to make:
What's in Your Purse?

As a thanks for reading along, we’re offering 30% off and free ground shipping on What’s in Your Purse?  by entering DESIGNDESK at checkout from now through April 27th!

Ryan Hayes

Ryan Hayes

Senior Designer

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1 Comment

  • Abigail Samoun April 24, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    Really cool to see this, Ryan! So much work for one little book. I'm particularly intrigued by that formula on the white board: CUTE= flaps/w-h. Is there really a formula for cuteness? You designers have so many trade secrets. I just went to visit blogger Danielle Smith (who's now one of our agents) and her little girl so adored her copy of the book that she carried it around with her all day. Thank you for making the book so cute and fun and for being dedicated enough to walk around the Chronicle offices with a purse.


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