Redefining the idea of a book

Projects | 9 May, 2021

Three volumes transform ink and paper into tangible and memorable emotions. 

The challenge

In the age of digital content, the traditional paper book has evolved into a particular object with the potential to convey lasting emotions. Our challenge consisted of generating unique experiences through the conceptualisation and design of book objects for two organisations – the Cotec Foundation and the IE Foundation – and for Studio Banana itself. In addition to being a top-level technical exercise, the three different projects required a phase of in-depth understanding and strategic development to make the books the perfect response to each specific need.

The outcome

We conceived, designed and crafted three different volumes that generate experiences that go beyond reading. Through diverse and unique innovative design techniques for each project, we were able to add value to ink and paper and redefine the idea of the book as a mere content container. This way, we get the audience of the different organisations to feel a real connection with them and with the message they wanted to convey.

The Cotec Foundation: the thrill of discovery at your fingertips

Since 1996, the Cotec Foundation has been compiling an extensive report on the state and evolution of the Spanish R&D&I. For the design of the 2020 edition, Cotec set us two challenges: on the one hand, to generate an attractive and understandable data visualisation; on the other, to make the book itself – which readers receive at home – something capable of moving them, especially relevant in the context of the current pandemic.

 

In a lockdown situation, we decided to reinforce the tangible component of the book and regain the emotion of touching. To do this, we used thermochromatic ink capable of varying according to temperature so that the heat of the hand would reveal a hidden message. We used an essential chromatic range in black and white and incorporated yellow to generate impact and highlight certain moments for the data. We also implemented augmented reality techniques that transferred and enlarged the data on the mobile phone screen to promote interactivity. At the same time, we developed an animated video that enhanced the idea of an artefact rather than a book.

Think Work out of the box: expanding the future of workspaces

As workspace designers, we at Studio Banana have spent years developing strategies and solutions to the challenges that work culture has faced in recent times. With the fundamental idea of sharing and spreading our experiences and learnings and the visions of other industry leaders, we created Think Work Out of the box, a book that is a compilation of ideas and an invitation to imagine new possibilities. 

 

Mixing projects, interviews and strategic concepts, the book’s design had to capture these particularities graphically and physically. To this end, different formats were used, such as inserts with a lighter weight paper and a different texture for the chapter introductions, fold-outs to show the projects and ideas that require a great deal of detail or illustrations of each of the interviewees to highlight their relevance. In addition, to emphasise its divulgation component, we sent two copies of the book, inviting the reader to give away the second one. In this way, we add an experiential component to the book, promoting a value chain in which content and container go hand in hand.

IE Humanities: when art becomes art

The IE Foundation, part of the prestigious academic institution IE Business School, awards the annual Humanities Prize, which recognises its students’ talent in different artistic fields. As part of the award, the winners receive a book that compiles all the winning projects. As strategic collaborators, we were commissioned to design the book with a clear purpose: to make the book itself a work of art. 

 

After conceiving the book as a trophy, we carefully selected materials that communicated this idea, such as metallic paper in copper and gold tones and special varnishes. As a limited edition object, we also created a case, coated and screen-printed, to enhance the book’s status as a collector’s item. To make the book an artistic piece in its own right, the prestigious calligrapher Oriol Miró sculpted the winners’ names by hand. The combination of this calligraphy with a delicate Roman typeface, together with the images of the winning projects, created the idea of unique artwork.

Conclusion

The three books, each with its concept and associated development, highlight the tangible – and intangible – value that physical objects possess even in the digital era. They are all books that transcend their condition of material support for ideas to become experiences in their own right, objects that imprint lasting memories that are difficult to erase.

To learn more about how we use graphic thinking to create memorable experiences, follow Studio Banana on Linkedin.