You know the expression you are what you eat? Well, Jessica Royals’s wonderful book, This is About Books, makes us believe that we are what we read. Through beautifully designed infographics, Jessica reflects on the books she has read and how they’ve impacted her life. This “personal bibliography” organizes the books in a meaningful manner and, frankly, shows us how information design is done with beautiful mastery and well-considered typography.
As book lovers we might be biased, but we think the idea is awesome.
In one book infographic, Jessica shows us the places she’s traveled through reading…
And, in another, the different time periods she has visited…
We asked Jessica to talk about the inspiration for the book, the book-making process and, of course, reading.
Blurb: What inspired you to create This is About Books?
Jessica: This is About Books is a celebration of reading and the printed word. It’s about discovering personal meaning in the patterns of my reading life, and it also serves as an homage to the many extraordinary authors I’ve read and the family who supports my creative endeavors.
Blurb: This is About Books is so well designed. Can you talk about the bookmaking tool you used and why? Also, any tips for other bookmakers and designers?
Jessica: I used Adobe InDesign as my primary bookmaking tool; however, the more detailed information graphics were created with Adobe Illustrator. The use of (font) DIN 1451 was essential to the design of the book. I’m just wild about its assertive yet playful modularity. While it might sound obvious, one piece of advice I’d give to fellow bookmakers and designers is to read more — and not just about design, but about anything. I think reading stimulates a part of each person’s innate creativity that visual stimulation just doesn’t reach.
Blurb: What do you hope the readers of the book take away?
Jessica: In reading this book, I hope readers will come away with two things. One, I hope to have shared something personal and meaningful about myself, and two, I hope I’ve encouraged them to do the same. The patterns in our lives have significance and taking time to examine them adds to the richness of our experience.
Blurb: In writing the book and organizing the information, did you learn anything new about yourself as a reader?
Jessica: For me, I learned that the books I enjoy the most aren’t always the books that leave the most lasting impression. Take, for example, “Lolita” by Vladmir Nabokov. I’d say that the experience of reading the book was rapturous and moving. But I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it—the subject matter is much too heavy and the language and plot structure is just challenging enough to keep one on his or her toes. Reading for pleasure or entertainment value alone can be very limiting.
Blurb: What’s next for you as a book maker?
Jessica: I’m working on turning my book into an ebook to make it more accessible, and expanding it into a blog. I also want to publish annual supplements so that I can explore different design techniques as I continue to examine my reading life.
Blurb: Thanks, Jessica.
You can create you own book with Blurb’s easy to use bookmaking tools. And of course, after you make a book, share the gift of reading with your friends and family.