The Bell Jar

Handmade, limited edition book

The Bell Jar limited edition book was a senior level class project in book design. The task was to transform the raw text of a novel into a beautiful, readable, and one of a kind text. The pages of the book were lovingly designed, printed, trimmed, stitched, and bound by hand. Every piece of this project was thoughtfully considered and calculated over a four week period.

2016 Judges Choice Award Winner, Publishing Professionals Network

Book Concept

The most salient imagery in the novel, the fig tree, is echoed in the Rifle Paper Co. floral exterior wrap of the book. The rich blacks and golds in the cover design reflect the darkness of the novel’s subject matter, while retaining elegance and femininity. A navy blue and gold headband with a deep burgundy ribbon bookmark also tie in to this theme and provide additional color.

Book Interior

The interior of the novel also features the floral illustrations from the exterior cover design on chapter openings, the full title page, and the colophon. The transparent gold shade ties in the theme and color palette of the cover.

Materials + Process

The digital tool used for this project was Adobe InDesign. Using long document production and GREP strategy, each word in the entire novel styled meticulously. The book was output on a Ricoh digital press using 60lb Cougar opaque white paper, and trimmed to size with a Polar cutter. Each individual page was folded by hand using a bone folder and arranged into 12-pg signatures. From there, the entire book block was stitched together by hand. It was cased in with book board wrapped in Queen Anne wrapping sheets by Rifle Paper Co.

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