The Forbidden Manuscript

This book is in the vein of The DaVinci Code, and I chose to create the design for it as something more than an average mass-market item.

Using the idea of the manuscript throughout the book allows the reader to become involved with the text in a way that a standard typesetting run would not accomplish. Starting with the cover, I had previously thought of commissioning a standard painting, or manipulating photo imagery, for the idea of the mass-market paperback look. Instead, the idea of the physical book, old and worn as a symbol for the secrets long hidden now being exposed, is slightly off-beat and unexpected, setting it apart from the mainstream.


The Forbidden Manuscript by Rose & Rand Flem-Ath

The Forbidden Manuscript by Rose & Rand Flem-Ath

Careful attention was paid to the typography throughout the book, and the interior title page sets the tone for the text itself. Adobe Warnock Pro is a large typeface family that is beautifully cut and it serves as the main face for the book. It is placed on a pale cream background with a muted red for the accent colour to echo books created in antiquity.

The Forbidden Manuscript by Rose & Rand Flem-Ath

The floriated ‘I’ is part of a free library of scans taken from old books in the public domain. I made it the centrepiece for the first chapter. Chapter 1 starts on page 1, which was important because –

The Forbidden Manuscript by Rose & Rand Flem-Ath

Instead of traditional chapter numbers, the physical page number is set as a chapter title, further extending the idea of the book as the manuscript itself.

The Forbidden Manuscript by Rose & Rand Flem-Ath

Where there were opportunities to use special text, it wasn’t enough to simply set it as block quotes. It was a natural extension of the manuscript idea to set these special sections in their own faces, choosing typography that reflected the personality and purpose of its part in the story.

The Forbidden Manuscript by Rose & Rand Flem-Ath

Unfortunately, this project ended before it could come to market. It is presented here as an example of my design thinking.


The Forbidden Manuscript © 2009 by Rose & Rand Flem-Ath

Book design © 2009 by Scott Dutton

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: