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Quantity Produced


Production Cost


Production Time

1 Month

Dimensions (Width × Height × Depth)

16.5 × 5 × 1.375

Page Count


Paper Stock

Mohawk Premium Digital, Neon White 100 lb Text

Number of Colors

Digital 6-color



Modified Coptic stitch binding


Avenir (Adrian Frutiger, 1988)
Clarendon (Robert Besley, 1845. Besley became Mayor of London 24 years later. Top that.)


Being three times as long as it is tall, this book for stands out like a 2001: A Space Odyssey monolith, except without all the angry monkeys. The book is a beautiful combination of digital printing and super tactile finishing. Stefan Bucher, responsible for the design, explains in detail:

“The Art of” is a 242-page coffee table book featuring 100 of the best illustrations created exclusively for’s line of self-paced educational CD/DVD-ROMs. Using an enhanced Coptic stitch binding, the book represents the meeting of new technology and 2,000-year old craftsmanship. Measuring 16 by 4.25 inches, and weighing in at 3 pounds in its slipcase, the book can also be used to defend yourself in a tight spot.

In its original DVD incarnation the artwork runs across the top of the case as a thin strip. It was immediately clear to me that the book needed to stretch as much as possible to maintain this super-Cinemascope format. The rounded spike in the bottom right corner of each illustration also comes from the DVDs and is a large part of’s branding in general.

The large format made it so that we couldn’t print even 4-page signatures on the Indigo, which is limited to 13-by-19-inch prints. We didn’t want to perfect-bind the book — such floppiness — so we decided on Coptic stitch binding instead. Having stiff cover and backboards lends the book stability, and the custom slipcase protects the whole thing. Sounds easy enough. What we didn’t count on was that binding a good 2.5 lbs. of book on a 5 inch spine would make the whole affair sag in the center. If you picked up the early prototypes you’d get a big, beautiful fan of pages drooping out of the bottom of the book.

We tightened the binding. We added more holes. We tightened the binding more. We got nowhere. Finally the good people at Roswell suggested we had to perfect-bind the book and THEN add the Coptic stitch. This made me sad. One of the great joys of the Coptic stitch is that you get to see the fore-edge of the book. Which we were painting yellow. But it had to be done. So we quickly printed 500 matching yellow spines for the purpose. And it occurred to me that I could insert the title between the binding string. Which made the bindery hate me more. These things are not supposed to be aligned with anything. BUt as always, Roswell came through with flying colors.

After that, all the fancy embossing on the cover… it ain’t nuthin.

A nice side effect of printing digitally was that we could send finished book blocks. The design prominently features bleeding hairlines. With regular signatures, those would dance all over the place when you fan the finished pages. With this book it’s one solid line along the left fore-edges. THe same is true of the curved hook on the right edge of the book.

The Art of Book

Photo above by Jason Ware. Photos below by Bruce Heavin

--- The Art of Book --- The Art of Book --- The Art of Book --- The Art of Book --- The Art of Book --- The Art of Book --- The Art of Book --- The Art of Book

Photo to show scale, by Stefan Bucher.


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“The Art of” Book


Production Method



Design: 344 Design, LLC, Stefan Bucher
Illustrators: Don Barnett, John Derry, Richard Downs, Bruce Heavin, Maria Rendon

Creative Director: Robert Giaimo
Art Director: Heather Stallings
Client: Lynda Weinman



Printing: Typecraft Wood & Jones
Bidning: Roswell Bookbinding

This post was published in the original layout of FPO so all images are smaller. Project descriptions as well as production lessons are quoted in the main content area.

Post Author


Author Picture

Armin Vit

Editor of FPO and co-founder of UnderConsideration LLC.

More: Online / On Twitter


Date Published

October 25, 2011


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About UnderConsideration

UnderConsideration is a graphic design firm generating its own projects, initiatives, and content while taking on limited client work. Run by Bryony Gomez-Palacio and Armin Vit in Austin, TX. More…

blogs we publish

Brand New / Displaying opinions and focusing solely on corporate and brand identity work.

Art of the Menu / Cataloguing the underrated creativity of menus from around the world.

Quipsologies / Chronicling the most curious, creative, and notable projects, stories, and events of the graphic design industry on a daily basis.

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Prints / A variety of posters, the majority from our AIforGA series.

Other / Various one-off products.

events we organize

Brand New Conference / A two-day event on corporate and brand identity with some of today's most active and influential practitioners from around the world.

Brand Nieuwe Conference / Ditto but in Amsterdam.

Austin Initiative for Graphic Awesomeness / A speaker series in Austin, TX, featuring some of the graphic design industry's most awesome people.


Favorite Things we've Made / In our capacity as graphic designers.

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The End