I recently finished designing How Tall is the Easter Bunny?, a humorous book for parents about the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, & Santa Claus.
From the back cover:
This is not your typical parenting book.
â€œHow Tall Is the Easter Bunny?â€ takes you on a humorous romp through 51 questions that as an adult, you would never think to ask. The authors posed them to parents like you, and came up with some unexpected results:
â€œThe Tooth Fairy sells teeth to dentists, pirates and witch doctors.â€
â€œSanta’s favorite food is beer and enchiladas.â€
Hilarious responses such as these, along with â€œtips from the prosâ€ and actual bitter-sweet personal stories make this truly a one-of-a-kind humor book you won’t want to put down.
The authors Dan & Danielle Morton did research, surveys, and interviews to hundreds of parents to get all sorts of answers to their questions, and I wanted to reflect that in the book.
The book has a number of elements interacting in the page, making the separation of elements into different categories important for finding the right style & font:
- section number & title
- chapter number & title
- main text
- quotes within text
- humor illustrations
- vector illustrations*
- tips from the pros throughout the text
- real stories section at the end of each chapter
* I suggested to add the vector illustrations later to break the monotony of the grayscale illustrations and text.
When working on layout we want to find a harmonious relation between the different elements interacting in a double page: fonts in the different parts of the text, the blocks of text with the images, and these elements with the space that contains it. At the same time we try for it not to be monotonous or boring, but neither noisy. Contrast is the key, and finding the right contrast between the elements is what will make it easier or harder on the eye.
The humorous nature of the book made me think of comics and the way each scene in a comic is presented as a frame. Then I started to think of each question (i.e., chapter) as a scene. I tried a few hand-drawn frames but that didn’t work since the beginnings and ends started to bump into each other. Finally, I decided to keep the comic concept but use it in a more simple way: to “frame” the pages.
For the front matter & section dividers I used a thick frame, while in the interior pages the frame was a hairline:
I wanted a strong face for the headers, and after trying many geometric possibilities I found Zuzana Licko’s Modula, which different weights & variants made the elements have their own style while maintaining the same style. For the text I used the neo-grotesque Whitney in lightweight.
For a book with so many elements, the grid is essential: it will define the width of the elements and help distribute the space within the page, which allows the elements to flow in a systematic manner.