Book design is often an overlooked and under-appreciated sub-genre of graphic design. It refers not only to book covers – which do get a fair amount of attention – but also to the way pages, text and images are laid out, serving as a conduit for reader experience. I’ve been keeping a running log of great, somewhat out-of-the-ordinary, book designs that I’ve come across. Here is a selection of great book designs, and I’ll devote a separate, single post to one of my favorites.

Kieru kami, kienai kami (消える紙、消えない紙)
What is essentially one massive company brochure, Taiyo, a small printing company, came up with the idea for a book dedicated to those who continue to believe in real books. Loosely translated as “disappearing paper, lasting paper,” the book was designed by Doppo and has been used for all sorts of purposes from marketing to employee education.

click images to enlarge


Storm Last Night
Designed by Yuri Suyama, the photo book captures the landscape photography of Tsuda Nao, who recently traveled to Ireland to capture these photographs.


Mamehon-zukuri no iroha (豆本づくりのいろは)
The “ABCs of Making Miniature Books” is a lovely book about making books – miniature books, that is. It was designed by Chikako Oguma and authored by Miyako Akai.

JABS Magazine 2012
Yes, technically it’s not a book. But Takeo Nakano has been doing a splendid job on the art direction and design for a special year-long series on earthquakes and architecture that the JABS architecture magazine is doing.

Book – Takeo Paper Show 2011
The annual Takeo Paper Show is an exciting event for stationary nerds like myself. And when a show about paper gets turned into a breathtaking beauty of a book designed by Irobe Design Institute? Well, it’s like a flower-chain of sensual delights.


Zasso (雑草)
The art director Yuji Tokuda, upon returning from abroad, was struck by the cleanliness of streets in Tokyo. He began walking with his head down, admiring the lack of garbage. In time, his attention shifted towards weeds, which he captured in hundreds of photographs over a 9-year period. He designed this picture book, including only his favorite pictures of weeds.