Book design

There are secrets on the other side

Design for a children’s book collection for kids transitioning between picture books and text-heavy titles.

Client: Alfaguara (Brazil)

The work shown here is the design of the cover and inside pages of a fiction book collection for children/young adults, written by Ana Maria Machado. The images shown focus on the first title in the collection, called “Do Outro Lado Tem Segredos” (“There are secrets on the other side”, in free translation).

The illustrations of the first book are by Renato Alarcão, and the other titles in the collection are illustrated by Rodrigo Rosa and Simone Matias.

The collection is aimed at young readers who are in a transition phase between children’s books with lots of illustrations, and books for adults, which are rarely illustrated. It is a phase in which many young people in Brazil abandon the habit of reading for pleasure, as they start their teenage years and start associating reading with school assignments. The main objective of the design here was to make attractive books that can serve as a “bridge” between childhood’s picture books and the text-heavy books of the grown-up world.

The solution was to combine some elements of traditional book design from the grown-up world, such as cream-coloured paper, a Renaissance-style typeface for the text, small caps, etc, with some more contemporary-looking touches (for example, on the typography of the title and chapter openings). On the other hand, the design highlights the illustrations, and there is care to give a visual “breath of air” in text-heavy page sequences, by including soft illustrated textures in some text spreads. There are also double-page illustrations for opening and closing the book, emphasising the rhythm and pace of the pages.