I was commissioned by Saj Jetha, founder of The Smarty Train, to design and illustrate his new book, The Smarts. The book is written in a fun and approachable way, describing smart hacks that make work more efficient and productive.
PRIMARY TOOLS= INDESIGN + ILLUSTRATOR
DURATION = 6 WEEKS INCL ILLUSTRATION + DESIGN
The manuscript of the book was first presented in its early stages and I was tasked with creating design concepts that captured the approachable energy of the content. The challenge was to create a final product that was more than just another business book. It needed to incorporate original illustration and beautiful typography, while delivering information in an accessible way. The chosen design concept was used to pitch the book idea to publishers and Penguin Random House agreed to be the publisher of the book with me as creative director design lead.
The page design is structured as a three column grid with generous margins. On most pages the text spans the columns, but the grid provides an underlying structure for the illustration and typographic elements. Two typefaces were used. The display type was chosen as it resonated with the illustration line quality and tone. A classic serif was chosen for the main text to ensure easy reading and to compliment the hand typography. A simple, restrained colour palette was applied across the design, including the illustrations, giving the book a cohesive feel.
Consistent styling of text elements and page structure provide visual cues to the reader so that they can effortlessly navigate the content while enjoying the visually varied narrative journey.
The illustration style used for the book is quirky and approachable. Hand-drawn line work is combined with flat colour to create visuals that support the narrative.
The book includes over 50 original illustrations. The content of each one was brainstormed with the client using the book flat plan, and carefully considered to ensure rich layers of meaning. The illustration process was done in tandem with the design so that type and visuals come together on the page as inseparable elements.
Every page of the book is unique and the text content balances the illustrations, keeping a reader engaged and excited from beginning to end.
PRAISE FOR THE FINAL DESIGN PRODUCT
The book has been widely read and received positive reviews.
"Fresh and essential for today's frenetic working world." Heidi K. Gardener, Harvard
"Every page is a scintillating adventure through work. Beautiful." Beth Clutterbuck, Deliveroo
"A sparkling, immediate and accelerated way to hack work." Riaz Shah, EY
The design aesthetic developed for the book has since been used to redefine the overall visual identity of The Smart Train. The illustration style has become synonymous with their brand persona across all media channels.