From the moment I found out I was to redesign TimeLife’s Matter textbook, I was prepared for a challenge of making the abstract comprehensible. However, I was unaware just how difficult it is to make graspable which is so mind-numbing to picture: atoms, which Lapp considers the “heart of matter.”
I knew that my answer lied in the topic itself. Matter is unpredictable and, as proven by scientists to this day, transmutable. It is this flexibility in form that I set out to mimic in slicing both the type and imagery. The images themselves were selected with the goal of contrasting the tangible with the much more basic form of matter which cannot be seen with the naked eye.
My color choice of gold accompanied by black and white imagery is a tribute to early alchemists, who restlessly and devotedly practiced alchemy in the hopes of transforming any old metal into gold. Especially in the first chapter, working in black and white also proved a welcomed challenge, and forced me to rely on texture and shape to communicate elements rather than through color association.
The typefaces I chose, Perpetua and DIN Pro, both have strong, objective qualities that resemble matter as seen in this book. Perpetua, a transitional serif typeface, speaks to both the historical discoveries about matter and the newer ones. The modernity of the sans serif typeface DIN Pro easily tells of the forward-thinking attitude of scientists looking to learn about matter and, in doing so, to turn over the belief that matter is unadaptable, unchangeable, unbreakable.