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The Chicago of Europe

A Mark Twain Story

While I was a Sophomore in college, I studied abroad for a semester in Berlin, Germany.  In this time, Berlin became my home, second to Chicago. For this project, I took Mark Twain's short story "The Chicago of Europe," in which Twain compares his time in Berlin to his time living in Chicago, and created a physical book of it. I wanted the pages to reflect the content in its design, and I printed and bound the book  by hand in a style that I felt fit well to the story.

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Initial Research

For my research, the first step was reading the story. I thought this short story fit me really well because it reflected my own life; I was from Chicago and living at the time in Berlin for a while. It was really nice to be able to draw on my own experiences and draw my own connections and conclusions about the writing. 

My second step in the research was to learn more about Mark Twain and his life, where he lived in Berlin and what areas he was around, as well as find some inspirational material from books around the time Mark Twain was alive. 

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After the research, it was time to audition different typefaces to see what would fit best with the writing and tone of the story. Here are a few typefaces I tried for the headlines and body copy.

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Initial Spread Designs

While also testing typefaces, I had to test out different spread designs and layouts of text, headline, and image to see what could fit best together and find a style that fit the storyline. At first, I was really attracted to a script typeface for headlines and pull-quotes. I even played with the idea of hand-lettering it all myself, however, after some feedback from professors and classmates, I decided that a script font did not fit very well with the story that I was trying to tell. So, I ended up choosing a more geometrical, sans serif typeface. In the layout designs, I wanted the body copy to be just as playful and interactive as the headlines would be.

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Binding the Book

After designing the inner spread layouts for the book, it was time to think about how to bind the book and make the cover. Since the book was pretty long, 58 pages, I decided to bind it as a 6-hole signature sewn book. The cover is made out of book board cut to the correct size and wrapped with red book cloth.

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Final Product

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