What we did
The book design touches on a sense of a ‘cabinet of curiosities’ while keeping a tension between a coffee table scale of imagery, being elegant yet folky and idiosyncratic while creating a ‘wharfie’ prosaic-ness and warmth.
The display face is the voice that brings together the quirky range of taonga found throughout the publication. With its slanted and ornamental flourishes, the font evokes the flailing sails of the high seas, ship funnels, filaments of scaled down bottled ship rigging, the eclectic, folky range of typography found in the handwritten / printed ephemera. Also the scrolled, carved forms of a ship’s figurehead, guilded picture frames and whakairo.
The sans serif family is the prosaic ‘wharfie’ workhorse font that reminds us of type found on ships—from the vessel’s name covered with layers paint, to wayfinding and ballast load lines found on the ship’s bow. We used it as a wayfinding device which ascends up the leading edge of the verso page throughout the book. The caption size is emphasised, playing with convention, creating a friendlier scale while highlighting the unique details of each object. The captions are set in bright red, the key accent colour that pops up everywhere in the maritime world, on international semaphore flags, funnels, inside ventilation ports, hulls, lifesavers, postcards etc. The body font is a modern serif that has an economical width, adding a touch of elegance and contemporary classicism to the mix.