this portfolio-penguin book was originally published as an article by walter isaacson, steve jobs’ biographer, as a sort of primer based on the apple founder’s ‘commandments’.
though it is effectively an ‘executive tips’ book, a genre we have no identification with whatsoever, our interest in jobs spoke the louder, and we took the project on.
our intention was to accentuate the expressiveness of apple’s design materials. although this is a low-cost pocket book, we managed to have the cover silkscreen printed on special silver paper. the rounded edges were suggested by the publisher.
the book’s format is a6 (105 x 148 mm).
the text is short and pamphlet-like, full of imperatives (‘do this, do that’), and the publisher told us from the start that they envisaged a very commercial cover. at the same time, we wanted to incorporate the ‘rebel’ spirit isaacson so often attributed to jobs.
in the ‘commandments’ booming tone, and in the cleanest modernist way possible (helvetica, lower-case), we blew ‘jobs’ as cover headline. the very word ‘jobs’ then defined one vertical and one horizontal division of the page, and this is all the grid of the book.
As this is a short book, we were able to use only lower-case lettering. and adopting isaacson’s point numbers meant we could also eliminate page numbers.
here is the contents page, which adopts the same grid structure established on the cover: the chapter title sits at the top, where the name ‘steve’ was on the cover, while the text occupies the same block as the book’s title had underneath the surname ‘jobs’.
the missing ‘jobs’ element of this structure is recalled on the left, where the name on the title page shows through the fine paper.
here is the rest of the table of contents.
following the structure introduced on the cover, the first page of each chapter carries the number of isaacson’s item, where the ‘jobs’ would be, and the title of the chapter, where the ‘steve’ would sit. the text itself runs beneath.
pages from the book – all in lower case, and as pure and simple as can be.
The opening of the final chapter, in which isaacson quotes the famous line ‘stay hungry, stay foolish’.
the back cover.
the barcode was inverted and printed in white.
with the graphic design of the book complete, the publisher asked us to design a small stand for bookstore checkouts. The stand was to display the book and carry a certain number of copies.
we designed a perfect 16 x 16 cm cube, made out of a single folded sheet of acrylic, on which a display copy sat like an iPod in a loudspeaker.
the inside of the cube doubled as a display case for 20 copies of the book, with two flaps in the middle to stop them falling over once partially empty.
here, a side view of the display, with the books visible through the semi-transparent acrylic.