When 20% of the books you’ve designed have found themselves into MoMA’s permanent collection, people tend to jolly well let you get on with things. Tasked with telling the story of Parisian fashion house and scent purveyor Chanel, Irma Boom was inspired to concentrate on the intensity, excitement and feel of the brand, ink be damned. No stranger to embossed covers in her previous projects, Boom decided to fill the entire 300-page volume with crisp white embossed pages, without shedding a drop of ink. (PRO members, check out “The Holy Trinity of Impressions” for more on this interesting technique.)
Because traditional binding practices would’ve flattened the embossments, she went instead with a letterpress sans ink, with each page “designed on an aluminum plate and turned into a mold that the pages would then press against,” as Wired explains.
Each design was hand-drawn. And despite the obvious temptation to do so, including the actual aroma of the company’s famed Chanel No. 5 was decided against. As Boom told Wired, “If you leaf through the book, you can almost smell the perfume—and I think that’s, in this case, much more interesting and thought-provoking.”