The global nature of World Relief’s work is expressed through a ‘travel journal’ concept, combined with the hand-crafted look and feel of a scrapbook. Fox Printing in Milwaukee, who printed, bound and glued the book, did a majority of production by hand, staying true to the craft of bookbinding. This book is truly a work of art.
– Marilyn Frank, Art Director
One of the toughest balancing acts in design may be crafting a piece geared toward convincing potential donors to part with their cash without scaring them away with the desperate circumstances your charity is trying to address in the first place. StudioNorth’s “Stand For The Vulnerable” World Relief 70th Anniversary Book manages to do both of these things by juxtaposing sobering photography and a handmade feel with a colorful binding that implies that where there is life (and charity), there is hope.
Taking a cue from the organization’s Christian philosophy in the “first will be last, the last first” vein, we really must begin with the back cover. On it we find the proud-yet-humble face of a woman boldly looking at what we presume to be her future, the colorful beads that adorn her neck suggesting hope and hinting at the sewn binding, which we’ll come to shortly. The image was digitally printed on the 60 pt. chipboard to create a spot varnish look.
“Working with Fox Printing to find an alternate way to create a ‘varnish’ effect on chipboard was quite a challenge, and a great learning opportunity for both parties,” says StudioNorth Art Director Marilyn Frank. “We executed quite a few tests to achieve just the right level of gloss to mimic spot varnishing. After several attempts, multiple passes of the cover art were printed so that the layers of ink naturally dried with a shiny finish.”
The book’s inside pages were printed offset and provide a brief rundown of World Relief’s efforts over its 70 year history, illustrated with snapshots that offer the same delicate blend of crisis and hope.
“Delving into the archives of World Relief, StudioNorth discovered a treasure trove of paraphernalia from their history,” Marilyn explains. “Photos, newsletters, stories, and other collateral were carefully selected for use in the early portion of the book. As the reader pages through it, they are taken on a journey through time. The design transforms and sharpens and becomes more vibrant as you move from ‘then’ to ‘now.’ Design becomes the mechanism that moves the reader through history, with hand-glued tip-in pages as moments that portray World Relief as a unique, agile and relevant organization.”
And uniting all of this between chipboard covers that evoke the rough-and-tumble areas covered inside: a Smyth binding employing several different colors of thread.
“Smyth binding seemed to be a very appropriate choice,” says Marilyn. “First, an exposed spine is perfectly in alignment with the idea of ‘seeing,’ [i.e., World Relief’s mission to make visible people and situations we might not otherwise see] — an idea embedded in the backbone of the organization. Second, by placing the World Relief brand colors in such a critical place, it was a way of taking a symbolic stand from a branding perspective.”
And perhaps most effectively, “Smyth binding has a hand-crafted quality to it, aligning with the grassroots aspect of some of World Relief’s approach. Quite a few of the people they serve are also makers and craftspeople who earn a living by creating things with their own two hands.”