Stylish, Smyth-Sewn ‘Simply Bourbon’ Book

It isn’t just beer, wine and spirits that can make people behave in funny, impulsive ways. Recently this gorgeous volume, “Simply Bourbon: An Introduction to America’s Most Beloved Spirit,” has taken to regularly disappearing and reappearing around PaperSpecs Towers as members of our team borrow it just long enough to drink in every last intoxicating detail. It’s a heady brew.

Designed by our good friends at Rule29 (in cooperation with Willett Distillery), the book looks and feels as hand-crafted as the bourbon it celebrates.

“We wanted to create a printed piece that not only highlighted what we can do, but that also would be tough to forget,” admits Rule29 Founder and Principal Justin Ahrens, and boy howdy did they accomplish that.

Let’s take a closer look starting with that ultra-evocative cover. Celebrating as it does the uniquely American qualities of bourbon, the book projects a Wild West feel right out of the gate with a leather cover strip stamped with appropriately themed iconography: an ice-filled tumbler here, a bourbon bottle there, etc. (These and many other illustrations are repeated in the end sheets, and other places throughout the volume.)

‘Simply Bourbon’ Book

The smoothness of the leather is complemented by a canvas cover that further puts one in mind of centuries gone by, as does the choice of type lovingly hot foil stamped along the spine. But of course all of this is merely a backdrop for the cover’s pièce de résistance: the large, wood inlay at its center featuring the book’s title and design accents laser engraved into its surface.

The Smyth-sewn binding [PRO Guide to Smyth-Sewn Binding] is a smart choice for a book such as this, which is bound to be read again and again in the months and years to come.

What is Smyth-Sewn Binding?

Smyth-sewn binding is the binding method for any book that will be used repeatedly, that needs to evoke a certain air of prestige, or that must remain in an open position during use – textbooks, cookbooks, art books and Bibles are usually bound this way.

To accomplish this, the printed signatures are folded down to their designed size and sewn together with thread through the spine. Then the signatures are stacked one on top of the other and sewn together to form the book block. Typically, these Smyth-sewn book blocks are then inserted into a hard cover – what we refer to as case bound.

Inside ‘Simply Bourbon’

The book’s interior more than lives up to the promise of its cover thanks to gorgeous photography by Brian MacDonald at MacDonald Photography, engaging written content (describing the tastes and options for various bourbons), and a design style that strikes a pleasing balance between the two. All of this is enhanced by the use of Sappi McCoy paper [Get Swatchbook] that boosts the vibrancy of the colors and imagery while providing an almost decadent feel – very much the tactile equivalent of a fine bourbon.

Hot foil stamping brought a distinctive touch of elegance to this piece, but there are so many other ways to get the shimmer and shine of foil. Discover them, as well as the pros and cons of each, in our free Foil Cheat Sheet. Download yours now for a limited time!



Project Details

Title Stylish, Smyth-Sewn ‘Simply Bourbon’ Book Client Willett Distillery Design Design: Rule29; Photography: MacDonald Photography (Brian MacDonald) Print Printing and production: O'Neil Printing; binding, 3-piece canvas cover, foil stamping, laser-cut wood inlay: Roswell Bookbinding, Phoenix Paper End sheets: Sappi McCoy 80 lb. Cover; Interior pages: Sappi McCoy 100 lb. Text

Production Details

Dimensions 12” x 9” Page Count 140 + end sheets Print Quantity 1,200 hardcover, 10,000 softcover Production Cost $40,000 Production Time 8 weeks Printing Method Offset (printed stochastically) Number of Colors CMYK+ 1/1 PMS + Spot Varnish Finishing and Binding Laser engraved wood inlay, foil stamping, Smyth-sewn binding

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