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How are you doing, guys? We’re fine, except when we stumble upon social media – so we basically don’t do it anymore (seriously, if you want to contact us, send us an email, not a Facebook message). We’re sitting at home, of course, but it’s nothing unusual for us (we barely notice, except we’ve moved our gaming night online). We wanted to give you some fun activities to do during house arrest but regular work got in the way so instead we searched our bookshelf for a book with something fun to do when sitting at home and voila! Let’s Bake by Clara Lindström and Annakarin Nyberg, illustrated by Katy Kimbell and Li Söderberg.

This cute book presents a number of recipes for simple sweets that can be made at home with children. The results are photographed but the ingredients and instructions are charmingly illustrated, which helps keep the kids interested and involved. Truth be told, we bought the book for its visual aspect and haven’t tried any of the recipes yet but maybe now’s a good opportunity.

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Hang in there, people, this too shall pass. Do something fun inside!

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After Christmas we have a whole bunch of pretty books we want to share with you. This pair of books is a Polish version of a Swedish book Food Pharmacy, which originated as a blog. The first one presents the authors’ philosophy on healthy eating and the second is a companion with recipes. The books are designed by Anna Lindelöw.

We don’t know much about the food theory in these books (it seems you have to eat a lot of green vegetables) because the main reason we wanted them is how good they look. A couple of years ago when we were designing our first cookbook we went to look at food-related books in a bookstore and boy, were they awful. But this market has really improved and now we own some cookbooks just because they look great. Now these two have joined the shelf.

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The books are illustrated with a combination of colorful and black and white etchings, photos (both stylized and random-looking), stamp-like icons and geometric type. It results in an eclectic but well-planned look that makes the hard truths of the book a bit more accessible and inviting.

The open book with a somewhat surrealist collage.

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Table of contents.

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Tangible type! (sort of)

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At the end of last year we designed the second volume of recipes from the cooking show Atelier of Taste, a brainchild of Jola Słoma and Mirek Trymbulak (here‘s volume one, by the way; it’s been a while since then). Jola and Mirek are fashion designers and chefs, now cooking only vegan and gluten-free meals, and the have gathered new 108 recipes to share with their viewers.

We couldn’t be happier with the assignment: not only are cookbooks always a fantastic thing to design but also we could go (a little bit) wild with special features and so the book has die-cuts and metallic spot colors.

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The spot color we used for the title page visible through the hole in the cover and for chapter title pages is one of those rarer metallic Pantones of a lovely magenta hue. We chose it because the identity of the show uses purple (and orange; we used mostly orange in the previous book) – and also because it’s quite striking. Since magenta is also used extensively on the show’s set, it appears in most photos and so the whole book gains a unified (purple) look. (All the photos used in the book are from the show’s archive.)

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Playing with special print methods is always fun but, of course, the real challenge in designing a cookbook – and so many other books – is the organization of information. Incidentally, it’s also one of our favorite things ever (because we’re loads of fun to hang out with).

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In addition to the list of ingredients and instructions, each recipe has a short introduction from the authors, time required for preparations, number of resulting portions and nutritional value. We used icons for these sections and, more excitingly, we also designed an icon for each type of dish, such as salad, cake, drink etc. (a total of 19 icons, not all of them quite easy to come up with). We used them by the page numbers and on chapter title pages (and on the contents pages, as shown below).

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Chapter intros consist of two spreads, one with a mosaic of photos and another, purple one with a short introduction. Thanks to the use of the same circular die-cut as on the cover, the two spreads are combined.

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We often say that this or that project was so much fun – and it’s true because we love a lot of things about our job – but few projects are as much fun as this one: a book, with special printing techniques and a whole lot of information to organize (and yes, spiral binding).

Our friends at Sloma&Trymbulak, a couple of fashion designers and vegetarian chefs, run a TV cooking show Atelier Smaku (The Atelier of Taste) and last year asked us to design a cookbook with recipes from the show.

By then the show had seven seasons, each with a different theme, and we wanted to reflect that in the design of the book. The authors opted for high production values: the book is spiral-bound, with a hard cover and their names, embroidered on fabric tags, are sewn onto the cover. In a printing experiment, the spine was saturated with a raspberry aroma that proved surprisingly resilient. Inside the paper is matte and elegant.

Above you can see the front and back of the cover with the authors’ photos.

Title page with the logo of the show. Orange is a lead color for the book as one from the logo but it only appears in the beginning, list of recipes, end and as the color of the thread that the fabric tags are sewn with.

The book is divided into seven parts: four represent four seasons of the year, one a season with guests, one gluten-free recipes and one recipes for people with diabetes. We introduced color-coding: here you can see the fresh green chosen for the spring season. Each part starts with an introduction separated with a copy paper page with a logo of the season and a collage of photos from the show.

The book contains 108 recipes and we decided to devote a full spread to each recipe for a sort of album feeling. Photos of the dishes on the right are by Mirek Trymbulak, we added photos of ingredients below the recipes.

Spaghetti with fried sprouts.

Each recipe is introduced with authors’ story about this particular dish or its ingredients, sometimes the philosophy of it or just some memory. We set that in Garamond Premiere italic because of how the beauty of its decorative characters and ligatures combines with the good legibility. Beneath is a line of information about nutrition values and preparation (for instance, in the example above preparation takes 25 minutes, serves 4 people and the dish is vegan) and finally the recipe itself. The info part is set in Scala Sans, one of the prettiest humanist sans typefaces we know.

Before starting the design we researched other cookbooks on the market and the one thing we disliked was how packed the all were: not only stingy with white space but also full of unnecessary ornaments that stole even more of the precious space. So we wanted to do the opposite of it and were lucky that the authors understood this approach.

Here a recipe from the part for autumn, for a pear sauce.

A close-up of the introduction to the autumn part, also in Garamond, with the first line in italic.

Cherries with mint.

Beginning of the winter part, with pale blue as the leading color. The recipes here are mostly warming soups.

Ginger drink recipe (by the way, that’s the best thing for cold and boosting immunity; it works like magic even if you don’t believe in all that folk medicine stuff).

Coffee truffles with gold leaves.

India-inspired coffee.

The beginning of the list of recipes. It’s organized into categories of dishes (drinks, soups etc.), and the number of the corresponding page on the left is color-coded to find the right part easily.

Close-up where the icons are explained (yeah, we got to design a few icons for this one).

Also, a while ago we presented a vegetarian cooking calendar, which was a follow-up of the book.