Binding Memories: The Art of Designing ‘Black’s Laws’

In a heartfelt project for the colleagues of the late Jan Knippers Black, I was tasked with designing a full book, including a custom cover, for her final work, “Black’s Laws.” The goal was to create a publication that honored Jan’s legacy, ensuring the cover and internal formatting truly reflected the depth and significance of her content. This sensitive and respectful project presented both a unique opportunity and a challenge I was eager to embrace.

Jan’s colleagues and friends, tasked with fulfilling her final wish, approached me with the manuscript and a collection of images from her estate. To understand Jan’s vision, I immersed myself in her writings and speeches. This in-depth research helped me grasp her personality and allowed me to develop a design that would resonate with her style and message.

Cover Design Progression

The design process involved compiling the manuscript and images in Adobe InDesign and editing the estate images in Photoshop. The cover design was particularly special; after several illustrative iterations, I decided it should feature a photographic view from the back of the stacks, reflecting Jan’s subversive and brutally honest ideas that enamored me. This vision was realized through precise photography and design work, capturing the essence of Jan’s legacy.

Internal Design: Phase 1

The final design featured a unique and evocative cover that harmonized with the carefully formatted internal pages. When presented to Jan’s colleagues, the final cover and copy were met with overwhelming approval. The design seamlessly tied the content and imagery together, creating a cohesive and respectful tribute to Jan Knippers Black.

This project taught me a lot about posthumous representation, balancing the wishes of the bereaved with respectful depiction of the deceased. The challenges of image selection and integration were met with meticulous attention to detail, resulting in a beautifully crafted book. The successful completion of “Black’s Laws” highlighted the importance of sensitivity, empathy, and thorough research in producing a meaningful and dignified publication.

The Final Prodcut