For text only – poetry book needs no page illustrations

Awaiting a flight back to Chicago, I found a bar near my gate and ordered a glass of wine. I fell into conversation with a gent who was also heading to Chicago.

We started out talking about Windy City winters, and somehow meandered to my poem book. The gent was intrigued, and asked for details. I offered to show him a book. I try to carry at minimum one copy with me.

After thumbing through, he looked up and asked if I’d considered artwork for the pages.

It was a good question. I’d considered it, I confided, yet had decided against it.

Artwork on the poem pages could have meant little swirls or other decals, to softly decorate the pages.

I’d taken much thought into the design of the book, I told him. It was designed to be a gift book from the inside out. It had a lovely jacket cover, and the hardcover had a silkscreen title stamp. The book had a red ribbon bookmark.

This to honor the poetry inside. Once one opened the book, the poems were to stand for themselves. Bold in black-and-white, unencumbered even by feather-like icons.

The gentleman read through some of the poems, and purchased the last two books I had at hand, one for himself, one for his girlfriend.

Well, when I carry copies I maintain a demo copy, the one I’d shown him. On the plane, I looked through it, to reassess if my decision to keep the poem pages in text only was a good call.

Ah, yes it was, I was reminded. The wrapping — the cover jacket, the cloth hardcover with silk screen print, the rich red end pages, and the ribbon bookmark, were great packaging, to wrap the inside.

Yet once inside, the reader was alone with the poems, that were in black and white. It was almost a bold statement in design, yet humble.

The poems were black and white, exposed, without adornment, on the pages.

And it worked, this gentleman had inadvertently reminded me. He helped me feel even more pleased with the design.

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