Eunoia

Conceptually brilliant… Wong’s vision of the text is unique and interesting, valuable in its smart and playful ability to relate the lexical data of the text within the framework of our present world’s desire for visual information. — Apollinaire’s Bookshoppe

Background— Eunoia is the Griffin Poetry Prize-winning book by Christian Bök that restricts itself to the use of one vowel per chapter. Each chapter contains its own story, the length of which was determined by how long it took Bök to exhaust at least 98% of the lexicon for that vowel.

The first edition of Eunoia featured a cover that referenced Arthur Rimbaud’s sonnet about synesthesia, Voyelle. Synesthesia is a neurological condition that causes people to involuntarily perceive letters and numbers in specific colours. The book developed an unexpected cult following among synesthetes who found some chapters visually stunning and others completely unreadable because of the flood of colours they saw as a result of each chapter featuring such a repetitive use of a particular vowel.

Process— In homage to Bök’s grueling writing process, I set a similar set of invisible rules for myself to follow in the design of this edition. The dimensions of this book are based on the golden ratio. Additionally the grid and all type sizes are based on Fibanocci numbers.

Solution— The synesthete’s reading experience is made visible to all by using coloured dashes, squares and bars to reflect each block of text. Vowels are represented with dashes and all other characters were removed to focus readers’ attention on the experience of flipping through the pages to see the blocks of colour dance throughout the book.