Bonsai

Book Design

InDesign | Photoshop

Bonsai is a novella written by the Chilean author Alejandro Zambra. Since reading it in 2012, it has remained my favorite book. The story is beautifully simple and delicate, yet rife with emotion. The reader carries with them the characters and plot long after they finish the book. I wanted to create a design that imbued the elusiveness of young love and the fleetingness of life. 

Design Process


The story told in Bonsái is beautifully simple and delicate, yet rife with emotion. The reader carries with them the characters and their lost love even long after they finish the book. I wanted to ensure that the cover embraced and communicated that elusive feeling of fleeting love, and that kept the book’s forceful symbolism front and center.

 

Design Solution

The story is guileless with its reference to the bonsai tree, so I decided to keep it front and center on the cover. The significance it holds in the book is too potent to omit on the cover. The story told is simple, yet painful and fierce and elliptically written. As such, I decided to use a very restrained color palette and unadorned typefaces. Furthermore, the book’s intended audience is not decidedly ‘feminin’ or ‘masculin.’ I did want the imagery, color, or typeface to suggest otherwise. To arrive at a cover design that comprehensively holds true the book’s simple yet painful, dream-like tale, I introduced light hues of gray, yellow, and salmon, and haphazardly placed lines, and applied a bitmap filter to the bonsai to give it a fuzzy, undefined, and noncommittal appearance.

Bonsai Back Cover Mockup.jpg