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Dictionary Story

Posted by Alex Bec,

Getting projects off the ground is never easy, especially considering everyone is tightening their purse strings at the moment. So, when artist and typographer Sam Winston had an idea to produce an affordable edition of his oh-so beautiful Dictionary Story he asked for a little bit of help. By putting the proposal on Kickstarter, a place that helps you see if a project is going to get off the ground, Sam placed a figure on how much he’d need to get the project done, rewarding everyone who helped him out. Could this be the future of independent publishing?

Hi, Sam, hows things?

Things are really good at the moment – I just have persuaded my friend Erin (who is amazing with code) to help me sort Darwins Origin of the Species into nouns, verbs and adjectives. And with a word count of over 155,000 – that’s no mean feat. He’s a star and it’s turning up some really interesting patterns.

Can you tell us what Dictionary Story is?

It’s a illustrated story in which words from the dictionary come to life, take on human characteristics and cause a whole world of trouble on the page. It’s a playful book – full of images – to celebrate our language.

I thought this book would raise a few smiles. It’s also close to my heart, as being dyslexic, I’ve always been perplexed and fascinated by language. So the book set out to play with that – being something to read and look at in equal measure.

So, are you looking for support for the project? What’s Kickstarter?

Kickstarter is basically a safe way to see if there is interest in your project. You pledge a certain amount and if that amount reaches it’s goal then the project goes live. So in this case – if we get enough money we publish the book – and anyone who helped out gets a copy. But if it doesn’t – no one gets charged and no harm done.

Why should we help out? There’s a credit crunch on don’t you know…

When I originally conceived the idea for this book I wanted to make it something that everyone could buy. But unless you’re Penguin and have large amounts of capital its hard to produce cheap books. So, I ended up initially making a handmade edition which is lovely but expensive. This project is about resolving that and making this playful book affordable.

And I know there’s a credit crunch on – So don’t buy it for yourself – buy it for a friend instead. I know this logic doesn’t make complete sense but your friend agrees with me!

Is this model the future of publishing?

I think the internet is breaking down a lot of hierarchies – especially traditional companies that have managed to control whole markets – like publishing and music. But in saying that the internet is also creating enormous new corporations like iTunes and Google. I guess the slow will die and the ingenious survive.

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Posted by Alex Bec

Alex is one of the directors of It’s Nice That who now oversees our sister creative agency INT Works. For several years he oversaw the Monday Morning Music Video feature until it came to an end in 2014.