Anyone who’s ever loitered in an airport book shop will know that crime book design tends to be all of a certain ilk, brash and attention seeking (with extra marks if you have letters spelled out in dripping blood or a knife instead on an “I”). But when documentary filmmaker Errol Morris was ready to publish his 20-year-investigation into the Jeffrey Macdonald case – of a US Army doctor accused of murdering his pregnant wife and two young daughters – he wanted something much more considered.
Errol worked with Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and Yve Ludwig to design A Wilderness of Error: The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald, plus an accompanying website for the book which is likely to become a must-read for anyone interested in one of America’s most infamous murder cases.
Simplicity and restraint are key to the design with stark black and white drawings chosen instead of lurid sensationalism, in keeping with the tone of the work which is based on exhaustive research and includes documents, interviews and transcripts. Familiar artefacts from the case are rendered with quiet straightforwardness and the fonts too were deliberately chosen to avoid melodrama with titles in Din Next Pro and body copy in Minion Pro. The overall impression is certainly well-removed from the familiar cliches of the crowded airport bookstore’s crime shelves.
The book is out in September.
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