Hederis Design Spotlight: Erewhon Books

Hederis Team
Hederis App
Published in
5 min readDec 7, 2021

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We recently shared our first customer case study about how Erewhon Books uses Hederis to turn unique manuscripts into beautiful books. To see how this works in practice, we spoke with Cassandra Farrin, production manager for Erewhon Books and one of Hederis’s earliest and most prolific users. Cassandra and the Erewhon team are using Hederis to create bold, eye-catching designs for Erewhon’s diverse list of titles. Here, we’ll highlight a few of those designs and share Cassandra’s insights on how they came to be.

Folklorn

“We take inspiration from the cover design to set up a fresh look for each new project,” says Farrin. That inspiration is clear when you see the layout for Angela Mi Young Hur’s genre-defying, continents-spanning saga, Folklorn, which deftly weaves together suspenseful fantasy with Korean myths and legends. The book incorporates textures from the cover on the title page and on section and chapter openers.

Image captions, clockwise from top left:
1. The cover features a silhouette of a Feminine Presenting figure in bold colors with a Magpie flying overhead, all against a subdued pattern evoking scales or weaving.
2. Title page repeats some of cover’s motifs with a full-bleed image of abstract “scales” and a title treatment recalling brush lettering.
3. Part Openers feature some of the scale pattern detail beneath the text.
4. Ornamental line breaks are marked by feathers of varying sizes.
5. Myths feature the same abstract scales pattern as the part openers, distinguishing them from numbered chapter openers.
6. Numbered chapter openers are more subdued, employing whitespace.

Title font: Fedra Serif A

Text font: Aabced

The Midnight Bargain

A 2021 World Fantasy Award Finalist for Best Novel and NPR Best Books of 2020 from Witchmark author C.L. Polk, The Midnight Bargain is a sweeping, romantic fantasy set in a world reminiscent of Regency England, in which a sorceress must balance her desire to become the first great female magician against her duty to her family. The feel of the story is supported by the book’s elegant typography and creative use of inline images for chapter openers and ornamental line breaks.

“Our ‘base’ template is pretty open,” says Farrin. “In our own in-house procedure documents, we have a set of recommended page margins and rules of thumb about font size and font leading, but the production editors and I really enjoy drawing from the cover artwork of our books to come up with creative designs, so we don’t cling too tightly to our baseline.”

Image captions, clockwise from top left:
1. The cover sets a refined yet mysterious tone through typography and the image a pocket watch at the center with scattered cherry blossoms.
2. Half-title page featuring just the display text from the front cover.
3. Title page with full-page image with bleed.
4. Ornamental line space breaks incorporate decorative cherry blossoms referencing the cover.
5. Text pages employ Adobe Garamond Pro, included in the default set of available Hederis fonts. Here, a spell is shown in italics.
6. Erewhon chapter openers almost always feature artwork, such as this pocket watch motif, used throughout Midnight Bargain.

Title font: Orpheus

Text font: Adobe Garamond Pro (included in Hederis default fonts)

The Unraveling

The Unraveling is a novel by Benjamin Rosenbaum set in a distant future in a world where each person has evolved to have multiple bodies. Young Fift is an only child of the Staid gender, struggling to maintain zir position in the system while developing a friendship with the acclaimed bioengineer Shria — a controversial and intriguing friendship, since Shria is Vail-gendered. “Some books are more complex than others, like The Unraveling, and those require a more elaborate style sheet that the team consults whenever making a change,” says Farrin. She describes the book as “an eclectic mix of ‘found documents’ interwoven into a story” — found documents (depicted in “Interludes” throughout the book) that were actually created in Hederis alongside the main text! Additionally, the book design features a recurring three-hexagons motif to represent the Staid gender.

Image captions, clockwise from top left:
1. The cover features various three-bodied beings of staid gendered floating about a star-covered background.
2. Title page repeats the central three-bodied being from the cover, as well as title and author name. The type treatments for both feature interlocking letters.
3. A “Found Document” table of contents listing all the interludes, designed in Hederis to look like source code.
4. Line breaks in the main text are marked by an ornamental element of a single hexagon.
5. Chapter opening numbers are accompanied by an inline image of three interlocking hexagons, representing the staid gender.
6. Found Document Interlude, designed to look like a feed of messages and notifications.

Title font: Apron Heavy Roman

Text font: Petrona

The All-Consuming World

The All-Consuming World is the debut novel of acclaimed writer Cassandra Khaw. This explosive and introspective exploration of humans and machines, life and death, follows Maya and her diverse team of broken, diminished outlaws who must get back together to solve the mystery of their last, disastrous mission and to rescue a missing and much-changed comrade. Although this book is in many ways just as striking as Erewhon’s other bold designs, Farrin considers this one of the titles where “the storytelling is showcased rather than the format. We have to balance when to enhance the story with design and when to get ourselves out of the way.”

Image captions, clockwise from top left:
1. The cover features two individuals falling together, with one below the other into a foreboding chasm-like space. The typography is angular and futuristic.
2. Title Page repeats the falling figures from the cover as well as the title text.
3. An otherwise blank page carries the repeating falling figures.
4. Body text carries lines styled to look like source code, as well as some unconventional indented lines.
5. The chapter number is circumscribed by an image evoking an ink blot circle or a planetoid. Body text contains insertions of lines made to look like source code.
6. Line breaks are marked with decorative elements that evoke the inky spheres of the chapter openers.

Title font: Pacifica Condensed

Text font: Petrona

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Hederis Team
Hederis App

Insights on publishing, design, and innovation from the Hederis Team.