"To Colour Well"

A 90-page art catalog designed for Connie Caplan’s collection of modern art.



A 90-page art catalog designed for Connie Caplan’s collection of modern art. The works are accompanied by 11 essays written in collaboration with students of the Museums and Society program at Johns Hopkins University. The design combines meticulously typeset captions and essays with bold color reproductions.


case study



Because the architecture that houses the work is so integral to the collection, it felt natural to adapt design decisions in the home’s sleek structure and interiors. I developed two color palettes sourced from photos of the interior and the surrounding fields. We went forward with the green-forward palette, as it most closely resembled the the collection and its spaces. This palette turned the book into an alternate, intellectual structure for the collection to reside in.


I developed two typographic pairings: one for a sans-serif body, and one for a serif body. The serif (left) uses Archivo Black and Akkurat to contrast the more traditional Junicode in the body. The sans-serif to the right uses Apercu to complement the fluidity of Ciutadella in the body. We proceeded with the sans-serif, as it more closely captured the modernist qualities of the Caplan collection.


From Blurb, we knew that we would use a square format. From there, during initial development of the grid system, I established an 8-column grid. Essay openers would present the essay’s theme with a bold title and a large introductory reproduction of the first image, while images in subsequent pages would follow the text as closely as possible.


Moving forward, I realized additional rules were necessary for a more paced experience both in structure and content. In order to section the book more clearly and effectively, I added a solid green background to the opening page of each essay. I broke up the text by bolding and underlining each work’s first mention, and more subtly italicizing subsequent mentions of the title.


To further improve the pacing, I rearranged images and at times went back to pre-established systems and adapted them to better fit the content. A rigid system was fallible! It benefited from slight flexibility. Here, opening the essay with the two first images was an improvement from opening with just one:
  • More interesting pairings between the presented works.
  • A stronger introduction to this essay’s theme, Monochrome.
  • Tighter, more structurally sound layout in the second spread.


In the final steps of refining the typography, I improved rags, finalized chapter markers and page numbers, and closely typeset the captions and citations. To refine the overall structures of the layouts, I closed in on some of the images and improved color correction. The book was printed for proofing. After a thorough spell-check by three separate contributors and appropriate corrections, the book was ready for print.