Book design, illustration, art direction
How can we uplift unspoken cancer stories?
Much of what I’ve learned about cancer has been through listening to other people’s stories. These cancer stories surfaced experiences filled with grief, heartbreak, hope, and joy. Due to the sensitive topic nature though, many public-facing cancer stories are formulaic and lacking in emotional depth.
An in-depth series of accordion books documenting five individuals’ cancer experiences explored through visual and audio experimentation.
Though anybody can benefit from these cancer stories, I identified three types of readers. Because I don’t have anyone close to me with cancer, I chose to design these books with the last group in mind.
An accordion book was designed and hand-bound for each survivor and caregiver. It takes the form of a printed book because I wanted these stories to be viewed preciously. The accordion book symbolizes the cyclical nature of the stories. One side of the book focuses on the positive memories of the cancer experience while the other side portrays the tougher aspects.
Each book has soundwaves embedded in places where it was crucial to hear the survivor or caregiver’s story in their own voices. By incorporating an interactive element to play certain parts, readers can be a lot more engrossed in what is happening. Its emotional functionality is similar to that of music visualizers where following a visual graphic can help people be more immersed in the sounds they’re hearing by listening to cancer stories this way.
All the imagery is a collage of newspaper and magazine clippings that metaphorically translates an instance of a person’s cancer journey. Because newspapers and magazines are culminations of a variety of stories from different people and viewpoints, this was a rich source to pull from. The collaged illustrations were coupled with typographical experimentation that emphasized certain aspects in the stories for readers to dwell on more intently.