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It's not everyday you're asked
to design a book about death.

It's not every day you're asked to design a book about death.

Some Light at the End

A book by Beth Cavenaugh

Art Direction, Cover Design, Layout 

Special thanks to: 
Works Progress Agency, for further art direction & guidance, facilitation 
& project management

Violet Mae Reed, for illustrations

We were approached in 2018 to start a project that immediately piqued our interest: a book about hospice and end of life care. The project was facilitated by our former client and long-time collaborators, Works Progress Agency. The author, Beth Cavenaugh, was a retired hospice nurse with over 20 years experience in helping people and their families through their final days. Beth had selected Violet Mae Reed as an illustrator, and as a team, we set out on the meandering path of making a book.

 The relative levity (think What to Expect When You’re Expecting, but the death version) of the writing surprised us, given the topic, and keeping these opposing forces in balance was an exciting challenge.

Studio HMVD's work for Some Light at the End has since been published in AIGA Eye on Design and Working Not Working Magazine.

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Art Creation

Between each chapter, Works Progress Agency wrote a series of prompts that patients and their caregivers could ask each other to expand and open the conversation at end-of-life.

To represent these moments of pause in an otherwise informationally dense book, we treated these pages very differently than the rest. Using decaying plant matter from around our studio as drawing tools, we created repetitive india-ink patterns. We attempted to make the same mark each time, to reflect how varied a life can be, though we are all part of humanity.

We created the marks using Alocasia, Banana, Fiddle Leaf Fig, Lily and Rubber plant leaves and stems.

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As a book with complex information, we had to create various rules, charts and graphs to denote different content types.

Caregiver’s Tips were specifically something we felt needed to be highlighted for easy skimming.

There were also a great number
of bulleted lists in the original manuscript, which often felt more like a series of answers to a question rather than a list.
We took these in an editorial direction, introducing the vertical rule to denote a shift in tone.

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"...Excellence is the first word that comes to mind. Studio HMVD is beyond professional, easy to work with, unflappable, and thoughtful about their work. Their attention to detail is extraordinary..."

Beth Cavenaugh, Author

"...Excellence is the first word that comes to mind. Studio HMVD is beyond professional, easy to work with, unflappable, and thoughtful about their work. Their attention to detail is extraordinary..."

- Beth Cavenaugh, Author

Curious? Email us:
info@studiohmvd.com

Curious? Email us:
info@studiohmvd.com

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