From Estonia With Love book design

This book documents the adventures of an Estonian couple who circumnavigated the world on a BMW motorcycle over 1126 days through 70 countries. First published in Estonian as “Ühel teljel ümber planeedi” it was awarded Travel Book of the Year by the Estonian leading travel magazine Go Reisiajakiri. The second edition is in English and is available on Amazon. The hardcover book is 320 pages and includes 275 photos in a great variety of formats, sizes and photographic techniques.

The book is a result of close collaboration between a core team of three: Margus Sootla was responsible for photos, Kariina Tshursin responsible for text, Michael Walsh for design and technical layout. The first meetings about the book design were held in a large bookshop – in this surrounding, we could show each other what styles and features we liked and also identify the design strengths and weaknesses of competing books.

The design establishes a clear structure within and between chapters. A rhythm is set by the photos – a double page spread signifies a change of continent, followed by a few pages of a photo gallery, half page top for opening story, etc. The design is based on an underlying grid with 8 base targets and then local variation to suite photo composition and fitting with text narrative. As intended, the result is a pleasing quick leaf-through of the pages (hopefully stimulating purchase decision in the bookshop). More than a travel book, this is a “coffee table” book of photography with a story.

With such a large number of pages and so many high-resolution and large images, each chapter was made as a separate synchronized Adobe InDesign file – allowing reflow of text and pagination when edits made anywhere in the book. Typography is justified throughout the book with only very exceptional hyphenation. Several different paragraph styles were set with almost imperceptible differences in spacing – this facilitated logical page text breaks and fitting with gird for images, and also really helped when making the English version fit into the established Estonian photo layout. From Adobe InDesign, an ePUB version was also exported to make it an e-book while also keeping layout and photos spreading over pages.