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Tree of Codes: the making of a die-cut book

Books, Graphic Design

Posted by Mark Sinclair, 14 April 2011, 14:47    Permalink    Comments (13)

Last year, Jonathan Safran Foer's die-cut novel Tree of Codes proved to be a triumph of print and production from publishers, Visual Editions. They recently released a short film showing some of the processes that went into making this unique book...

The die-cut technique is central to Safran Foer's novel. In it he creates a new story from cutting text out of an existing work, namely Bruno Schulz's The Street of Crocodiles (a favourite book of Safran Foer's).

To create Tree of Codes each page featured a different die-cut. Visual Editions worked with Die Keure in Belgium to produce the book, having been turned down by every other printer they approached – frequently with claims of "this book can't be made" ringing in their ears.

So here's a little film about what happens when you decide to make an extremely unusual book: one that despite the odds, can indeed be made. More on the book itself, here and The Trees of Codes' microsite is here.

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Just glanced at this quick with no time to take it in. At first glance this looks pretty heavy.
2011-04-14 16:25:00

immense, absolutely brilliant!
iwant John
2011-04-14 17:40:59

I wanted to say something worthless, so that it'd be know that I said something pretty deep.
2011-04-14 17:51:38

Looks like a great book, well done. I have tried to make similar die-cuts in the past but found that the page turn would pick up the previous page, how did you get around this?
Mike Coker
2011-04-14 22:56:11

Amazing shot of the falling die-cuts and the hollow columns on the paper palettes.

Never get tired of watching this stuff, it's still magical!
Gavin Day
2011-04-15 09:10:16

Wow, this is epic.
Rob Pratt
2011-04-15 09:57:25

So then Mr Kindle. How do you like them apples?
Johnny Cullen
2011-04-15 11:14:00

Our book designer is torn between wanting to give up and er....wanting to do something like that one day.
Gail Baird
2011-04-15 13:03:59

just watched the video and thought .. how amazing..! and all these people involved in making this beautiful item.. and had to purchase it immediately.. i need to stop reading things like this or i'll become really poor!
2011-04-15 13:46:31

I'm with Jonny Cullen on this one! How will it survive Library use I wonder?
Ley Holloway
2011-04-15 15:17:34

Looks like a great book, well done. I have tried to make similar die-cuts in the past but found that the page turn would pick up the previous page, how did you get around this?
Mike Coker
2011-04-15 15:26:18


Very nice.

My uncle who passed about 4 years ago was a master die maker, he would have loved this short movie.

Rick Soto
2011-04-15 16:58:55

Wonderful to see such effort go into a creation like this. Love it.
Pickle Design
2011-04-16 20:23:09

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