A story from take-off to touch down

Paul Belford Ltd and Droga5 are behind the launch of a new series of novels for Qantas. Each title is paired with a particular international route, where the length of time it will take to read the book is the same as the journey time

Paul Belford Ltd and Droga5 are behind the launch of a new series of novels for Qantas. Each title is paired with a particular international route, where the length of time it will take to read the book is the same as the journey time…

Working with publishers Hachette, the books in the Stories for Every Journey series span a range of subjects and are paired up with several Qantas routes ranging from 1.5 hours to 23.5 hours in length. They will be given to Qantas frequent flyers before they board their flight.

A back cover showing the journey, available reading time and book title

Droga5 came up with the idea and sourced the books in collaboration with Hachette; the agency then approached Paul Belford Ltd. to design the new editions.

“For each cover we tried to create an idea that was relevant to the book’s content,” says Belfor. “But we also wanted to have a look and feel for the series. We used Qantas’ colours but that was all.”

In favour of using the Qantas typeface, Belford says the studio created all the type using an old Olivetti Lettera 32 typewriter.

“It was good to have the freedom to put the title and author down the side of the cover,” says Belford. “Book jackets are packaging. In creating a simple design with ideas we are appealing to the intelligence of this audience.”

The studio created all the images in-house, even sourcing an authentic captain’s hat from 1795 from the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich for use on the cover of the Bligh: Master Mariner book.

“The book Kokoda is about a World War Two jungle battle between the Australians and the Japanese, so we made an image of a Japanese sniper out of bamboo leaves,” Belford explains. “And the Blossoms and Shadows cover features the Japanese Kanji character for ‘courage’, made from real cherry blossom twigs – luckily we were working on this project in spring.”

While most in-flight entertainment provided by airlines is digitised these days, it’s pleasing to see an idea that celebrates the papery stuff as a great way to while away the hours (or hours and hours in some cases).

“There’s no getting away from the appeal of a real book,” says Belford. “The tactile quality, the way the pages curl, the smell even. You simply don’t get that on smartphones, tablets and e-readers.”

More of Paul Belford Ltd’s work at paulbelford.com. Follow Belford on @belford_paul.

Pink Floyd fans may recognise the cover of our June issue. It’s the original marked-up artwork for Dark Side of the Moon: one of a number of treasures from the archive of design studio Hipgnosis featured in the issue, along with an interview with Aubrey Powell, co-founder of Hipgnosis with the late, great Storm Thorgerson. Elsewhere in the issue we take a first look at The Purple Book: Symbolism and Sensuality in Contemporary Illustration, hear from the curators of a fascinating new V&A show conceived as a ‘walk-in book’ plus we have all the regular debate and analysis on the world of visual communications.

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