The King in Yellow

I’ve started to design bind a copy of The King in Yellow. I wanted to read the book itself, and I thought making a binding would be a fun way to read, and bind it, at the same time.

The book is available through Project Gutenberg. Unfortunately it is only available as raw text. This meant I had to hand format it using an on-line e-book as a guide. This was a pretty lengthy process, but I am pleased with the results.


Let the printing begin!



Although I wanted a straight copy, I also wanted to break up the individual stories and give them their own envelopes.


First attempt was with vellum envelopes and multicolored pamphlets for the stories. I hot stamped each story title with a san serif font that I have yet to identify….


This really didn’t look good with the font the text was printed in. I was so caught up in the construction, I failed to realize the disconnect.

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I chalked it up as a first draft and continued construction anyway, wanting to test out how everything worked together. Ultimately this version was bound in faux leather with natural colored thread.

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The vellum did not like coptic sewing at all. The vellum I used was too brittle, but I proceeded carefully.


It worked semi-well, but not well enough. I also noticed the spine piece was huge! Gah, measuring wrong…

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Second pass I changed up the font for the stamping and went white faux leather with red/brown thread


Better seating with a smaller spine, but it still wanted to resist the sewing. The pamphlets were creating a lot of swell in the envelopes, and the threads were very strained.


I still haven’t decided if this is acceptable.

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I liked the new fonts together with the brown printing.

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The justification of the printing changed somehow when I was doing the second pass. For some reason it creeped closer to the gutter than the first printing. Possibly a box I forgot to tick in the InDesign print dialog.

I’m unhappy with the stamping on the cover for the second pass.

I did like the vellum envelopes on the first pass. I’m playing with the idea of stamping the envelopes in addition to the pamphlets. The vellum laid better, but I’ll need a better vellum. Third pass on the way!

Third Pass

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This time I used true leather, a rough cattle hide that I admired the texture of. Because the texture was so beautiful, I decided to blind stamp just the spine. I feel this preserves the overall feel and look of the leather.

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I changed the font to Calibri for the body of the text. I felt this made a nice marriage with the san serif I used for the hot stamping. Although the coptic sewing continues to strain under the pressure from the envelopes, I’m resigned to it. I realize now that the differences in the pamphlet sizes are creating this problem. If I want to solve it, I’d have to juggle the font sizes between individual stories. This would artificially create uniform page numbers. In my mind this looks silly. I might give it a go on a fourth pass, but for now I’m satisfied.


2 thoughts on “The King in Yellow

  1. Wow Jen, this really shows off what an artist you are! All three versions look good, but you kept going until you were able to create something you felt met your vision.

    I think you made the right decision regarding the pamphlet sizes. The different font size situation seems like it could be a little weird and possibly distracting from story to story.

  2. Oh, and that mystery font looks really familiar. Maybe I’ve just seen it around your shop, but I’m going to keep my eye out for it. That lowercase e in particular is mocking me with its elusive familiarity.

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