Pages from the book Pulse of the Planet

The Nature Company
Pulse of the Planet

One of the great things about being a designer is the diversity of subjects we deal with. This one was truly unique in a number of ways. The topic is exciting. Driving back from our first meeting on the project we popped an unlabeled cassette into the car stereo and the sounds slowly paraded by. We did not have a table of contents at that point so we could only guess at what we were hearing. Later we could identify infrasonic elephant communication, bearded seals recorded by hydroplane under Arctic ice, signals from Jupiter, the amazing sounds women create by drumming on the water of a river in Zaire, booming sands, tornados, ants, bats and leaf hoppers. Before designing this book we didn’t even know there was such a thing as a leaf hopper.

One of the challenges here was to determine how the CD would be incorporated into the package. Our first plan was to mount it on the inside front cover, but use the outside back cover to talk up its presence. We proposed a photograph of the CD with the names of all the sounds radiating out from it like the sound waves they actually are. The Nature Company rejected that idea, opting for more traditional endorsements on the back cover. They wanted the CD to show through the front cover, and we showed them several ways that could work. They chose the one that shows the least amount of CD through a small window die cut into the woodblock illustration of a woman listening to a conch shell. We then added a very bright sticker to the outside of the shrink-wrap announcing “CD ENCLOSED.” It works.

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