Time Life Books is a large line of educational books produced by Time magazine on a multitude of topics that delve very deeply into their subjects. Started in 1961, Time Life Books were incredibly popular in the 1970s and 1980s, then started to decline in popularity in the 1990s when they became available on CD only, thus leading to their discontinuation in 2003.
My task was to redesign the entire book The Sea, one of the first books published in the Time Life line, to make it fit our more modern times. The Sea is a book about the sea and all the sealife it contains, which is a topic close to my heart. I grew up in the Florida Panhandle on the Gulf of Mexico in a house on a bay connected to the Gulf, so I was always around water and lots of it. I loved it and have had many great experiences and with the water.
Inspired by these experiences, I sought to give The Sea a much-needed re-design in terms of layout and photography. More than anything, I wanted to maintain an air of mystery throughout. The sea is so mysterious and so many things have yet to be discovered within its depths, so I took a heavily gridded and minimalist approach inspired by the Swiss/International Style. This allowed the focus to be on the content, as the amount of text wasn’t overwhelming as it often is in informative books, and the images were crystal clear and complementary to the text.
The result is a gorgeous layout that is very easy on the eyes, certainly much more so than the original layout. You breeze through the text as if taken by a current as it is buoyed by white space and stunning imagery. It feels much more like the nature of the sea: Often mysterious, at times both colorful and muted and, of course, very open.