A War of Ice and Fire

A publication based off George R.R Martin’s epic fantasy saga, A Song of Ice and Fire.

Design Spec

Arno, Brandon Grotesque

Print Spec

Buckram hardcover, 48pp, 4pp gate fold, Spot gloss, Ribbon

A publication based off George R.R Martin’s epic fantasy saga, A Song of Ice and Fire. This publication attempts to explore the story of Robert’s Rebellion through constructed layouts intended for optimal legibility.

This publication is intended mainly for those without much knowledge in the epic fantasy series. This publication is such a book that should, in my opinion, provide enough insight to traverse through the story of Robert’s Rebellion as clearly as possible.

Above: A work in process of the elements used in the War of Ice and Fire logo.
Above: A work in process of the elements used in the War of Ice and Fire logo.

The event of Robert’s Rebellion is not directly narrated in a single chapter in Martin’s novels but through the point of view of many characters throughout the series. Martin’s novels currently exceed 1.7 million words, and can at times, get a bit dry to absorb the deep storyline, but nevertheless the tales told are extremely interesting.

The event however is important and sets the precedence to the television series, Game of Thrones, where the event has yet to been shown on screen; so in a way this is a prequel book to the show with minimal spoilers.

sigils

Graphics and iconography

The sigils for each great house follows a minimalist design philosophy, stripping back the decorative elements and leaving only the essentials that communicate the house symbol and colours. For example: The sigil of House Stark, as described in the novel, features a dire wolf running across a field of ice. The approach in this publication would show only the head of a dire wolf using white to visualise the element of ice.

A few subtleties and references from the novel can be noted in the logo designed for the publication cover. One of the icons being Jon Snow’s Valyrian steel sword, Longclaw, which can be shown piercing into a wave – creating a harmonising combination of sharpness and calmness.

Styleguide

The information and graphics are designed to become identifiable and easier to digest by the average nerd. A modernised approach to the graphics and iconography were taken in order to refresh the visuals that is typically used by films and shows in the fantasy genre. It was more of an effort to surprise and engage the reader with more rounded visuals, that contrast against the complexity of the series, than to conform with the Tolkien-esque treatment of images and typography.

Work in progress of A War of Ice and Fire logo

A work in process of the elements used in the War of Ice and Fire logo.

Typography

A combination of serif fonts, textured stock and detailed line work might of worked fine with this publication. However it would then have been just another publication that is too dry to absorb – which would work against what this publication was trying to achieve with the ‘Less is more’ philosophy.

Brandon Grotesque was used as the titular typeface due to it’s geometric foundations, rounded corners and bold and light weights. It provided the right character when used in combination with the iconography and visuals.

Sample pages

Arno was used as the primary display typeface when used in conjunction with body text. Arno had an versatile family, that encompasses from display, small caps, captions, subheads and small text making it easy to work with. Arno was also the workhorse throughout the publication, carrying most of the meta text, display and body text.

The combination of Brandon and Arno, in my opinion, worked out perfectly in a number of ways in terms of providing a warm balance of modernism and elegance.

4pp gate fold of the Seven Kingdoms

The digitalised publication can be downloaded and synced onto your tablet using the Adobe Publishing Library.

Digital publication

The digital version of the publication was perhaps even more engaging than the physical novel due to it’s ability to allow the user to physically engage with the elements on the viewport. Some of the prime examples would be zooming and panning the map of the Westeros and tapping the house sigils to find out more about the house.

Overall, this project sharpened my ability to typeset alongside iconography and images; whilst tailoring a harmonising experience across both print and digital mediums.