Little Black Fish

Hand Lettering Book Design 


"The Little Black Fish is a well known Persian language children's book written by Samad Behrangi. The book was widely considered to be a political allegory, and was banned in pre-revolutionary Iran" (Wikipedia, n.d.). The story is about a tale that an old fish tells to her grandchildren. She narrates them the adventures of Little Black Fish that leaves his home, a small stream to discover what is beyond it and see the world on his own.


I redesigned the book with accordion binding format by doing hand lettering and illustrations for the final project of 'Visual Text' course of Cambridge School of Art. 




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By starting a hand lettering project, my aim initially was to develop my own skills as I had no prior experience in this field. One of the reasons that I wanted to start learning to do lettering is exploring design with my hands, rather than doing it on the computer. I wanted to discover the opportunities of a hand made work, also the challenges compared to digital platforms. I decided to use brush pen as I saw that the effect of the brush suited well for a book telling a story of a fish. The words that I created was looking ‘watery’ with the flexible forms in which appeared from the mossy effect. After deciding my tool, I started to think about the storyboard. When I completed the storyboard, I decided on the book format as accordion because the story of the fish starts in a stream and then continues to the river and then the sea, this book format gave the opportunity to reflect this continuity in the story and strengthened the relationship between the meaning and the visual. Then, I started to exercise how to brush lettering with thin and thick strokes, the curves, and how to link the letters. After I gained some experience on that, I started to create the words and plan the spreads. I drew basic shapes to the papers with watercolour and ink to produce backgrounds in which I played with digital tools later. I followed the same approach for illustrations as well.