Gertrude Stein: Tender Buttons

By Erika Goering,

  Filed under: KCAI, Typography3
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My goal for this project was to typographically illustrate my interpretation of the syllabic rhythm of Tender Buttons. I put various levels of emphasis on the syllables that should be stressed, and I use translucent layering between pages to show the density of those stressed moments. Layering these rhythms on top of each other gives the reader a feeling of being inside Gertrude Stein’s head; seeing her poems come forward out of her stream of consciousness. The reader also, by the very nature of this project, sees into my own line of thinking and how I interpreted the work.


 The materials and binding of the book are also significant and meaningful. The stab binding is lined up to follow the flow of consciousness, while also being an element that literally ventures through my interpretation of Stein’s thoughts. The 30-pound vellum is a familiar weight, yet a somewhat unfamiliar experience. Just like Stein’s use of language. All the words are familiar, but their use in this context is abstract and almost foreign.


Last, but not least, the cover. My cover gives a hint regarding the structure inside. There are usually six lines, and the syllabic and visual density shifts from one word to the next in a syncopated rhythm.

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