Pink Elephants

  • Sarah Kettle

Brief: Break away from standard reading formats & design a more meaningful & engaging reading experience that challenges the format of a conventional book.


I discovered ‘multimodal texts’ - ‘a text that in order to communicate its message uses more than one semiotic mode (e.g image, texture, etc.) & uses them as integral parts of the narrative’.
I explored the ‘Pink Elephants on Parade’ sequence from the film ‘Dumbo’ using the lyrics to design a multimodal text. The sequence is about Dumbo having a drunken hallucination & is a bizarre & surreal scene (click here to watch)​​​​​​​. I wanted the reader to experience this, so decided to print onto a semi transparent paper to create a hazy, dreamlike reading experience with all the lyrics on each page visible at once & varying in opacity.
The typography uses semiotic modes of; scale, weight, positioning, baseline shifts on syllables for onomatopoeia/verbs, colour, layering, placement to convey movement, all to bring out the meaning of the text. Font selected for the lowercase 'L' which had an elephants trunk look to it and also heavy weight possibilities and bulky appearance to represent elephants.
Scale of the book was chosen to be very heavy & large making it almost difficult to handle - much like an elephant!
Front cover was made from a rough, textured stock & the thread I chose to bind the book was also rough in texture to create an elephant like feel to the book. Created an endpaper with a wrinkled appearance influenced by elephants skin, which rather than being printed onto the paper, was laser engraved to bring texture to further add to the effect.
The book is printed on double elephant size paper (673 x 1016mm).