The Bookish Beauty of Type

ImageWhile most people just see letters as a way to form words, book artist Malini Gupta sees them as art.Gupta, originally from Southern India, came to Portland five years ago to study graphic design at the Pacific Northwest College of Art. But it wasn’t until she took a class on bookmaking at the Oregon College of Arts and Crafts that she fell in love with the possibilities of typefaces. “Typography is something that interests me,” she says. “I was always told it was difficult to master.”

The Panel Book (above) is an exploration of type. “It’s made from old typography magazines that would’ve been thrown out or used for scrap, but I was able to reuse them,” she says. “I like to make images using type, and use the images in different ways.”

ImageThe Story of O (below) shows variations in type by examining a single letter. “I wanted to be able to look at a particular letter in several different typefaces and see all the variations,” she says. Each page is printed on translucent vellum, so that the “o” can be seen on more than one page at a time, which creates a changing pattern of typography as the reader looks through it. As the book progresses, so does the size of the “o.” She has fabricated 10 copies of The Story of O, one of which sold to a book collector in Frankfurt, Germany.

Gupta, 35, enjoys the creativity that comes with making her own books because, as a freelance graphic designer, she doesn’t always get to work for herself. “I like being able to design and narrate a story and put it out in the world,” she says. “I love to publish, print and bind a book myself and make it a book and an object.” The 11-inch by6-inch The Story of O costs $200; The Panel Book, which measures 3.75 inches by 3.75 inches by 2 inches, is $100.

Contact graphic designer and book artist Malini Gupta via her website,