Designing the Cabin Porn Book

Cabin Porn Book More photos: mattcassity.com / Buy on Amazon


Aug 2013 — Cabin Porn posted a book review hinting at creating a book. I emailed straight away and was stoked to hear they were gearing up to prepare a sample for publishers. We had a skype call about a month later to get started.

Oct 2013 — Met with Zach, and discovered we had similar references in mind for the size, shape, and spirit of the book. A few days later, I made a trip to the mini-village / commune / handmade utopia Beaver Brook. A crew of people were diligently working on the sauna. I helped by repairing the mailbox that I’d run over when I arrived 😐

Initial Notes

  • An object — a “brick”
  • Size / tactile references: field guides, how-to books
  • Photos are the star of the book. Sacred, lush, presented as big as possible … it is pornography after all
  • Not contemporary or ‘now’ feeling … no trends or of-the-moment typography (side note: a lot of architecture books are designed by architects, and it shows!)
  • Typographic cues from manuals, how-to, back-to-the land books of the 60s & 70s, however nothing ‘retro’ or obvious

Nov & Dec 2013 — We worked on a proposal. I started gathering typographic samples and inspiration:

Cabin Porn Typographic Inspiration… many of the references used chunky serifs created during the Arts & Crafts movement. I liked them, but didn’t want to mimic them exactly, only nod to their tone.

I put together sample palettes of headlines, subheads, body copy, page numbers, etc:cabin porn typographyAn Intro to Typography rule is to stick with one or two type families. I break that rule and mix a lot of similar looking type to create texture, flavor, and mystery. I get bummed out when I can recognize the principle typefaces in someone’s work. It’s boring. This book has over ten different type families and remains cohesive. Keep ’em guessing!

Throughout 2014 the rest of the team traveled all over the country capturing the feature stories. Often projects have a tight schedule and there is little time to explore variations. I was excited to spend time and create a lot of different layouts. With each version, I’d tweak the size, margins, typography, and grid:cabin-porn-layouts-matt-cassity … I’d print these out to see how they conform to the many factors that make a pleasing layout — is there room for your thumbs, is the body copy readable, are the columns a comfortable length, are the headlines in proportion, do the photos lay in with minimal cropping?

Meanwhile, there’s a bit of planning needed to figure out the page count and how the pace of the book will flow. For that we created a flatplan:Cabin Porn Flatplan

Oct 2014 — All the assets were complete and we put together the first draft of the book. I try to put off the cover as long as possible. If you get something circulating as a For Placement Only cover, it often ends up as the Real cover.

From the very beginning  I had a specific cover idea in mind, but for the sake of exhausting options I put it aside and made about 100 layouts:Cabin Porn Cover …we tried all kinds of title orientations, stickers, and dust covers, and as you can guess; we ended up with the original idea for the cover —  wordless, lush, full bleed image on the hardcover with a discreet ‘wrapper’ bellyband covering up the sexy cabin. Simple and straightforward just like the website, without any wacky PORN! antics.

Jan 2015 — we had our only IRL All Hands weekend (hooray for distributed teams!) to go through the draft and finalize images. After that there was the usual housekeeping and tying up of loose ends. I’ve left out all the workflow and mechanical bits out of this post-mortem to spare you the tedium!

As a designer, it is often hard to look at a big book once it is printed because you spent so much time pouring over every page, and you don’t want to find a mistake, and you may still cringe at some small compromise. In this case, I’m quite pleased with the final product!

Many thanks to the Cabin Porn Book team: 

One thought on “Designing the Cabin Porn Book

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *