As part of the class Typography Studio I at SCAD during winter quarter 2011, we were given the assignment to design a chapter from Sun Tzu’s “Art of War”. The design brief included the given dimensions - 4.75” by 7.875” - and the requirement to use the typeface United by House Industries.
Given the chapter about maneuvering, I explored ways to visualize the army moving around the field through the arrangement of the different paragraphs. I sorted all paragraphs by length and set them into rectangular blocks of the same width. I wanted to give the impression of a marching army in perfect alignment. Then I placed the paragraphs along a path across the page, to their final destination. Over the course of the battles, the army shrinks, losing some men, therefore, after starting with a quite long paragraph, only a single sentence is left at the end. Some crooked letters were placed to represent the wounded and killed men, spelling out “War kills”, with the conclusion of the chapter stating “Such is the art of war”.
The entire chapter is laid out like a flip-book, showing the paragraphs move around on the pages. The other pages show the original paragraph numbers, to allow the reader to read the paragraphs in the original order.