O gabinete negro, by the French painter and poet Max Jacob (1876-1944), is a collection of letters from fictional characters followed by comments from unknown authors, suggesting the existence of a third reader, a voyeur, a censor, as in Le Cabinet Noir (secret intelligence from the Old Regime in France), from which the book title derives.
To convey this idea of voyeurism, the book was designed with folders to hide the comments amongst the letters.
To find the comments, the reader must unfold the pages, either to the right or to the left, as if opening a secret letter.
To ensure the difference between them, letters were displayed on white backgrounds while comments were reverse printed on colored backgrounds with Pantone 520 U.
To enhance the atmosphere of secrecy, the book cover features a subtle blind embossing for the title and author while secondary information is screen-printed in silver on Arjowiggings’ Pop'Set Black 400g.
To be able to see the reverse of the title and author blind embossed at the back of the cover anticipates and enhances the concept that the letters throughout the book will have a reverse, a counterpart, a comment.
O gabinete negro was typeset in Bely (designed by Roxane Gataud), with Usual (designed by Rui Abreu), used as a supplementary text face.
O gabinete Negro – cartas com comentários
Max Jacob
Carambaia, 2018

Photos: Nino Andrés (stills)
O gabinete negro
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Paula Astiz