Experimental Book Design : The New Story of Timun Mas

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  • Indonesian folklore story which called as “dongeng” (in Indonesian bahasa) is a huge wealth of heritage and culture of the nation. The folklore itself is a cultural expression of the society. They tell the stories from generation to generation which convey an important moral and manner inside. Indonesia considered as a huge nation which has plentiful diversity, which possess 33 provinces, hundreds of vernacular, hundreds of tradition. It means the nation at least has 33 diversity of each culture. Can you imagine how wealth the Indonesian folklore story is? Its remarkable.
    However, in this global era, many Indonesian don’t appreciate, love or even recognize how wealth the folklore stories are. Im not sure why this could happen, but I personally think it seems the paradigm that has grown in the society change how they look at, accept and obserb things. The society observes more cultures, movies, fashions and books from outside the nation. Why? Probably, they don’t think that Indonesian cultures are more valuable than other cultures from outside the nation, which they think those thing is more popular, more famous, greater, cooler and so on. The thing spreads to how they appreciate story books.
    I discovered 2 major factors which causes the problem.  First, the book is not well designed (include illustration, layout, packaging and visual and graphic elements). Second, the book is not well written (grammar, flow of the story, and the literature). I believe if someone could solve those problems, its possible to make Indonesian folklore stories even greater than other books that you ever know.
    What I did was doing an experiment approach, finding a way to solve the problems with doing something unusual, breaking the common rules, push all the boundaries and tweaked those major factors : design and storyline. The plan of the book is to combine those two tweaked storyline and system design to produce a new looking book. Make them merge and modernized yet still remains Indonesian traditional feel into it. This experimental book design will be a problem solving as a result. The main objective is to change the mind set of the world society (especially Indonesian), make them appreciate, love and proud by the wealth heritage of Indonesian folklore stories.
    Most of Indonesian society probably already knew the story of Timun Mas. For you who hasn’t read the original version, you can easily get the book from Indonesian bookstore or by surfing the internet. In this book I decided to make a major tweaking of the story. Instead of re-telling the story in a common way, I tweaked, played, and twisted the plot story, along with more dramatic scene, unexpected characters, and twisted ending. Along with the new build up storyline I decided to added poetry and poem in between the dialogue to make the value of the literature even rich.
    The hero of the design elements of this book is “the self-customized fonts of each initial letters” of every characters that appears in the story. Total of the beautiful letters are 9 letters, it based on the 9 characters that shown in the story. This concept was inspired by my previous research when I was studying in the undergraduate studies graphic design ITB on 2011. I did an analysis about “Illumination European Renaissance Letters as An Information System Based on Visual Elements”. The decoration of the first letter in the manuscript of that time its not used just for decoration, to make the page beautiful, but it has a deep meaning, it explain the content, it identified the beginning of the paragraph, and it has a symbol of a certain meaning and also it’s a sign that they realy appreciate the story. Those are the essences of the concept that I merge in to this Indonesian folkstore story.  
    With breath-taking details of the lettering, experimental layout arrangement, emotional illustrations, those combination will bring this book in to the whole new level. And at the end of the result, by this design experiment, I wish it will change peoples mind and perception about how they look at Indonesian folklore stories. By looking of something new that nobody haven’t seen before, it will be a new experience and an innovation of a new contemporary graphic design story book.
    • Haris Mustafa
     "Alat itu laksana air
    jika kau simpan saja
    ia akan bau
    dan jikalau digunakan
    ia akan senantiasa segar
    dengan cinta 
    ia akan tunduk padamu
    akan banyak hari 
    yang diawali banyak kesuntukan
    dan pada akhirnya 
    menjadi keindahan dan ketentraman

    tapi ingat, 
    ia hanyalah titipan semata
    seperti fatamorgana 
    di tanah yang datar
    pasti suatu hari 
    ia akan dikembalikan jua"
    -Timun Mas-
  • ©
    Creative Designer & Illustrator : Haris Mustafa 
    Story Writer : Haris Mustafa & Dewi Kartika
    Prose & Editor : Andy Bhatara
  • The Book Design got a recognition in the Atmosphere Exhibition in Belgrade, Serbia, 2014.