Victor Cheong, using a magnifying loupe, ‘eyeballs’ the jacket of Hong Kong As It Was.


Building its book design around clearly defined text and photo ‘grids’ allows the Foundation to maintain a coherent, uniform style.

Establishing grids and design ‘templates’, like everything in design, needs time – and repeated refinement, down to a few millimetres. The objective was to create a continuum through the entire body of each book: from case and jacket, through the opening pages, the middle of each book and so on to the end sections. The selection of printing papers greatly affects the feel of books and, most critically, their reproduction and image quality and aesthetic. Half seen aspects are part of the Foundation’s integrated design and production, such as using French Fold jackets, with their bent over edges: a marginal extra cost, yet a finishing touch that adds both class and durability.

Absolutely central to the Foundation’s design templates is creating a lively inter-play between photos and texts, so that each reinforces the other. Partly this is sought, and we hope achieved, through the placing of major elements; partly by their sizing, whether image formats or type fonts; and partly by subtle inter-relationships that only become evident as the design proceeds. Pairing photographs, either horizontally or vertically, makes mini-photo stories within the overall book story.