Jar of Fireflies

Client: Inspiritus Press and Marc Di Saverio

Tools: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign

Role: Illustrator and Graphic Designer

Team: Brian Lau and Rhiannon Milne

Project Objective

I worked with two other designers to design the typography, illustrations, and layout for a forty-four page poetry novel, Jar of Fireflies, by Marc Di Saverio. My team and I completed this project in three months. . 

Learning Outcome

Prior to this experience, I had not designed artwork for a book. I learned the process of book design, the layout standards, and how to create effective and appealing artwork for books. As well, I learned how to work with a publisher and understand the Inspiritus Press brand, to successfully integrate their brand into the design. Due to my team's successful 

design and the beautiful Haikus by the author, the book received a second printing.

Design Process
Design Finalization 



The design process for Jar of Fireflies was experimental. With conducted research about the client, author, Haiku, Japanese culture, and meditation, we began the design process. The process was supervised by Brian Lau, who encouraged me and my fellow designer to experiment with every element of book design to learn and acquire an understanding of what worked and what did not. The process of experimentation allowed the design team to investigate all ideas and use the experience to learn about book design.



The design process began with digital artworks, however that lacked the intimacy that is achieved when working with physical materials. We moved to physical materials by experimenting with multiple mediums. The materials and processes of each piece were inspired by the haiku.




“With an understanding of the underlying philosophy of the Japanese Haiku: the focus on a brief moment in time; sounds to be read in a single breath; a use of contrastingly colourful imagery; and a sense of sudden illumination, the illustrations were created with materials and processes that were or that could elicit contemplations 'of the moment'.”

The materials and processes were inspired by the words, themes and subjects of Marc's haiku and hence are visual meditations of these textual works. When paired together, they are intended to evoke multiple layers of contemplation, of text, of image and of text and image.” 

-Design Process, Jar of Fireflies


Once we made a collection of potential artworks. We experimented with each piece and discarded the pieces that did not align with the book as a whole. We also experimented with each individual page layout, altering typography and the positioning of the text and artworks. We began with each page having an image. This appeared too cluttered and lacked the calmness and space for contemplation we wanted to achieve. Thus, we left some pages empty, to create a pause, which contributes to the meditative experience. 




“The images have been arranged throughout the book in a musical analogy, a call and reply, of verse and refrain, where objects of contemplation are spaced out with meditative emptiness.” 

-Design Process, Jar of Fireflies










The experimental process allowed the design to achieve a richer experience as we worked intimately with each artwork medium and the entirety of the book. Thus, the book became an experience and piece of art. I am very proud with the results of this project. 

Screen Shot 2019-01-14 at 12.58.03 PM.pn
2inkblot copy.png