tree of codes
tree of codes tree of codes
nov 17, 2010

tree of codes

image: visual editionspublished earlier this week, jonathan safran foer’s new book tree of codes, pushes book design to new levels in an age of digital publishing. the book appears quite average on the exterior, but once you flip it open each page is precisely die cut to have only a few words exposed. the text inside the book is taken from the street of crocodiles by bruno schulz and given a new interpretation through the unusual printing technique. the book was designed by sara de bondt studio, published by visual editions and features cover artwork by gray318. after being shot down by almost every printer, belgium’s die keure agreed to make the book using a different die-cut pattern on every page. the whole project took over a year, but it demonstrates how a printed book can achieve things never possible on an e reader device.

image: visual editions

image: visual editions

image: visual editions

image: visual editions

image: visual editions

  • Is this what the police mean when they say your story is full of holes?

    Stew from Canada says:
  • how’s this going to work on a Kindle??

    peen says:
  • Book arts=wonderfulness!!!

    C. Bouzide says:
  • err if you think this can’t be reproduced digitally with the same effect then you are sorely lacking in imagination, maybe not on kindle but anyone with basic flash programming skills could do it in flash.

    Basically all layer sneed to be visible at the same time and the ability to remove the top layer reveals what the was masked in the layer below, exactly the same experience as this book.

    That been said the book is infinitely cooler than any digital reproduction could be,

    whubbsie says:
  • No it can’t be true. I can’t believe it! The professionnals said it was impossible to print !?! 😉

    Keepgoing says:
  • Way to cool, i might even read a book

    Rosso says:
  • do I get to keep the missing parts?
    experimental typo-great.
    but is it easy to read?

    yabayeh! says:
  • May the craftsmanship of book making continue! How on earth could you ever compare this to reading or viewing something online. It throws the traditional book in into a new realm and makes new media look positively boring. Bravo all involved!

    Reggie says:
  • definitely i can make a book with more holes

    Randal says:
  • Am I the only one who thinks this is design for design sake? Don’t get me wrong, I love to push the envelope whenever possible, but since I haven’t read the book I can’t really understand what the point is.

    Nomis says:
  • JSF’s writing is so bad he needs gimmicks

    joebear says:
  • Love the idea!
    Must be expensive to print 🙂

    RONY says:
  • quem tem tempo caga longe!!!

    Fábio Flores says:
  • nomis: it’s not design for designs sake it’s a new story from an existing one. The form chosen creates the design

    flo fflach says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

design news

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
477,138 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample
privacy policy