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Critical Analysis

by J. Lyons

Design Features

typographic: Found typography.

imagery: In making and editing digital photographs for the book, color, texture and typographic variety were considerations.

graphical: Full bleeds are used throughout to intensify image relationships.

openings: The alphabet sequence was layed out on right hand pages: left hand pages represent a variety of strategies in relationship to facing pages.

turnings: Changes of color and scale challenge convention of alphabet books, which usually rely on more static content.

development: The challenge is to keep readers interest even though the "story" is simple and known.Confusion is a factor, if not a theme.It might take the reader a few turnings to realize that this is an alphabet sequence.

sequence: A simple series (alphabet) is layered inbto a more complex sequence.

Critical Discussion

The code of an "unknown" language relates to a traveler's limitation in entering another culture. Walls are central as they reveal tantalizing and seductive fragments and, at the same time, block entry. Does a simple sequence add up to a story?

Abecé: (Mexico City Book 2)


Joan Lyons

type: initiating


born: United States

birth: 1937-03-06

Publication Information

edition type: editioned

publisher: Joan Lyons

place: Rochester, NY

production: 2004

edition size: 50 signed and numbered, 10 artists' proofs

note: This book was also issued in a small inkjet edition, with different front and back covers and slightly different pagination. [J. Lyons]


horizontal: 7.25" inches closed

vertical: 5.375" inches closed

depth: .437" inches closed

Production Information

production means:
digital inkjet (local) Indigo Press

binding: smyth sewing (AAT)

binding: mashine sewn (local) Smythesewn bookblock was covered by J. Lyons in quarter cloth Sewn boards binding designed by Gary Frost.

bookBlock: paper matte coated
endsheets: paper handmade Indian paper
other: paper Covers, handmade Indian paper



format: codex (AAT)

cover: hard

color: yes


pagination: unpaginated

numbered?: numbered

signed?: signed


Afterword: To this traveler, it seems that the residents of Mexico City cannot abide an empty space. Walls are covered with words and images, resulting in an outrageously vibrant backdrop for life lived on the streets by the city's 24 million inhabitants. To one who does not read Spanish, this is a pure explosion of the materiality of language without much reference to its meaning. The written word reduced to its basic element--the letter. Every bookmaker and student of typography must think about making an alphabet book at some time. Here is mine from a culture in thrall to all things visual. Joan Lyons, 2004 An Indigo digital edition of 50 copies