Trials by Fire

Trials By Fire, by Eric Rosenbach and Aki Peritz.

In the decade following the attacks of 11 September 2001, the United States has attempted to better combat the threat of terrorism through two general mechanisms—by unleashing its fearsome military and intelligence might upon foreign and domestic enemies; and by building upon preexisting legal infrastructure to account for the new menace to the country.

I was tasked with the design and layout of a 170 page book intended to help policymakers, legislators, and the general public gain a better understanding of the complex nexus between counterterrorism efforts and the law in a non-partisan manner.

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Early in the process I sat down with one of the authors to get his perspective on where he thought the design of this publication should go. The resulting recommendations outlined an organized approach to the publication with a very minimal approach to the design. My initial mock-up of the cover held true to this recommendation with only text and a background color, but no graphical element. At some point in the process I tweaked the cover slightly and added the “scorched scales”. I think it added some relevant visual interest while still maintaining the desire of the original recommendation.

The first chapter of the book discusses the Constitution and what role each of the government’s three branches play in the US national security apparatus. I designed a graphic to highlight those roles and responsibilities.

The information graphic in context.

Throughout the book were side-bars and quotes. I designed an overall system to pull them all together, but each one stands on its own as a well designed piece that balances well with the text.

The projects table of contents. The last thing I do, and I’m not sure if it is independent of that fact, but also one of the most satisfying.