Cover design

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Editorial Design

The Challenge

Trace the history of a word, group of words or phrase and show where it came from - its provenance - how and when it became part of the English Language and how its meaning, use, spelling and punctuation might have changed in the process.


The DNA of English Language: Clue is a book mapping the history of the word clue in English Literature between 1380 and 2012. Examples of literature texts containing the spelling variations of clue, are justified and styled as DNA profiles. These represent the genetic make-up of the word, showing semantic and orthographic changes that have been inherited throughout its history. DNA profiling is a forensic technique used in the analysis of clues in criminal investigations.

Paragraphs are printed onto transparent paper to allow each paragraph to be layered as the user progresses through the pages. The book is bound with thin white thread to represent the original definition of clue, evident in Greek Mythology in the story of Theseus and the Minotaur, as a ball of thread. The cover is screen printed with thermochromic ink, which leaves a temporary trace of the reader’s body heat as they handle the book.

Opening title page

DNA profile literature

Timeline events

How to paragraph

About DNA profiling