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Responses by Scot Bendall, founder, La Boca

Background: The Complete Short Stories of Philip K. Dick brings together all the short stories of sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick into a four-volume box set. The project was initiated by the Philip K. Dick estate, which approached The Folio Society with the idea of publishing the author’s 118 stories into one package set. We had previously worked with The Folio Society on Philip K. Dick’s novel Ubik, so we were delighted to get involved with the box set.

Reasoning: We wanted the books to feel like they could sit on a shelf within one of Philip K. Dick’s short stories. Almost like an object you could imagine being described by one of the protagonists. We wanted it to feel futuristic, yet more retro-futuristic.

Challenges: Initially, the biggest challenge was getting past the fright of wondering how we could ever do justice to such an amazing body of work. Once this was overcome, the technical aspects of the printing were probably the most challenging, not least for the production team at Folio who we tormented with our love of DayGlo ink!

Favorite details: We went through many tests with the book spines, as I didn’t want to repeat the title four times. I felt it would be intriguing on a shelf or in the box if there were subtle codes to identify each volume. Again, they serve as a little nod to something you may find within one of the stories. The lining of the box features a custom pixel camo pattern, which gave us the opportunity to hide a few little words within the shapes. The typeface used on the covers and the title pages is also something we designed for this project. It’s a simple monospaced typeface based on a grid of four.

Visual influences: The initial influences for the general design were Zener cards, a set of symbols designed by psychologist Karl Zener in the 1930s. The cards featured symbols that were used to conduct experiments into Extra Sensory Perception, a theme that appears often in Philip K. Dick’s work.

Time constraints: Only in that I didn’t give myself enough time to get through all 118 stories before starting the project.

Anything new: Generally, I learned that Dayglo ink can present it’s own problems and advantages, even though I still love working with it. The extra zing it gives to the retinas is worth it, and it’s a perfect sensation to achieve while reading a Philip K. Dick novel.

laboca.co.uk

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