Finally, there’s a visual representation for how good literature takes root inside a person.
In her new book, About Trees, Irish artist Katie Holten translates excerpts from different works, well, about trees, into typographic trees. On one page of the book texts from writers such as Jorge Luis Borges and Charles Darwin to Robert McFarlane and Radiohead appears in English—in the font Walbaum, as baum is German for “tree”—,and on the opposite the text has been translated using the tree typeface developed by Holten and designer Katie Brown. At the beginning of the book, Holten gives you a key for her font in case you want to use it yourself; all 26 letters of the Roman alphabet correspond to an illustration of a tree breed starting with the same letter (“A” is depicted by an apple tree, “B” by a beech tree, etc.). The result of each translation varies from work to work and ends up being quite illustrative of the density of the work: a short poem would look like a smattering of suburban pines, while a long excerpt from a novel might look like an overgrown forest.
About Trees is out in September. Until then, you can pre-order the book on Holten’s website.