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Grain of Sand
Capstone Research: Form & Function
This book revolves around the 99% Invisible episode, “Built on Sand,” hosted by Roman Mars, as well as supporting texts about the overarching concept of consumption. The episode explores the extraordinary impact of something very small: sand. Sand is the foundation of our build environment, from the concrete that makes up our city buildings, to the windows placed in them, to the asphalt that makes up our roads. It’s found in the chips in our phones and in the glass cups we drink from.
The large-scale book is a response to the messages within the podcast and is inspired by elements of sand itself. The small monospaced body copy nods to the nature of individual grains of sand, creating texture. In contrast, the large size of the book underscores the incredible impact that this material has had on our civilization. Looking at the individual letters of the heading, the typeface choice is thin and fragile, evoking the feeble nature of a small grain. Packed together, sand becomes mighty—forming these materials we need to build our world. It is this interplay of fragility, preciousness, scale, and strength in the type treatments and design decisions that provides an added visual interpretation to the podcast’s messages.