When it won't fit : a book about containers, procedures, and transformations

Bo-Won Keum, Rhode Island School of Design


This book is a container.

The perennial challenge of the graphic design brief is such that it is always dictated by the conditions of the container it must fill. A 24 x 36 printed poster; a 48 footwide billboard; a tiny (or large!) exhibition space; a 200-page book. Sometimes, the forms that we are asked to produce are flexible, depending on the content, the client, and the situation, and if we are lucky, we are able to mold the format to the content. The likelier event, however, is working with a form that is fixed, or a system that is unrelenting.

The burden then lies on the content to respond—for it to fill whatever container it occupies to its brim. To occupy an existing set of systems and procedures, compressing or expanding to the elasticity of set parameters.

In order to meet such demands and specific conditions, the designer must exaggerate them. Ends must meet. Fat must be trimmed, pieces must be rearranged. In order to fit, the content must transform in order to fit.

Design happens when the content sits just at the edge, fighting with the frame, and making the audience constantly aware of the tension between the two.

This thesis is a demonstration of that.