Sixteen Birds of Aotearoa


The project was initiated during two years living in New Zealand
and observing the beautiful colour combinations of its native birds.
Their graphical nature suggested a way to represent the birds: without any reference to their size, shapes or voices. To display the colour combinations alone was the reason to make the book, and the materiality of a book-form became a way to document them.


The interesting challenge was to design a book-form that could hold
the colour combinations, while providing a layer of information in itself.
The mechanics of binding and folding are designed in response to
the question—how can the book invent anew what was skipped in the process of reduction to solid colours. During this search, the colour combinations became as fragile as real birds: their minimal action would get easily overpowered by any heavy technique. This informed the design; to be economical both in production and visual means to match the minimal intention of the story.


The book is unbound, which responds to two needs—to use less,
and to tell a story via the book form. It takes a step back from the
final action in traditional book production, as if the book refuses its completion: nothing is final, as the colours are never still in nature.


The action of colour in CMYK

All the birds are endemic to New Zealand, and were chosen for their fascinating colour combinations, and for the potential rhythm these would create in a book sequence. Naturally, there is no mathematical certainty in the amount or precision of the shades, rather the graphical impact of the combinations was the object of the documentation.

Pushing CMYK process to create an occasional iridescent effect led to experimenting with placement and contrast. The french folding serves
to provide an elegant bow to the pages, which shapes the colour across the folios; the folding technique also produces a colourful fore-edge to the book and provides internal navigation for the text.