Ellipsis: Anthology Research

Having been in the Impression Studio last year I took part in the Anthology brief before and already have some underlying connotations about the designs of existing anthologies (ours last year was definitely my favourite..).

First up the definition of an anthology is something I actually didn’t analyse too much last year so looking online I found the following:

In book publishing, an anthology is a collection of literary works chosen by the compiler. It may be a collection of poems, short stories, plays, songs, or excerpts. In genre fiction, an anthology is used to categorise collections of shorter works such as short stories and short novels, usually collected into a single volume for publication.

For me, this opened up the various designs I could look at as last year I was only looking at poetry or short stories and only in a very narrow English Literature context (basically anything which looked like I would have been forced to read in GCSE)! So to begin with I started looking at designs on Pinterest for a little bit of starting visual research; I found lots of what I see as boring English Lit anthologies but then started to look through Fairy Tales, Penny Dreadfuls and other illustrated works. While I began getting some really interesting ideas for how I could develop my piece of response work on the theme of Aubery Beardsley’s art nouveau illustration or a vintage penny dreadful. This research wasn’t allowing me to really get the feel of the physical books.

Screen Shot 2018-01-25 at 10.13.34
Anthology Pinterest Board | Hannah Phillips | 2018


So I began looking at books in the university library and kind of pushing the limits of what could be described as an anthology. I chose the Design Museum’s Designs of the Year 2014 catalogue (this was my favourite out of the various years because of the fold out). The justification of why I would class this as an anthology is simply it collects various works and while they aren’t strictly stories or text each piece gets its own spread in the various chapters. Which is the way we sectioned off the different texts in last year’s Anthology. I think this is a successful example because there is clear structure throughout the book (very important to prevent the various sections looking thrown together), for example, the headings, categories and descriptions are given the same treatment for each piece. The size of the book was smaller than an A5 but not an A size which I found interesting although wouldn’t work for our publication or it would end up extremely thick!

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