Not about Bread is a book that touches on the modern relationship between food and its ingredients. The topic of bread is a merely a vehicle for displaying differences between mass-produced foods and homemade whole foods.
The book includes the 1841 essay written by American transcendentalist philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self-Reliance,” that both supports and challenges these ideas. The book uses a tripartite structure to compare, contrast, and combine the reality of three different types of bread: homemade, Orrowheat, and Wonder bread.
The book is bound into three individual sections, one for each bread. Each section is composed of an image essay, each ingredient’s chemical structure, and a portion of the Emerson text. This idea of reliance is further developed with text and images strictly conforming to a nine-column grid, creating a parallel experience for each section, yet relying on one another to communicate the complete idea. To demonstrate this simultaneous interdependence and autonomy, the book has moments where images common to all sections overlap to create large panoramic spaces.
The typeface is Akzidenz Grotesk, a sans-serif originally made for commercial use and general-purpose in the late 1800s. This typeface, although seemingly simple, has been adapted and re-released over the years to accommodate metal type and digital technologies. Bread, and food as a whole, has endured a similar experience. The food we eat today has evolved to be commercially commodified and mass produced for convenience and control. This book seeks to draw an analog to these systems: complex and layered, essential, and interconnected.