project: memoir

Author’s personal story as enlistedman in WWII

Conflict to Combat in the South Pacific | Book Design

Conflict to Combat Cover Design by Paul Nylander

In this WWII memoir, 95-year old author Jim McDougall recounts his personal story of time spent in the South Pacific during World War II. As an ordnanceman on one of the amphibious “Black Cat” PBY Catalina aircraft, his story offers a frank and touching personal glimpse into one man’s life in the Navy, and the continual tension between boredom and terror that marks the lives of those in active combat.

Set in 60 short story arcs, Jim recounts his enlistment in the Navy and assignment to the South Pacific with a combination of historical references and his own flight log notes, enhanced by old photographs, maps and graphics. As a designer I needed to reprocess a number of old photos, as well as (re)create several graphical elements.

Conflict to Combat Books on Display at Aviation Show Conflict to Combat Books on Display at Aviation Show

As often happens in this type of project, several of the images were of insufficient quality for press work. Through a combination of resolution adjustments and noise and grain additions I was able to produce a consistent look and feel throughout the book.

Conflict to Combat Books on Display at Aviation Show Conflict to Combat Books on Display at Aviation Show

I love tailoring divider lines to a books text. It is a traditional embellishment, which I believe adds a certain flair to the pauses in the story. In this case, a swash from the BonBon Ornaments by Feno Type provided a suitable look—reminiscent of the front profile view of the PBY aircraft, and its large twin engines.

The particular deadline for this project was the “Wings of the North” Air Expo at Flying Cloud airport in July 2018. Here author Jim McDougall and his daughter Jackie, who was instrumental in editing and organizing the project, proudly show off copies of the first printing of the book.

After selling out the first run, we tweaked the editorial and a few images and reprinted, again at Bookmobile.

Conflict to Combat author Jim McDougall and his daughter Jackie at the Flying Cloud Airport Aviation Show

Explore Other Projects…

Design is process of creative problem solving as applied to challenge of controlling how a user (i.e. a reader) interacts with their environment (i.e. the book). While Book Design isn’t writing, editing, or illustration, it affects the success of all three. It is part production minded, and part visual story-telling.

learn more about paul nylander and illustrada design

I encourage you to step through my recent projects and learn for yourself how I have applied a design process to a variety of different challenges. Or jump back up to the overview.