During a trip to Japan in the summer of 2015, we had the unique opportunity of meeting Rosa Park and Rich Stapleton of CEREAL Magazine who coincidentally were traveling in Japan at the same time. We had always admired their work and meeting with them left a lasting impression on us. In April of 2016, Rich and Rosa later reached out to us with their exciting personal project, ‘These Islands’. Having now lived in the UK for several years, Rosa had realized how amazing the British Isles were and yet how little most people knew of the rich landscape. ‘These Islands’ was in many ways, an ode to the country that had been such a big part of their lives.

Since the dimensions for ‘These Islands’ were relatively larger in scale at 300 × 240 mm, our initial step was to determine the right size for body type. It had to be both easy to read while maintaining the right balance to each spread.

We referenced the the calm landscapes to establish a linear flow and rhythm for the book

Once the book’s pacing was defined, we ideated numerous layout possibilities





An early grid ideation that was later changed to a 10-column canvas. With a larger book, this canvas allowed for more balance and diversity of paragraph structure and image placement.

Example final spreads showcasing how text and photos are applied based on the grid design.

We illustrated some street maps to complement and give context to the photos

Diagrams and geological charts at the end of the book

Research & Concept
We first began by laying out the photos and text onto the canvas looking to create visual interest in the layout. Yet as we continued exploring options, we felt it was important to establish a more meaningful foundation to base the design upon. During the following three weeks, our team tried to look further into the historical and geographical aspects of the landscape. The historical documents and maps we found provided us with a great amount of inspiration—some of which we ended up including in the appendix section of the final book. We also drew inspiration from British architecture—the unifying columns, brick walls and windows of buildings.

As we dived into the design, one of our goals was to limit the typesetting to two to three treatments. By refraining from larger type sizes, our solution to give distinction to the chapter openings then was found in using half-cut pages. This allowed us to create an eye-catching variation in the book while revealing the texture of the land beneath.


Press check with Rich Stapleton and Rosa Park

Press Check & Trip to UK
By the time the book was ready to be sent to print, it had been close to one year since we started the project. Rich and Rosa invited us to join them for the press check in the UK, and we soon found ourselves at Heathrow. We all boarded the train together en route to Uckfield where the print shop was located.

Even as we were in transit, some last amendments were being made to the book before sending to print. We had a full day at the print shop on the first day of press check. As each proof sheet left the press, we carefully reviewed it for incorrect colour registrations, ink marks and any final mistakes. Although we left close to midnight that first day, we felt incredibly proud with the results.

After a full day at the press, we traveled South the next morning towards Beachy Head—the location displayed on the front cover of the first Cereal book, These Islands. It was a surreal moment as we walked along the cliff edge. Upon climbing the gradual incline, we found ourselves staring at the cover in real life. It's a moment we'll hold on to dearly and won't ever forget—to work with an image only 24 hours earlier and now have stepped inside its frame.


These Islands cover

All photo captions are placed consistently in the middle of the spread.

Chapter openings featuring a half-cut page

A haiku is printed on translucent paper overlaying an intentionally out of focus landscape photograph

Final Design
The final book contains 232 pages, printed on uncoated G.F. Smith paper with a dimension of 300 x 240mm. Like a window to the book, the cover has an inset displaying a photo of the chalk sea cliff in East Sussex, England. Within the pages, readers will find essays, paintings, and poetry inspired by these islands, alongside stories dedicated to 13 locations across the British Isles.

“In the making of this book, I’ve realised that these islands have become my home. Not because of the length of time I’ve spent here, but because of the permanent changes they have wrought on me. These islands have shifted, challenged, and fortified my beliefs and values. These islands have become a part of me”
— excerpt from Foreword by Rosa Park.


Photos by Ash James, taken at the book launch event at Sunspel shop, London.

Book Launch
In April, 2017, These Islands was officially launched. The launch event was held at the Sunspel store in Marylebone, London.

  • Print
  • Location
    Bath, UK

  • Rich Stapleton, book spreads digital mockup
  • Sunspel, launch event photos