Graphic smiley face with black oval eyes and a curved stroke for a smile with accentuated cheeks

this is not a book design

Exhibition book for Mark Grotjahn

Art direction and design by Lauren McCarthy


Mark Grotjahn is an American artist best known for his mask series, and butterfly series. His pieces are amazing and incorporate very unique materials and techniques, including recycled materials and pencil crayons.

The project was to create the perfect coffee table book that would be available at a shop after going through the artists exhibition, and I really wanted to be able to capture the artist's essence from the book jacket, cover, and layout. I want to see their personality throughout it, who is this artist really?

The project started with learning all the ins and outs of who the artist is, watching videos and reading  interviews. I had drawn tons and tons of pages of sketches, but Mark Grotjahn is notorious for being a little funky and out there. He is a very unique individual and has a very unique stance on his own personal work. This easily drove the direction of the project.




The project ended up being a huge success, and definitely turned out to be not as I thought it would. I was expecting to put big artworks all over the cover and jacket, but my end solution represented the artist perfectly.

White book on a white background. this is not a book written on the book in read. behind it is box with the artwork of Mark Grotjahn, an abstract maskWhite book on a white background. this is not a book written on the book in read. beside it to the left is a box with the artwork of Mark Grotjahn, an abstract mask
I had the most amazing time bringing this book to life. I used my personal favorite piece of his, his mask sculpture, as the book jacket. When thinking about what kind of book I want to purchase after seeing an exhibition I thought I'd wish I would be able to bring a piece home, which is what the book allows you to do. You can bring the book home and display it in your house just as a work of art.

The book cover in particular was a challenge. But again when thinking of how peculiar and unique the artist is, the only answer is to go peculiar and unique, breaking the rules of design, which left us with an all caps centered book title with nothing else on it.
Preliminary sketches of a book being slipped out of a box.
White books on an orange background. this is not a book written on each book cover in red