This is Water

Book / Typography 
Spring 2018

︎ An artist’s book around David Foster Wallace’s speech, “This is Water.”

︎ On themes of empathy, the value of higher education, and the apparent loneliness of adult life.


︎ My concept

Transitioning into university, I happened upon David Foster Wallace’s book, “This is Water.” The text originates from a commencement speech, and though the speech is over 10 years old, I still found its irreverant, humorous tone to be applicable to my experience.

I chose to keep this book relatively quiet and simplistic, using negative space and white to convey the speech’s clear-cut, no-BS attitude towards Wallace’s message.

︎ My content

To emphasize Wallace’s humor, I paired the main text with a short collection of funny college anecdotes from a NY Times advice column.

Despite the casual tone, Wallace also offers insights into daily living and “meaningfulness.” He does so by describing empty consumerism and the misery of redundant adult life. I emphasized this concept with images of empty, monotonous shopping malls and stores.

︎ My process — research

︎ Early concepts: miserable consumption

︎ Early concepts: examining individuality

︎ My process — design

︎ Early spreads experimenting with icons

︎ Testing binding with mockups
Land acknowledgment: St. Louis lies on the land of the Kickapoo Tribe, Osage Nation, Miami Nation, and Sioux Nations.
Last Updated: 11.21.20
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