We spoke with the wonderful people @Creativereview on the meaning and purpose behind our new PATTERNS OF LIFE design project, sharing our philosophy on pattern as a powerful tool for positive culture change. 

The Patterns of Life book series taps into the growing concern about humanity’s impact on the environment and examines our relationship with the world we live in. Titles include Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species and Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens, alongside Cradle to Cradle by Michael Braungart and William McDonough, Adventures in the Anthropocene by Gaia Vince, and Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel.

“These books are very in line with our philosophy in that they tell important stories; stories that impact our times, and the patterns of our past, present and future lives,” says Anna Murray, co-founder of Patternity. “This project was the perfect opportunity to implement our design and storytelling approach to bring together these seminal texts as one whole, and help draw attention to the patterns of time that have shaped culture.”
Annn Murray
“The oval across all the texts was a key aspect of my design approach. When the books are placed on the shelf they create a large sphere … the shapes is symbolic and is a visual statement on the cyclical nature of time, unity, wholeness and planet earth – subjects that unifies all these texts.”
Grace Winteringham

In a departure from Vintage Classics’ iconic red spines, Anna and co-founder Grace have come up with something a little different. 

Patternity also created individual designs referencing key aspects of each title. “The colours reference the colours on the original books,” Winteringham says. “... and the geometric shapes are a simple representation of  the complexity of the content inside"

The spiralling Fibonacci pattern on The Origin of Species, " seen in the growth pattern of various flowers and plants and represents the universal pattern of growth and evolution. The golden circle symbolises the sun's life giving light and energy, as well as the impact of our planets rising temperatures”, Winteringham explains. "Guns, Germs and Steel – which looks at how human history has unfolded across the globe – illustrates a petri-dish esque pattern competitively fighting for space under the pressures of rigid, man-made industrialisation”.

Cradle to Cradle’s linear pattern alludes to a framework within modern manufacturing methods. In line with the book’s proposal of a new vision for the modern industry, its cover acknowledges “simple, lean, man-made systems, that are efficient and connected, working in alliance with the natural world – part of a 'production line' crafted from outside the box thinking” says Winteringham.

Adventures in the Anthropocene, describes the new epoch in which we’re living – one defined by the changes we humans have made to the natural world. "The fluid design eludes to the free-flowing rate at which humans are changing the shape and health of both land and sea."  As a result, our planet is said to be crossing into the Anthropocene – the Age of Humans Winteringham adds.

Finally, the cover of Sapiens reflects the book’s focus on the history of humankind. “The siren red triangle is symbolic of our top-down, hierarchical systems,” Winteringham says. “This iconic shape, segmented in ascending ladder-like lines makes a visual reference to the pattern and linear nature of human domination of the planet, [exploring] the unrelenting human quest for improvement, dominance and control over the natural world and all ecology.”

Patternity’s first ever commission was a book cover for Granta’s Voices of America by Ec Osondu, but this project is its first foray into a collection of titles. Other recent collaborations include homeware and clothing collections with John Lewis and Crackle Connections: Artisan African Homewares with Zambian artisans Tribal Textiles. The studio is also planning an event to coincide with the launch of the Patterns of Life book series on 17 February, which will focus on sustainability and science.

There’s something important about books that help us find our place in the world around us and challenge us to make changes. Vintage Classics says its mission is to “unearth forgotten classics”. This collaboration presents us with five whose relevance is timeless – and whose covers might be too.

Patterns of Life series is published by Vintage