"There is a world of endless possibilities waiting behind every YES."
-Kobi Yamada, YES book-
Our newest gift book YES is a little different for us. It’s tough, it’s gritty, it’s bold. Why? We wanted to create a title that told readers—in no uncertain terms—that their potential is in their own hands. “Yes means going for it, Yes means a positive attitude, Yes means embracing life, even when it is a bit scary, and finding ways to live with passion,” says author Kobi Yamada.
Drawing on inspiration from an old Nike ad about not taking no for an answer, Kobi created a unique dialogue within the book—including both negative statements that critics will say as well as positive questions to push back on those harsh statements. As Kobi explains, “The main challenge was to create a back and forth dialogue of pessimism and optimism where the reader can see and feel the impact that attitude and outlook has on everything we experience in our lives.”
To match this bold tone, designer Jessica Phoenix took a rich collage design style to the page. “I found a collage by Clark Goolsby that gave me the inspiration for how to bring color into the book. I created my own ‘digital collage’ and used it as a backdrop for many of the spreads. Creating that collage was a challenge I enjoyed—I'd never made anything like that before.” Jessica also used markers, tracing paper, and black tempera paint. “The style is bold, hand-drawn type with pops of bright, colorful geometric patterns.” She says that despite the complexity of the project, she truly enjoyed simply drawing. “I created a lot of the elements with tempera paint and markers so it was fun to literally get my hands dirty making this book.”
The key element for Jessica in designing the book was the audience. “I had to keep running my design ideas through that filter: could this be given to a teenage boy? What about a mother of three? I would say this book has a fairly urban feel, which, in the end, may not appeal to everyone, but I do think it will strike a chord with many. Everyone can relate to that voice of negativity in our mind that tells us ‘no,’ which is why it's so needed to have a book that tells us we can ignore that voice and say ‘yes,’ instead.”
The result is an intense yet uplifting graphic style that mirrors the negativity and optimism that can be found in the words on each page. It’s our hope that after reading YES, customers will have a more positive filter to look at situations, or at themselves—a filter that’s more supportive, positive, and encouraging. “The best takeaway from this book is that the readers can recognize negativity and cynicism easily, whether from others or their own insecurities and fears, and know that it is not truth.”