The making of Selected Works of Leonardo da Vinci

Overview   Process  

There are no complete books by Leonardo da Vinci (or they haven’t survived). The first Russian translation of his writings was published in 1935 by Academia under the editorship of Djivelegov and Efros. That edition was beautifully bound, but designed so that you had to make for the last pages for translators’ comments.


Our first version had endnotes too.


It then occured to us that translators’ comments should be considered as important as the original text, and that having to flick back and forth between two bookmarks would be annoying.

The volumes underwent the first redesign—we turned all the endnotes into footnotes.


At that point the margins appeared too large, the leading too tight, and there’s always room for improvement anyway. We switched from the simple grid with nine columns to a combination of 9×9 and 12×12. The lines grew longer and loosened up.

We redesigned the book for the second time.

before and after

That would be a new grid for our publishing department.


We took the time to study Leonardo’s works in albums published by other houses.


Some of Leonardo’s drawings had already been redrawn for the old edition. There was no point using them, so we redrew over again.


And got these:


The rest of the images were scanned, cropped, sharpened, grayscaled and prepared for print.

all picsb

We designed the cover.


Then selected the headband, bookmark, flyleaf color, and sent it to print.

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