In close collaboration with the client, I made a book that pulls the reader into the story of a young man that traded his photography skills for food and shelter

365 days. That’s how long Maarten Mellemans travelled around Europe with his camera as his only travel buddy. Not that special, I hear you think, a lot of people go traveling like that. What if I told you that Maarten didn’t pay for a single thing, and instead traded his photography skills for food? A place to stay? That he didn’t have a place of residence for that whole year? Yep, it’s true. One year long, Maarten traveled around, capturing people and their stories. Afterwards, Maarten wanted to share those stories by publishing a book.

Although the design process was very tough, in the end we decided that it was best to use a grid in analogy with a photography grid. To make it a bit more interesting I decided to leave some white space. This means that the layouting would take so much time, but if the balance on every page is right, it would be an epic book

The process

How, who, what

After some meetings, I was ready to start. The meeting were time consuming as the things Maarten requested where ofter contradictory. It was important to show +-2500 pictures, but it was also important that you could see the photographic quality's of Maarten. At the same time the book couldn't be too big, as this would make it too expensive. Next to that, he wanted to tell his story. He traded his photography skills for one year for food and a home, and those adventures were very important for the project. There were also a lot of different kind of text, we had what we now call 'the memoires', Maarten's own expieriences, the experiences of the person with who he traded, AND he also wanted to write caption with some of the photos. As you can imagine, it's not easy to put all this in a book that is understandable. But who doesn't like a challenge? We decided on using a grid that refers to the time of analogue photography and to use different pages for the memoires. To keep the tension in the book, I designed in some white space.

I started designing within the grid

The publisher

As the book was evolving it was imortant to talk to the publisher (stockmans) about the limits of the book and show the design. He liked the design but we had to make sure the book didn't became too big. That meeting we talked about the paper, how it would be printed, and we decided that it would become an artbook because of the qaulity of the paper and the way it was designed.

Meeting with the publisher (Stockmans)


After a rollercoaster of meetings and changes we finally started printing at the end of september.

Printing the book!