Design Friday. Tree of Codes.

Visual Editions has released a new book by Jonathan Safran Foer, entitled “Tree of Codes”. The book is as much a sculpture as it is an actual book in the true sense of the word. This masterful piece is literally constructed by carving a new book out of an existing one. Tree of Codes uses a different die-cut on every single page, eliminating sections of sentences, and reassembling new ones via the overlaps on the page. The book tells the haunting story of “an enormous last day of life”, it is a book that looks every bit like it feels which is unlike anything else.

When Visual Editions began talking to Safran Foer, he expressed interest in using the die-cut method as a new way to author the story using his favorite novel: The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz. This required Visual Editions to find a willing printer, as Safran Foer meticulously cut out sections of the original book to create the new story. Visual Editions was turned down by almost every printer they talked to, with each one saying that it was to cost prohibitive or that the book simply couldn’t be made. Luckily they found Die Keure in Belgium who were up to the challenge and made the “Tree of Codes” possible.


The development of the book took over one year to produce involving numerous prototypes, and attempts to construct the new novel via careful editing of the original text. Through this trial and error process Safran Foer, and Visual Editions were able to bring “Tree of Codes” to life.


Safran Foer lives in Brooklyn, New York and is the award winning author of Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and a work of non-fiction, Eating Animals.