22 Ways to Explore 203 Books
A book can serve many purposes — from education to escape, aspiration to inspiration, status-symbol, sentimental, act of protest, or object of beauty. Although we now have the ability to hold the contents of an infinite number of digital books in the palm of our hands, many of us still prefer and cherish the physical book; perhaps now more than ever. Why? We no longer need physical books, but I certainly need physical books. This project broadly explores the ways in which books have played a role in my life, both the routine and unexpected.
Through experiments in categorization and organization, visual examination, and conversation, I uncover the partial roots of a deep attachment to the physical book. The importance of the object lies in surprising places and has triggered memory in ways I couldn’t have guessed. This exploration has been as much, if not more, about the process than it has been about finding concrete answers within the pages of the 203 books on my shelves. What follows is a narrative of how this exploration ebbed and flowed across 8 months and what I learned along the way.
- Annabelle Gould, Chair (Visual Communication Design)
- Jayme Yen (Visual Communication Design)
Piper Loyd is a visual communication designer and design strategist. Prior to her work at University of Washington, she wore many hats at the global design firm IDEO — most recently as a marketing lead and chief of staff. Throughout her master’s degree, Piper has been a teaching assistant in the School of Art + Art History + Design, as well as a lecturer in the Human Centered Design + Engineering department. She served as a career liaison for the Division of Design, helping connect students to potential employers. During summer terms, Piper held design internships at Pioneer Square Labs and Starbucks. Originally from the mountains of Idaho, she still likes being outside as much as possible — unless she’s in the kitchen baking cookies or, more recently, sourdough bread.
- University of Washington Top Scholar Graduate Award (2017)
- Master of Design, University of Washington, 2020
- Bachelor of Arts, Art, Colby College, 2003
Read the full commentary about Piper Loyd by Heidi Biggs.
While formalizing texts and books is a tradition of design, where designers consider typographic systems, margins, paper, and cover design, the question of the texts they contain is often the purview of philosophers of language and critical theorists who theorize the impact of language — its seeming inescapability — and its pluralities. Piper, in her thesis, uses the lens of her relationship to her book collection to frame the book as an object that sits at the intersection of text and form: books stacked together, given and found, bought multiple times, scuffed and bent, underlined and earmarked. In her thesis she shows the book as both object and text, holding together a web of meaning and relationships between thinker, writer, material, designer, friend to friend and self to self — a loving meditation on what books do and mean meshed in the fabric of everyday life.
– Heidi Biggs