Jessica Bayer

Tender Buttons

These experimental typography book spreads explore the poems of Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons. Gertrude Stein was an art collector and writer who published poems, plays, and novels in the first half of the 20th century. In 2012, Lynne Tillman, a book critic for the New York Times, wrote this about Gertrude Stein’s work, “…she strove to reshape literary conventions — syntax, language usage, narrative order and the sense of making sense…” 

The page spreads evoke visual unrest on first glance, the same unrest readers new to Stein’s words may feel. This unrest is created through tight leading, type size changes, and a grid dictated by the alignment of repeated words or phrases. This allows the reader to visually see and digest Stein’s intentional word choices that seem, on first read, to be haphazard.