This project was a response to the ISTD 2012 brief, It Happened on this Day. I chose the 6th of August, 1945, the day an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

In my research, I came across contradicting opinions as to whether the attack itself was justified and whether the innocent people of Hiroshima were warned of their impending fate.

In the documents and transcripts collected I have attempted to show the two sides of this event. The first half of the book deals with the gradual build up to the bombing, with examples that reiterate time and again, the nonchalance and light hearted nature with which the men involved approached an event of such terrific gravity. Accounts also discuss the nature of the bombing, with one example President Truman’s diary stating that the target “will be a purely miltary one”, a statement that ended up being not entirly true. By contrasting this with the harrowing accounts of the Hibakusha(survivors), another layer of this event is brought into focus. Reliving the moments of the bombing with several individuals who witnessed it allow the reader to gain new insight into the sheer horror of the situation. By viewing both sides, I am attempting to invite the reader to question the justification of such an attack.

A key question in relation to the bombing is, was a warning communicated to the innocent bystanders of Hiroshima in any way. According to a CIA document, a leaflet entitled OWI notice #2106 was dropped upon 33 cities, reportedly inculuding Hiroshima, as part of an airborne propaganda campaign. There appears to be no evidence that
any such leaflet was dropped on Hiroshima and a line of thought is maintaned that the Americans gave no warning in order to evoke a more immediate and visceral reaction.
This notion of being kept in the dark, both in terms of an imminenent attack and in terms of nuclear weapons technology, plays strongly throughout my design strategy.

The page size, binding and paper stock of the book are all based on traditional Japanese methods. The page size, 189mm x 262mm, is called Shiroku-ban and is one of the JIS (Japanese Industry Standard) page sizes. Stab binding is a traditional method used for binding books in Japan, China and Korea that has been in use for centuries, hinting at the great heritage of the Japanese people. The choice of stock, Munken Lynx Rough, is also designed to reference the paper used in traditional asian calligraphy.

Relpica by Norm, represents the voice of the American army in this book. Its strict gridded nature references their technological advancements. It is set at 9pt with a line height of 11pt. This bold san serif is contrasted by the crisp, neohumanist text face that is FF Scala by Martin Majoor. It is set at 9.5pt with a line height of 11pt. The baseline grid of the page is set at increments of 11pt. This contrast evokes the same differentiation as the modern layout and gridded nature of the page in comparison to the traditional production methods.

This project awarded me membership to the ISTD in April 2012.