500 Cupcakes and 500 Cookies Book Design

Client Quintet Publishing

Format 150 x 150 mm, hardback, 360 pages

Skills Quark Xpress, Photoshop, art direction

500 Cupcakes and 500 Cookies were the first two books in the ongoing 500 series from Quintet Publishing. I was responsible for the original concept and design of the series.

500 Cookies book design. This is the front cover to the book. The cover features a cut-out chocolate chip cookie, with a bite taken out of it, against a line green background.

500 Cookies/500 Cupcakes

500 Cookies book design. This is a sample spread from the inside of the book. It features a recipe for jam drops and a full bleed image of the finshed cookies on the right hand page.

500 Cookies book design. This is a sample spread from the inside of the book. It features a recipe for almond biscotti and a full bleed image of the finshed cookies on the right hand page.

500 Cookies book design. This is a sample spread from the inside of the book. It features a recipe for almond biscotti and a full bleed image of the finshed cookies on the right hand page.

500 Cupcakes book design. This is the front cover to the book. It features a cut-out cupcake on a bright pink background and the title large above it.

500 Cupcakes book design. Sample of an inside spread. The is a recipe for lavender and honey cupcakes. A full bleed image of the cupcakes is on the left hand page.

500 Cupcakes book design. Sample of an inside spread. The is a recipe for chocolate ice cream cupcakes. A full bleed image of the cupcakes is on the right hand page.

500 Cupcakes book design. Sample of an inside spread. The is a recipe for pistachio and rosewater cupcakes. A full bleed image of the cupcakes is on the left hand page.

The brief: 500 series

While working as an art director at Quintet Publishing I was briefed to create a stylish, small format, practical book series. As the name suggested, each book featured five hundred recipes. Each title would cover a different subject – cupcakes, cookies, cocktails, breads, etc. Over sixty recipes were photographed in each book. The brief also wanted the design of the books to have a gift appeal.

My design: 500 Cupcakes and 500 Cookies

The first problem I had to solve was how to fit in five hundred recipes into only three hundred and sixty pages. I also had to work out how to include over sixty photographs.

My solution was to use a simple, clean design. The ‘500’ bit is a bit of a cheat. Out of the five hundred recipes there were only one hundred base recipes. The rest of the recipes were smaller variations based off of them. I worked out a design that allowed for ten chapters in each book – these chapters contained the base recipes with a section for the variations at the end of each of these.

The main draw of the books was to be the photography, so the next problem was how to photograph over sixty cupcakes and cookies and make them all look interesting and different.

I commissioned Ian Garlick for the food photography. We had worked together previously on the Asian Flavours cookbook. We used different props and coloured backgrounds, which allowed us to create a unique look for each recipe.

By the end the photography shoots I was sick of cupcakes and cookies.

The 500 cookery series went on to be a big success for Quintet Publishing.

Food photography by Ian Garlick.