Shark Bytes

Client: Fernhurst Books A nautical book publisher founded in 1979, with a current list of c. 150 titles spanning how-to sailing guides to sublime scuba diving photo-books.

Brief: To design from scratch a coffee table book showcasing four decades of thrilling tales from diving veteran John Bantin.


From a 85,000-word manuscript and a selection of the author’s captivating underwater photography, the diver’s stories were to be brought to life by the means of a high-quality, softback gift book.

With the imagery and writing in their own rights so powerful, the layout design needed only to provide a vehicle from which to allow the reader an intimate look at the bizarre and beautiful creatures of the sea. Enhancement of the content was unnecessary – it already spoke volumes. The design needed to be sophisticated, slick and, in many ways, secondary to the material that it conveyed.

An abundance of white space allows the photographs to take centre stage; with the text formatted simply in one wide column per page to ensure the images displayed and described are not detracted or distracted from. A modest colour scheme of blue and gold, used solely on the contents page and chapter headings, mirrors the landscape of the seabed, while also nodding to the sense of majesty and magnificence embodied by the sharks.