The Folio Society
A selection of direct mail designs for a publisher of beautiful illustrated books.
The Folio Society is a London-based publisher of fine books. Established classic literature – and modern classics too – are elevated into objects of beauty. The reader is inspired to explore the aesthetics of the book as well as the text.
Folio books aren't your average paperback. Every element is considered, from the elegant typography to the sewn binding and the exacting editorial standards. Each book is crafted to the highest standards with specially commissioned illustrations or photographs and beautifully designed covers and slipcases.
I worked in the marketing department designing and artworking direct mailing packs that were sent to prospective and existing members (at that time Folio was a membership-only bookclub).
Limited Edition book mailing
The Limited Editions range was established as an offshoot from the main catalogue and elevates the book as an art form to a whole new level. Each title has a strictly limited print run (normally around 500–1,000)and each book is individually numbered.
The Surinam Album by Maria Sibylla Merian, a German-born naturalist and scientific illustrator, contains 91 watercolour facsimiles from the British Museum. This is a huge book contained in a green clamshell box.
Maltese Cross direct mail
During the time I worked there, The Folio Society was a membership-only bookclub. To entice people to join, mailers were sent out with discounted offers and free gifts.
Every so often we experimented with different sizes, formats or designs to see if any changes could produce an increased response rate. Some made it through to become part of a live campaign while others didn't. The Maltese Cross fell by the wayside but it's still one of my favourite pieces.
Essentially the Maltese Cross format is one sheet die-cut to form a cross shape. It is creased along the edges so that it folds up into a neat compact square. Even the response mechanism is included.
The square outer panel is a teaser and as each panel is unfolded, more and more membership benefits are revealed until finally the joining offer is shown, spread across all five panels. The idea behind the design plays on the theme of a hidden treasure hunt.
The result is a well-designed mailer that works hard to keep the recipient intrigued until the last panel.