Design Direction, Design, Lettering
Anyanwụ Why the Sun lives in the Sky — is classic piece of Nigerian folklore that explores friendship, boundaries, and learning to compromise. It is a story of the relationship between the Sun (Anyanwụ) and the River (Oshimilli).
Obiora Nwazota, Anyanwụ author and Ọkpara House founder, assembled a global team to collaborate on Ọkpara House’s second imprint. Ben Onuorah, an Igbo illustrator and fine artist, illustrated the story in a style inspired by the Igbo tribe’s rich philosophical ideologies of the Uli and Nsibidi design. Span was brought in to design the book’s cover and the interior pages in collaboration with designer Unyimeabasi Udoh.
Span and Unyimeabasi Udoh designed the cover to have a compositional relationship with Ọkpara House’s first imprint, Nkemdiche. The cover allows the title to act as a nameplate introducing the protagonist Anyanwụ. By setting the illustration of Anyanwụ above the title, the design hints towards the great conflict of the story — Anyanwụ’s position in the sky.
As the Anyanwụ story is about the Sun (Anyanwụ) and the River (Oshimilli) we selected type that felt fluid while connected to the illustration style. Anyanwụ’s title and display type is set in a reverse contrast italic typeface, Swear Cilati. Span customized the typeface to have cursive characteristics that felt wave like while reflecting the unique perpetual and connective, thin and thick line movements that exist in Ben Onuorah illustration style. The body of the book is set in the typeface Kigelia from JamraPatel. Kigelia is the first-ever system of fonts designed to coordinate in character the most prominent writing systems in Africa.