"Designing Motherhood: Things That Make and Break Our Births" covers eighty designs—iconic, archaic, quotidian, and taboo—that have defined the arc of human reproduction. It was important to us that the book be something as at home on a gift list for new parents as on a syllabus in a design history class. We wanted it to be an intensely visual book, with the image research as robust as the histories of the objects, systems, politics, and people in the text. Our process of design was a keen and kind symbiosis between the two authors and the two designers.
The book rejected for publication from every museum institution we worked for so we found our own funding and publisher, a years-long process. We know that this is because of the subject matter which, back when we started this project in 2016, was not as widely spoken about as it is now (and it still needs more airtime). While birth often brings great joy, making babies is a knotty enterprise.
The designed objects that surround us when it comes to menstruation, abortion, paid leave, gender stereotypes around reproduction, birth control, fertility, childbirth, and more vary as oddly, messily, and dramatically as the stereotypes suggest. Each design in our book tells a story, from the tie-waist skirt, famously worn by a pregnant Lucille Ball on "I Love Lucy," and essential for camouflaging and slowly normalizing a public pregnancy to the home pregnancy test kit, and its threat to the authority of male gynecologists.
Trim Size: 7 in x 10 in
Number of Pages: 344
Paper: Favini Burano Rosa 90g/m,MaxiGloss 90g/m
Typefaces: Grilli Type GT America (three different weights)
Book Designer: Natasha Chandani and Lana Cavar
Jacket/Cover Designer: Natasha Chandani and Lana Cavar
Designing Motherhood: Things That Make and Break Our Births
Book and Cover
Book Title: Designing Motherhood: Things That Make and Break Our Births
Design Firm/Agency: Clanada
Publisher: MIT Press
Author/Editor: Michelle Millar Fisher and Amber Winick
“First off, kudos to the publishers for making public such an important topic! AND to the designers for meeting the task so brilliantly. Such great choices in materiality, use of type, and color palette. You get exactly what the book is about without being bludgeoned over the head with didactic dogmatic representation. I must have this book!" —Kimberly Varella
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