Fungi and Folklore
A zine exploring the traditions and rituals surrounding mushrooms.
The idea for this brief comes from a shared passion into both mushrooms and folklore. The project initially began with more of a general focus on mushrooms as a whole, but as my research developed, the traditional and historical side of the subject became more interesting to me.
My dad is an avid mycologist and foraging for mushrooms is something I’ve done from a young age. Most of the research was becoming too academic and time-consuming to record, so I considered documenting the visual components that resonated with me the most. These turned out to be the rituals and customs carried out by ancient and modern cultures.
A rigid, formal grid structure was developed to maintain a consistent layout throughout the publication - taken from columns found in mycological field guides. This consistency is reflected in the decision to have scores cut into the cover to reveal the columns.
One of the first pages produced was an index of every species of psilosybin mushroom. The layout of this spread initially started as a very rigid, conformative structure that followed the rules of the established grid. However, in a crit it was suggested that I explore intentionally breaking the grid up to create a contrast. The wavey columns follow the stem of Psilocybe semilanceata, the most popular and most potent variant in Great Britain. The final result offers a juxtaposition between fixed and organic forms.
Initially, the format of the publication was intended to be hardbound, recalling the Grimm’s fairy tales books with a canvas cover. A spine design was produced, seeking to maintain contuinity with the front cover. Times New Roman was selected, matching the subtitle typeface, and was placed before several symbols and icons that communicate the subject. These include ancient hyroglyphics and deities portraying mushrooms. However, it became apparent during production that the amount of pages would not be sufficient for such a thick bind. This design was instead used on the back cover.
The spiral bind was selected in order to encourage the reader to tear out pages from the the publication, particularly for the interactive elements.