Three Simple Words; A Hundred Heartbeats

This accordion book might fall somewhere in between the categories of a quasi book and a visual book. Merriam/Webster define (ex. a set of written sheets of skin or paper or tablets of wood or ivory) a book proper in many ways, but they all specify that that it includes ‘written’ material. The main component of the material is a short animation of a character mouthing the words “I love you.” Outside of the titles on the covers, nothing is written, but three words are clearly delivered through the visuals in the pages. And that’s how I want to challenge the traditional definition, blurring the lines between a book and a cartoon.

A shot of the black and white covers back to back, taken by myself indoors so that the text would be easier to make out.

I’ve went with standard card stock for the page paper because it was perfect for hand-drawn images, which is how I make my designs the most efficiently. The colors of the binding of the covers are black on the front and white on the back. This book is meant to convey a tender message of love, friendship, and emotional support. One way I like to show gratitude of a friend’s kindness is preparing food, mostly baking cookies. For some reason, when I was assembling the covers, I was thinking of black and white cookies, and I decided a two-sided object could easily emulate the look of an attractive, two-sided treat.

The pages of my book, taken by myself, spread open to deliver my simple, yet meaningful message

I want the reader to rediscover the power and majesty of the words “I love you.” It’s the arguably most overused phrase I could say to someone I care about, whether it’d be to a girlfriend, a family member, or even a close friend, and can even sound phony, so I find myself refraining from saying it when I should. No matter how much we change, and no matter how much our world change, when I tell you I love you, I always mean it in the vain of the adorable face lip-syncing the words in the pages. In essence, I wanted to make an adorable cartoon face as real and as personal as possible, to communicate that there is that same sentiment in the comics and cartoons that we are endeared to in the people in your life.

As much as I’d love to make a more extravagant project in the future, I wanted everything about this project to be simple once I realized the main idea. I wanted this book to LITERALLY speak for itself. Even the hundred hearts I drew around the faces seem tacky to me in retrospect. It really is fulfilling to come up with my own way of expressing love for some, similar to Mister Rogers’ “143 Means I Love You” song.

2 thoughts on “Three Simple Words; A Hundred Heartbeats”

  1. I absolutely loved this book and its meaning when you explained it in class, and I still do. I also really appreciate the simplicity of it all, especially when you say you want the focus to be on how powerful those words are. I actually just had a conversation about how we throw around those three words, and I admire that you want to refocus on what it means. Along the line of simplicity, I love the character we see here. The fact that it’s void of any discernible characteristics (other than being adorable) gives the reader a chance to place themselves or someone they love as the character, which I think was a smart move to make it accessible to everyone.


  2. I love how baking and song permeates your book so well. Neither are activities that I traditionally associate with the book – either as object or content – yet they broaden and deepen my understanding of the book and your ideas behind it. They introduce more senses (hearing, tasting, seeing of color through the black and white cookies) that challenge our traditional notions of a “book.”


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