by Wendy Jehanara Tremayne

The Good Life Lab

This book is the story of a couple who decides to leave New York City and move to New Mexico to lead a new life focused on self-sufficiency. They make their own appliances, cleaners, and grow their own food. They connect with nature and live off the land and basically do everything a city dweller can only fantasize about.





Alongside their story, are photos, charts, tips, and illustrations making this book look more like a scrapbook than a traditional memoir or manual for better living – but it serves as both. Full disclosure, I didn’t really read the book cover to cover, but I’ve been skimming it, reading a paragraph here, a page there. So I can’t really vouch for the content as much as I can of the design. I became aware of the book because I was one of the illustrators along with some amazing other contributors like Josh Cochran, Melinda Beck, Chris Silas Neal, Gina Triplett, Kate Bingaman Burt and Grady McFerrin to name a few. These illustrations are sometimes instructional and other times beautifully decorative. Josh’s show appliances that have been hacked to reduce power or change their function while Gina’s gorgeously illustrates an inspirational quote.




The book is a perfect size for a good read, while also offering enough space for artwork to breathe. The binding is Smyth-sewn, which is exposed, so you can see each sewn signature. I have to hand to creative director Alethea Morrison who pulled together this project, paying attention to the DIY theme in every design decision. Even the cover, an exquisite corpse drawing of the couple by four illustrators, feels like a nod to collaboration and creative construction.




Pick up a copy here.