In 2006 I was teaching at the EKA in Tallinn for a few weeks. For the assignment I introduced the students to a little 8.5 x 12.5 cm Dutch phenomenon called Canary Books – The yellow success-book, a home-university for the practical life.
During the assigment I made this is the hand-out for the students. It's filled with practical information about making simple books. It covers my personal tips on picking paper and simple tips.
8.5 x 12.5 cm, 48 pages, laserprint, edition ± 30
The assignment - Canary Books
From 1935 on a little book called ‘Canary Book’ appeared periodically. It was a self-help book, a guide to the growing amount of different subjects in life. The content was short and super-positive. The aim seemed to be not to warn people for danger, but to take away fear and make people into self confident, socially armed beings, coping with their jobs, the upbringing of children, financial state, teaching them hobbies, or becoming a better car driver. Through every-day examples it gave tips on ‘how it was supposed to be done’. Reading the content now, is quite hilarious. Next to the design, the list of titles that appeared (below) in this series is a source of inspiration...
There's a very sweet website (in Dutch) dedicated to the books www.kanarieboekjes.nl.
8.5 x 12.5 cm, 64 pages, inside: black & white, cover: yellow with print, Images from www.kanarieboekjes.nl
Pick a title from the list and make a book for this ‘Canary book - home university’ series. You might pick a title because you already have affection with the subject, you could also pick a title without knowing what it could be about.
In this assignment I’d like you to take responsibility for content and design. On the one hand I’d like you to start making actual physical try-outs for the shape / feel / size / system / rules / paper of your book, while on the other hand you start working on your approach of the content. It doesn’t mean you have to write a book. Finding your way into content sometimes follows the same rules as finding the right design.
(original list can be found here it even includes PDF's to scans of original booklets)
1. Education and choice of profession / 2. Applying for a job successfully / 3. Getting ahead at own powers / 4. Organize yourself / 6. Taking an exam successfully / 7. What an office clerk should know / 8. This is how you to apply for a job / 9. More orders for the salesman / 10. Doing business by phone / 11. Selling through writing letters / 13. This is how a girl makes more money in business / 16. How to be sociable / 17. How to speak in public / 18. Being in charge of a meeting / 19. Making money with a little shop / 20. This is how to make your office efficient / 23. This is how a girl succeeds in the office / 24. This is how to write texts and brochures / 26. This is how a young salesman succeeds / 27. This is how to make a company efficient / 28. This is how to relieve efficiently / 29. This is simple shop-accountancy / 30. This is how to economise in business / 31. This is how salesman get contact / 32. This is how to get courage and confidence / 33. This is how a shop keeper makes more profit / 34. This is how a MAN succeeds / 35. This is how a shop gets more customers / 36. This is how to comprehend characters / 38. Making money in writing press articles / 40. This is how to make money with vendor machines / 41. Getting more out of life / 42. Good manners / 43. Making money using a typewriter / 44. This is how you become a good skier / 45. This is how you become a good boxer / 46. This is how you become a good draughts player / 47. This is how you become a good bridge player / 48. This is how you become a good korfball player / 49. This is how you become a good hockey player / 50. This is how you become a good soccer player / 51. This is how you become a good sailor / 52. This is how you become a good table tennis player / 53. The Hunt for Miss Hinch - detective novel / 54-5. The Mystery of the Desert Gap - detective novel / 56-7. The Silver Dollar - detective novel / 58. This is how you conqueror shyness / 59. This is how to do everything right / 60. Making money in teaching / 62. This is how to get a fuller and better figure / 63. This is how you become a good cycle racer / 64. This is how you become a good sport aviator / 65. This is how you become a good baseball player / 66. This is how you to make working capital / 67. This is how you become a good tennis player / 68. This is how you become a good glide flyer / 69. This is how you become a good chess player / 70. This is how you become a good athlete / 71. This is how you use the power of psychology / 72. Application letters that draw attention / 73. This is how you become a good motor driver / 74. What boys growing up should know / 75. This is how you become a good camper / 76. This is how smoking becomes a joy / 77. Making money in concluding life insurances / 78. About falling in love and getting engaged / 79. House keeping without financial worrying / 80. Gaining friends and relationships / 81. The secret of a long life / 82. Gaining the power of concentration / 83. Teach yourself to swim / 84. Making and keeping a speech / 85. Beauty secrets from Hollywood / 87. Starting a business with ƒ 250,- / 88. What working girls should know / 89. To conqueror fear and worries / 90. Thomas Ba’at - the biography of the shoe king / 91. Enhancing your personality / 92. The adventures of ‘Prikkebeen Jr.’ in 50 funny images, that can be coloured by the youth / 93. H. Colijn - the life and works of an energetic man / 94. Smooth conversation / 95. Madame Curie - a remarkable woman / 96. How to get what you wish / 97. Edison - the wizard of Menlo Park / 98. How the unemployed get to work / 99. Sven Hedin - a persistent adventurer / 100. The career of Mr. W. A. Deterding / 101. What does Oxford want? (Moral and spiritual renewals) / 102. Learing languages easily / 103. Lord Leverhulme - the king of Sunlight Soaps / 104. The art of keeping order to students, children, inferiors and followers / 105. Andrew Carnegie - the gentle king of steel / 106. Making better snap shots / 107. This is how to help out in small accidents / 108. Practical guide to baby gymnastics / 109. What you should know of England / 110. How to hoard safely / 111. Safe and cheap holiday trips per cargo boat / 112. A happy life as a single woman / 113. Tasteful dishes: fifty tasty tomato dishes / 114. From the life of Princess Juliana / 115. Fifty games, indoors and outdoors, for young and old / 116. Your dog as a healthy and pleasant comrade / 117. Pasteur, the big benefactor of mankind / 118. How a girl can do a good marriage / 119. What you should know about our country’s defense system / 120. What girls growing up should know / 121. How to conqueror nervousness and bad digestion / 122. Happy marrying on a small income / 123. Seventy-five laugh pills / 124. How to prevent children’s diseases / 125. Making good snacks from left-overs / 126. Learning pleasant dancing / 127. Raising of your baby / 128. This is how you learn Jiu Jitsu / 129. Better eyes without glasses / 130. Economical and efficient cooking / 131. Handwriting and character / 132. Enjoying your holiday / 133. Practical letter-writing book / 134. How to predict the weather / 135. Learning German fast / 136. Growing vegetables in a small garden / 137. A trip to Germany - German conversation book / 138. A book filled with cross word puzzles / 139. German pocket dictionary / 140. Learning French fast / 141. Astrology and horoscopes / 145. Learning English fast / 148. Carpentry for joy / 149. Getting past marital troubles and conquer them / 150. Developing a good memory / 152. Growing plants without soil / 154. How clubs and societies grow and flourish / 155. Raising the toddler / 156. Tasty dishes / 157. Bathing and swimming safely in the sea / 154. The miracles of the starry sky / 155. Inventing as a profession / 156. Finding and eating mushrooms / 162. Making money in your free time / 163. The art of making phone calls / 168. The new spelling - with extensive word list / 170. Guessing, calculating, magic and cutting / 171. Drawing course head and figure drawing / 173. Making friends / 175. Utopia, the promised country / 176. Success - the inspiring lecture by Taylor for young people / 177. This is how parents should associate with children / 178. This is how to be successful in your job / 179. Diamond fields are waiting for you / 180. This is how to become a better car driver / 181. Starting a business of your own / 182. Marshall and his plan - biography / 183. Churchill - biography / 184. This is how you become a good office chef / 185. This is how to do maths faster / 186. You are the smith of your own happiness / 190. Six hundred questions and answers - How much do you do you know? / 191. Becoming a mother / 192. Learning Spanish quick - grammar / 193. Learning Spanish quick - conversation / 194. Learning Spanish quick - dictionary / 195. The 10 basics to your success / 197. This is how you get healthy through psychology / 198. The shape of your hand and character / 199. This is how you learn to play draughts / 202. Guide to The Hague / 204. Guide to Rotterdam / 205. Success through the power of imagination / 215. Getting by on a small salary / 219. What young married couples should know / 220. This is how I should dress / 245. Tricks with cards / 254. This is how you collect stamps / 259. Making good friends by giving little gifts
NOTE - Some title-numbers are missing: the probably weren’t on the list I was using because they were sold out, some others I couldn’t manage to translate. Even titles in the original language have a funny sounding to it, that’s one of the reasons the translations could seem a bit strange. For other oddities, it’s me to blame.