…the interior book centred on a holistic presentation with: typography centred on ease of readability, reference and content separation…
…the rendered maps were created to convey a sense of the physicality of the travels of Alexander Gardner.
…“Special thanks are due to Juga Singh, who was the creative spirit behind every aspect of the book’s design and layout…"
‘The Tartan Turban: In Search of Alexander Gardner’: The biography of the 19th-century Scots-American traveller and mercenary Alexander Gardner. The first trade publication for the next phase of the specialist independent publisher; with Juga Singh providing book design, reprographics and supporting infographics.
The writer of the biography, John Keay is a British historian, journalist, radio presenter and lecturer specialising in popular histories of India, the Far East and China; is widely seen as a pre-eminent historian of British India and previously wrote about Gardner in his books ‘When Men and Mountains Meet’ (1977) and ‘The Gilgit Game’ (1979).
The front cover portrait was overlaid onto a period design of the Star-Spangled Banner to encapsulate Alexander Gardner’s Scot-American heritage; the back cover photograph provided visual credibility to the front image captured from a private collection. The tinting of the two 16 page colour sections to match the shade of Munken Cream paper stock was to create an uninterrupted luminous continuity and provide visual relief for the 86 included illustrations.
The cartography of the maps, titled ‘Travels of Alexander’ and ‘The Punjab and surrounding territories’ were rendered to convey the physicality of the length and breath to the three journeys, as the first American in Afghanistan to cross Central Asia’s deserts and high mountain passes.
On the evening of 2nd of March 2017 the book was launched at the Ernst & Young, London Bridge Office. The publication quickly reaped positive reviews, capped by being listed as The Guardian’s Best Books of 2017 and a lead review in the Sunday Times Culture magazine. Prominently displayed in Hatchards (Kings Cross), Waterstones (Bath, Ealing & Piccadilly) and with WHS Travel promoting the book in airports and their larger station stores. Part of the 2017 Jaipur Literature Festival lineup at Diggi Palace, Jaipur and the Jaipur Literature Festival at the British Library, London. William Dalrymple, the writer and festival director reviewed the book in The Spectator: ‘Minutely researched, wittily written and beautifully produced’.
The Tartan Turban served as the first title under the new partnership with Allison & Busby providing worldwide trade and distribution. A biography by a renowned historian, bestselling author and the third publication featuring the ‘Toor Collection’ (a privately owned collection specializing on the Sikh Empire) secured the cover and a sixth of the internal illustrations [14/86]. Combined with the content supported by illustrations, maps, family trees and a timeline; collectively adding to the scholarly consensus of the Sikh Empire.
John Keay wrote: ‘Special thanks are due to Juga Singh (jugasingh.com/grfik.com), who was the creative spirit behind every aspect of the book’s design and layout. An appreciation of his maps, family trees and timeline are vital to fully understand our protagonist’s story’. (p.xxvi)