Occam’s Razor

Occam’s Razor is a flag book about the philosophical maxim that argues for simplicity over complexity, a philosophy credited to William of Occam, a 14th century philosopher. The maxim is often reduced to “keep it simple.”

“Razor” refers to the act of shaving away unnecessary parts of an argument, reducing it to its simplest, and therefore most logical form. In design, it is taken to mean simple design is preferable to complex design.

I thought a flag book, with its sliced illustrations, was the perfect book structure for the subject. It features three sliced illustrations, as well as a 2800-word sliced-up explanation of Occam’s Razor, which, along with an antique straight razor, is contained in a box inside the book.

sketch

Overall size is 9.5″ x 12″, 1/2″ thick.

Covers are covered in black bookcloth. Inside is printed on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag paper using an Epson 2200 printer with archival inks.


sketch

Closeup of the title label. Title is laser printed on handmade paper. The subtitle, which reads, ” [ keep it simple ] ” is cut and inlaid into the decorative paper, using paper cut from the inside of the book. (see below)


sketch

The book, opened up. There are three flag spreads, each spread a long illustration broken into 7 flags.

On the left is text explaining William of Occam and his philosophical maxim, “Occam’s Razor.”

On the right is text explaining three examples of Occam’s Razor, each of which is illustrated. There is also a handmade box, containing a razor and cut pieces of text.


sketch

The book opened and expanded, displaying the full illustrations.

The inside cover pages are designed in Quark Xpress. For the backgrounds, I scanned in the handmade paper used to create the book (the box, accordion, backs of flags, cover label) and printed/reversed out the text onto it.


sketch

A closeup of the box. The razor is an antique straight razor.

The sliced text is a very lengthy explanation (2,884 words) of Occam’s Razor, printed on handmade paper.

The subtitle on the cover, [keep it simple] is from this same text.

The shredded paper is glued in… each piece individually glued in one spot, giving it the appearance of being randomly tossed into the box. The box is handmade, wrapped in handmade paper.

The straight razor is glued in with epoxy. The book can stand up with nothing falling out.


sketch

Another close up of the razor.


sketch

Inside left cover, with explanatory text.
Colophon is printed in black, below the main text.

sketch

Text on left side.


sketch

Here are the three illustrations, uncut.
Uncut, they each measure 3″ x 19″.
Illustrations are hand drawn in Photoshop specifically for this book.


The three examples of Occam’s Razor are:
Crop circles: It’s more reasonable to conclude that humans, rather than aliens, made crop circles, largely because the alien theory is too complicated and makes too many unproved assumptions

If You Hear Hoofbeats, Think Horses, Not Zebras:
A phrase used by doctors to explain how to diagnose multiple symptoms… go with the obvious. If a patient has five symptoms, it’s one malady, not five.

Solar System: Copernicus used Occam’s thinking to explain that the Sun — not the Earth — was the center of the solar system, which made heavenly observations
more easy to explain and eliminated many convoluted 17th century theories.

sketch

Crop Circles
Closeup of portion of the illustration.

sketch

If You Hear Hoofbeats, Think Horses, Not Zebras
Closeup of portion of the illustration.

sketch

Solar System
Closeup of portion of the illustration.

 

logo_handmadebooks_wide