The Liffey Descent

I was originally approached by Iain Maclean to design the cover of his book, The Liffey Descent, marking 60 years of Ireland’s toughest canoeing challenge. Iain is a veteran paddler of The Liffey Descent and has completed 50 of them himself – the only person to do so. He had been working on the project of information gathering and writing his account for a number of years.

My initial task of creating the cover illustration was an analogue one, getting back to basics and exploring mark-making to capture the energy and explosive nature of the weirs along the Liffey.

As the project developed I was immersed in all things ‘Liffey' and began advising on different elements of the book and how they may work best. My role soon shifted from cover designer to book designer, and so the task of wrangling some 280 pages began. The typographic treatment of the cover somewhat influenced the type choices and how the more sober interior would play out. I employed my illustration of the Liffey’s weirs to mark the chapters and this in turn was used at different scales on the chapter pages.

The book was launched at City Hall, Dublin and produced with the help of the Dublin City Council.