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S. by J.J. Abrams

A tour-de-force in bookmaking in collaboration with legendary filmmaker J.J. Abrams.


After finding a left-behind book in an airport lounge containing a note from its previous owner, legendary filmmaker J.J. Abrams was inspired to create a book that was completely annotated with notes between two people—but he didn’t think it was possible to make the layered and visually unique story he imagined a reality.


Working with Abrams and the book’s writer, Doug Dorst, we helped to conceive S. as a rich, multilayered, sensorially captivating object and reading experience.


Abrams tapped Doug Dorst to write the book’s complex book-within-a-book manuscript. The core of the text is a 1949 novel, titled Ship of Theseus, penned by an enigmatic author, V. M. Straka.

In the margins, a modern-day story plays out between Eric, a graduate student, and Jen, an undergrad, who slowly unravel Straka’s mysteries.

The book is a work of art.
(SHIP OF THESEUS SHIP OF THESEUS crown of feathers and a vulpine tail, balanced on there appear sequential accounts of hunts, of ritu- one leg at the needle-tip top of a mountain peak als, of births and deaths, in which the faces take on surrounded by sheer drops and skya precarious He


Once the manuscript was complete, we brought the physical object to life with the talented team at Headcase Design.

The slipcase was simply and elegantly designed in black on black, with a large letter S adorning the front.

To get to the book inside, the reader must first slice through a perforated sticker. Once the reader breaks the seal of the book, the fictional world of Ship of Theseus never breaks.

The label on the door.
(SVHIS LV S STR 1949,business, currency, money, wealth, paper, no person, achievement, cash, finance, bank, shopping, retro, savings, passport, luxury, old, security, value, vacation, dollar)


We scoured old hardcover novels from the 1940s to come up with the cover design for Ship of Theseus. For added authenticity, we added a library sticker to the spine printed with its Dewey Decimal number, and a check-out stamp to the inside back cover.

The pages were also purposefully made to appear aged—some readers even swore they smelled old (we can’t take credit for that!).

The first page of the book.
(KEEP THIS BOOK CLEAN Borrowers finding shis book peueil-mrked are expceied co ropori it to the librarisn RETURN ON OR BEFORE LATEST DATE STAMFED BELOW DEC1
A book with a photo of a man reading it.
(SHIP OF THESEUS SHIP OF THESEUS "Me?" You.S And yet I have one. Apparently. That


All of S.’s handwriting was done by a team of two people in our office, and we selected different pen and pencil colors and weights to denote the time periods in which Eric and Jen were corresponding with each other.

The text in the book.
(posed, are allowed to drift away.Perhaps they


S. also includes 20 pieces of ephemera that Eric and Jen have left tucked within its pages for the reader to discover, from from a map scrawled on a napkin, to old journal and newspaper clippings, to letters and postcards, and even a decoder wheel that reveals messages hidden within the book’s footnotes.

Digital art selected for the #.
(NATIVE BIRDS OF = Brazil BRAZIL,business, paper, no person, money, desktop, vacation, card, bill, landscape, magazine, collage, retro, travel, print, achievement, finance, wealth, sign, text, conceptual)

“When we got our first copy of this thing, my jaw slammed to the ground—I couldn’t believe that they actually pulled it off.”

J.J. Abrams
Interview with BBC
A selection of letters and emails.
(page, paper, layout, information, booklet, business, number, template, stationery, form, document, facts, no person, text, presentation, label, World Wide Web, card, banner, option (finance))


S. went on to be a New York Times bestseller and a worldwide hit, with copies printed in multiple countries and languages.

S. also went on to gain immense popularity on TikTok, with videos of readers unboxing the book and sharing tips and secrets on how to navigate its pages garnering millions of views.

Lot - a box of shoes.
(DOUC,no person, paper, business, currency, money, literature, wealth, savings, education, book, book bindings, shopping, spherical, knowledge, vacation, isolated, one, isolate, still life, retro)