Passfield Press is a literary press with a mandate to publish titles primarily by author Michael Hetherington. In affirmation of its tagline, generative disturbances at the margins—writing on the edge, three Passfield Press titles have been singled out for awards, including a Gold Medal.

The design brief for the four books on this page included making unique and distinctive covers as well as interior pages. Covers are finished with a soft touch laminate (featuring a scuff-resistant, nylon-based matte-laminate) for extra durability.

Gold Medal for Canada West Fiction: Independent Publisher (IPPY) Book Awards
Finalist—literary fiction: Foreword Reviews’
INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards

The Playing Card

Another international book award winner! Criteria for the IPPY Gold Medal Award include design-related elements: first impression, cover design, and interior layout.

The Playing Card, is Michael Hetherington’s first novel, following two previously published books, including The Archive Carpet, which is composed of fiction fragments. (The Archive Carpet)

The Playing Card is about curiosity and the pursuit of knowledge; at the same time, it’s a playful, suspenseful, and experimental novel—a metaphysical mystery. The structure of this book is unique, based on a deck of 52 playing cards in four suits. It includes 52 chapters in four parts, along with two “joker” chapters and an “Inface,” a kind of preface set in after the first three chapters.

The cover features a painting by renowned French painter, Henri Matisse; with permission from his estate. Interior pages have chapter headings that push outside the body text margins; and page numbers vertically aligned to chapter headings, although these are set approximately one-third of the way down the page.

Find out more about The Playing Card at Passfield Press

Finalist in Foreword Reviews’ 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards.

Halving the Orange

The dark mystery behind Isabella’s confinement unravels slowly amidst quirky characters and intellectual hijinks. Who can she trust? What really happened to her mother? The truth comes at a high price, and in the end, Isabella must make a life-altering decision.

The cover features a painting by English Pre-Raphaelite painter, John Everett Millais; courtesy of National Museums Liverpool. To support and echo the novel’s setting at a medievalist college, chapter openings have an attractive ornamental filigree drop cap. The text font, which was originally intended for use in hand-setting limited edition books, is elegant, sophisticated, highly readable, and a beautiful match with the ornamental chapter openings.

Find out more about Halving the Orange at Passfield Press


Late one night when Adrian is nineteen, he risks climbing up into the green tower that operates the railway bridge spanning Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet. There, he encounters a mysterious naked woman who will haunt him for years to come. An undercurrent of violence and danger flows beneath the story, threatening to pull Adrian down out of his innocent existence into dark and murky depths.

Analogous to the dark and unnerving undercurrents throughout this novel, the cover features a distressed font and spine details. The old dock at Jericho Beach represents one of its main place settings. On the interior pages, heavy blocks at the chapter openings and the “spikey” text font further reflect the novel’s themes.

Find out more about Hooked at Passfield Press

The Archive Carpet

The author wrote fragments of fiction every day for 2500 days and later selected 600 for publication. The result is The Archive Carpet, “. . . a wild and wonderful ride over lands that are sad, funny, absurd, and scary.”

This is fiction, although the writing has a poetic quality. That meant the design challenge was to create an elegant book whose contents are arranged in 39 “chapters” aggregated into three parts. This required clear levels of hierarchy and plenty of white space to create smooth flow while also allowing each element to breathe and declare itself.

In response to the author’s desire to include in the Table of Contents (TOC) all fragment titles, plus chapter titles and parts opening pages, the TOC is set in two spacious columns, with page numbers shown only for the chapters. The result is a clean and uncluttered look, allowing easy navigation for the reader.

Find out more about The Archive Carpet at Passfield Press