by Tim Lepczyk



  • A rise in enthusiasm followed by shortness of breath.
  • Lack of sleep.
  • Sallow skin.
  • Propensity to talk about project with anyone who will listen, including: neighborhood dogs, the dashboard of a car, parents.
  • Visions.
  • Multiplicity of voices.
  • Restless design syndrome.

Diagnosis by Design

The initial idea came from illustrations of “Wound Man,” a medieval medical document that shows a figure afflicted with a variety of injuries. “Wound Man” is pierced multiple times with objects, and I envisioned the stories, the individual voices of the writers residing inside one body. To read The Treatment, I imagined a person pulling the stories out of the body as one would remove the pieces in the board game Operation. However, due to time constraints, I was unable to incorporate this idea. Instead, I created interactive icons for each story that would twist and enlarge when a cursor drags over top.

For the body, I processed a medical image of a man into three colors. Next, I created patterns based on vintage dresses and replaced the flesh tones for fabrics. At one point, the teal outline was a series of red stitches, and the body looked sewn into the background, but that seemed too gruesome and messy. Once the body was born, I made icons for each work. Again, I continued to use patterns from fabrics; however, the challenge was in creating the right image. Certain icons, like a coffin for “Six Feet Under” or a police box for “Dr. Who” seemed obvious, while icons for more conceptual pieces proved harder.

In creating the website, I used a responsive design so the site would scale to different devices and developed a version of the Bones WordPress theme. Typography includes “League Gothic” for the headings and “Linden Hill” for the text.

The Treatment

If The Treatment were a pill, the chemicals, the actual medicine would be the words contained within. The design is merely the colorful gel capsule to hold the elements together and deliver them all the quicker to your bloodstream. Designing The Treatment and putting the pieces together was a joy and a challenge. I’m thankful to have worked with a wonderful publisher in Tyrone Jaeger and editor in Heidi Julavits. Special thanks to the writers for their fine words and the support of the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation.