Jennifer Do Field Notes – Space

For (this week’s) field notes, I analyzed the book Hyrule Historia.

Cover of Hyrule Historia

This is a 280-page collector’s book about the world of The Legend of Zelda, a popular game series. It contains an official timeline of events in the series, as well as information/artwork about the world and characters. The book was originally published by Nintendo in Japan in 2011, and localized in America by Dark Horse Comics in 2013. The book’s dimensions are 9.3″ x 12.3″ x 1.1″. Though this is a fairly hefty size, I think this works well for a collector’s book that is intended to be something of a showpiece.

Hyrule Historia is separated into three major sections, which are further divided into chapters:

  1. “The Legend Begins”/The World of Skyward Sword
  2. “The History of Hyrule”/A Chronology
  3. “Creative Footprints”/Documenting 25 Years of Artwork

Before and after these sections are a forew0rd and afterward by two of the creators of the game.

These three sections have different layouts from each other, but remain fairly consistent within themselves.

This is an average page from the first section, “The Legend Begins.” There is at most one full paragraph of text, with scattered flavor text accompanying the concept artwork. The name of the subject is written in larger text, usually near the top of the page, to indicate what you are seeing. The concept art on each page is contained in a rectangles of varying sizes, and they don’t seem to have a standard arrangement aside from staying within the outer 0.5″ margins. The margins for the top and bottom of the page are 0.4″ and 0.7″, respectively. Though these sectioned out ‘concept art squares’ always stay within the outer margin, the larger (not contained) artwork that sometimes is featured on the page does not always adhere to them.

The second section, “The History of Hyrule” is essentially a timeline of events in The Legend of Zelda universe, organized in chronological order.

This section is much more text-dominated than the first, and each page is generally divided into two sections. On the outer edges of the pages are faux ‘aged’ pages, but ignoring those, the margins widen to 0.8″. The top and bottom margins remain the same as the first section. There are two ‘lines’ that run on the left side of the page, the first depicting the ‘era’ of time the events take place in, and the section telling which game it occurred in. The first ‘column’ of the page details the events in the world’s history. The second column, on the right has bulleted world information, such as location and creature descriptions. There is an additional section at the bottom of some of the first pages in this timeline, with detailed descriptions on some basic founding information on the world, like how the continents are divided and some of the more prominent races.

The pictures that are in “The History of Hyrule” section are small, and only serve to compliment the text. There are several of them on each page, however, and each have a small caption underneath them describing what they are.

The third section, “Creative Footprints,” is heavily art-based and gets rid of the inner margin entirely. There is a title and on average 2-3 lines on each page, and the rest is dominated by concept art. The margins revert to those of the first section, but how the art is laid out on the rest of the page is inconsistent throughout. Sometimes they are lined up in a similar way to “The Legend Begins”:

and other times they are scattered in a seemingly random way across the page:

Overall, I thought that the use of space in this book was effective. There were some areas in the first and second sections that looked slightly cluttered with too many images, but I judging by the fact that this is a collector’s book, I think that could be considered a good thing to buyers, since it technically means there is more content. The sections are well divided and are organized in a way that all the information is clearly legible and not confusing.