Author – Archana Pidathala
Editing – Sonya Balasubramanyam
Art Direction, illustrations – Eszter Laki

Graphic design - Réka Imre

Print – Pragati, Hyderabad

Photography – Balázs Glódi (book shoots by András Zoltai)


A Feast for the Eyes: Studio NUR's Artful Take on 'Why Cook'

14 Feb 2024

The Art of Culinary Storytelling

The art direction in cookbooks transcends mere recipe presentation; it's about storytelling, a narrative that Studio NUR has masterfully captured in "Why Cook." Eszter Laki's journey with author Archana Pidathala to the vibrant locales of India sets the stage for a cookbook that is a worldwide sensation. The art direction trends in modern cookbooks lean towards such personal, immersive experiences, and "Why Cook" is a testament to this shift. The book's aesthetic, from the mandala-patterned hardcover to the intricate silver printing, reflects a blend of traditional motifs and contemporary design that instantly captivates the reader.

Elevating Aesthetic Appeal in Cookbooks

Making a cookbook visually appealing is an alchemy of photography, graphic design, and illustration. "Why Cook" achieves this by interweaving Balázs Glódi's evocative photography with Eszter Laki's expressive illustrations, creating a tactile, visual journey that complements Archana’s narrative. The book is not just a collection of recipes; it's a canvas where food and culture converge, showcased through a well-considered design that embraces whitespace and visual storytelling. The attention to typographical details and layout design by Réka Imre enhances readability and interaction, inviting readers to not just cook, but to delve into the stories behind the dishes.

The Role of Art Direction in Cooking Books

In the realm of culinary literature, the role of art direction is pivotal, and Studio NUR’s approach with "Why Cook" illustrates how a cooking book can be transformed into a cultural artifact. The decision to document the lives of 16 inspiring women through the lens of food creates a rich, textured backdrop for the recipes. This approach is increasingly popular, where the trend is to present cooking not just as a process, but as an extension of lifestyle and tradition. "Why Cook" becomes more than a guide; it's an invitation to understand the soul of cooking, the people behind the flavors, and the stories that each dish tells, making it a cherished addition to any culinary enthusiast's collection.

Studio NUR's "Why Cook" is a culinary masterpiece that stands at the intersection of art and gastronomy, an exemplar of how cookbooks can be both informative and transformative.