Designed for life

Getting more people to travel more sustainably is the aim of Sustrans, the charity that makes it easier for people to walk and cycle.

So, when we were asked by Fragile Earth, an imprint of Alastair Sawday’s publishing company, to help design a new book for Sustrans, telling the story of sustainable travel, we knew we had to create something inspirational – something that would encourage people to get on their bike or get on their feet. After much pencil chewing, mouse twitching and musing, we hit upon a plan: a book design that was as life-affirming and vital as the concept of sustainability itself.



  • Name origination
  • Design & Art direction
  • Copywriting
  • Illustration
  • Editorial
  • Print
Do Humans Dream of Electric Cars? Book for Sustrans by Fable showing illustration close up

Time for fun

What we were talking about affects us all – it’s vital to all our futures. So it was essential that the book appealed to everyone.

We decided straightaway that it should be both fun and engaging. So we created a thought-provoking cover and a title designed to give the book maximum pickup-ability. And the fun didn’t stop inside. We crafted a concept for every page. So instead of unappealing swathes of text, we had quirky informative illustrations, quizzes, games and infographics. Everything in short to bring the book – and the messages it contained – to life.

Throughout the project we worked closely with the writer and illustrator. To maintain interest, we used a mix of typefaces, including hand-written styles for added personality. The whole book was designed to be visually interesting and above all memorable. And in keeping with its strong environmental theme, it was printed on recycled paper by a printer with the lowest ecological impact.



Do Humans Dream of Electric Cars? for Sustrans by Fable
Fable Sustrans Electric Cars Book 18
Do Humans Dream of Electric Cars for Sustrans by Fable showing illustration style

Inspiration source

In terms of helping to promote sustainable travel, the book achieved its goal.

One of Sustrans’ aims was not just to preach to the converted but to make the whole concept of sustainable travel one that everyone could embrace. And throughout all 96 engaging and beautifully crafted pages, the book did just that.

By showing how we can help change our world, little by little, we were getting people to take small steps that together could make a big impact. And because the book was deliberately designed to be fun, people tended to read it and pass it on rather than relegate it to the bookshelves. Message spreading. Mission accomplished.



I salute you for the Sustrans book! It is huge fun, dynamic in design and altogether a new way of looking at this. Well done!

Alastair Sawday