No. 5 Culture Chanel Book by Irma Boom

In 2013, Irma Boom was commissioned by the French luxury fashion house, Chanel, to create a book for their Chanel No. 5 perfume.  In all of its 300-page glory, the book contains no ink, and instead, the text and images are embossed onto soft paper telling a story about Gabrielle Chanel.

Research-wise, Boom immersed herself into studying Chanel’s life and even participated in picking roses from the Provenance region of France during the bottling process.  Boom noticed how each scent displayed a sensational and powerful attitude even though they were invisible to the eye.  This observation was the inspiration behind the overall concept of the book, where she utilized an old letterpress machine without ink to print the main book.

For the content of the book, she hand-drew onto an aluminum plate, then turned them into a mold.  The form of the book is challenged for the most part due to its reliance on touch in order for the viewer to read and comprehend the information. It is similar to the printing of braille where the form is exhibited through the embossing of paper.

She focused on tactility, images, and text when producing the book.  Throughout her career, she has challenged the norms of book design and this project is another example of formulating a new way to experience a book that drives intrigue and excitement from its viewers.  With the No. 5 Culture Chanel Book, Boom found another interesting way to convey the essence of a story in a thought-provoking manner through the use of unconventional form.


Works Cited

Barone, Joshua. “Irma Boom’s Library, Where Pure Experimentalism Is on the Shelf.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 16 Jan. 2017,

“Open Book: Irma Boom Is the Queen of Books.”,

Stinson, Liz. “A Genius of Book Design Creates a Tome With No Ink.” Wired, Conde Nast, 10 July 2018,