My printed book has arrived and I really like it. It is bright and happy but still has a seriousness about it which is exactly what I was going for. It is so nice to see something physically that you have been working on for a really long time. I have learned a couple of things doing this project but the most important one is: it takes time to design a book. And there is so much planning going in to it. I have simultaneously enjoyed and dreaded the making of this book as it has been so extensive. There were so many images of outcomes I had to redo or clean up before it felt presentable for the book, so I hope I will learn for the future to keep better care of my work and take better images from the start haha.
The layout for my book is kind of Alan Fletcher inspired when he said that making a book is quite similar to making a storyboard for a movie, when it comes to the flow and pacing of everything from page to page. I have some consistent layout solutions throughout, like the introduction to each chapter looks the same and the explanation for each project always starts the same way with a small block of text in the bottom right corner and a image or images covering the left side.
So some problems happened when uploading my book to both Blurb and Issuu.com. With Blurb the size wasn’t right even though it was right in my InDesign document. It was repeatedly too small but changing the size even to be bigger for some reason never helped and it wasn’t until I made my document the exact size it said to make it in inches and removing the bleed setup that it worked. It also took a while to figure out how the site wanted the cover pdf to be uploaded (two landscape pages, one for outside cover and one for inside cover). But after that it finally worked!
Issuu.com presented another problem which was that the pdf Blurb made for me (combining my two pdf files containing the book + cover) took away some of my images. The yellow patterns for example that I had on my chapter pages transformed into solid yellow pixelated squares. Very very strange. And annoying because it cost 3 pounds extra to get that pdf. In the end I had to combine my pdf files myself through adobe reader and then the issuu version worked. Good to know! (not paying for the blurb pdf again hah).
Final cover proved not to be my final cover. Realising it looked too camera film-y I did some sketches of alternative ideas and ended up with using the sketch where I drew the pattern I had and made it into vector art that I then coloured in red and laid type over it.
Sketches for cover, by Lisa
This is the result and I finally like it 100 percent:
Choosing, creating and placing my content for the collection book is nearly done. This has been extremely time consuming but in the end very satisfying to see your own processes and outcomes in such a straightforward way. I have had to re-take images that were of too bad quality, scan research from my sketchbooks, draw new images and scan and edit those, create images directly in InDesign and of course write all the paragraphs that go with each project to explain it. Phew.
Having only a few pages left to design, I decided to print out a mockup to see how the flow of the book will work as that’s hard to do on the computer screen. Making a mini mockup proved very helpful as I can see now that it is put together which images are too big or small and some of the images that I was unsure if I should have, I am now positive have to go.
I also decided to keep the text to a minimum and only have short paragraphs so that the images are the real stars of the book and it resembles a portfolio more.
Initially the plan was to make a photobook via blurb in hardcover as I thought if I am spending so much time designing this I want the result to look as polished as possible (which means not binding it myself) but because my final page count has come up to 78, it would cost me 95 pounds to make the 2 copies required. So! I am now opting for the magazine option as that will be approximately 60 pounds cheaper. At first it didn’t feel right, the magazine format, because to me a magazine is something you throw away and that isn’t a feeling I would like for my collection project hah, but money had to be the deciding factor here and I’ve come to convince myself the magazine format is going to look great. In fact, some of my designs that cover a whole spread might actually look better in a magazine compared to a photobook as the binding will be thinner. Also the cover will probably look better as magazines usually have a lot going on on the cover but mine will be a solid colour red with only the title centered on it so I think it could look pretty interesting. The only thing that concerns me is that my design might not be playful enough to fit a magazine but that might be me overthinking it at this point just because I am nearly done.
Converting the book format to magazine format didn’t prove too complicated as the size I had originally was quite similar to the one I have now, only now it’s bigger (around A4).
So my initial designs for the book were super boring. Everything I created looked dead and like it would be better off thrown in the bin. I started out making a book I thought I could get printed with Blurb where the minimum to print is 20 pages, but realised I cannot fill 20 pages for this project so I decided to make my own A5 booklet instead. That design came out just as awful- it didn’t look remotely thought through and just all in all very un inspiring as seen below:
First and second book design, by Lisa
So after getting some help and feedback from a friend about what I could do to change this, I decided on making a concertina A4 thing instead and when I started designing that, everything just fell into place. It was instantly more fun to design and I could play with the format more, making it fit my app better as well.
This is in A1 size so it makes to folded A4 books which I then could make a cover to as well to make it more stable and so it s able to stand up. The only thing that concerns me a bit is if I have enough information on here but I think I ticked the most important boxes anyways so off to print!
To accompany my app, I need to make a book explaining the visual identity of London Poetry. As I have no idea what usually goes in such a book, I started researching it and focused on three different companies: Apple Pay, The Barbican and Skype as I thought they were a good mix of digital and print stuff.
Apple Pay- divides their chapters in: overview, apple pay buttons, do’s and don’ts, avoid mistakes, examples.
The Barbican- introduction, logo, lock up, grid, typeface, typography (line space, weights) and then what their different posters look like for different events like art, film, theatre etc.
Skype- logo (what it looks like and do’s and don’ts), typeface, colours.
Based on this I’ve thought about what I need to incorporate and so this is my list: introduction, logo + do’s and don’ts, typeface and colours.
Focus: chapter dividers. Continuing the things I mentioned in my previous post about designing the start of every chapter, I started scanning the type I painted so I could use it for my book. However, doing this I realised that the type didn’t look like I wanted it to. Zooming in on it really close, the edges looked all jagged and pixelated and basically not pretty. I tried to vectorise it in Illustrator but it still didn’t look good and I didn’t have the patience to try to fix it as I don’t know how to use Illustrator basically hah. It might have been the paper I painted on was too rough that made it that way, so what I did was to paint over it in Photoshop to smoothen out the ragged edges. Took painfully long but in the end I got the result I wanted as seen below (in the right image, the P and R and cleaned up but not the A so you can see the difference).
Book, chapter dividers, by Lisa
Next to the page explaining the brief to each project, I have made patterns that reflect that brief to make it more interesting (seen above to the left). I have yet to decide on the typeface though for my titles and body text, but something sans serifs and straight as a contrast to the painted type would work.
As I have now started designing my book I know it’s gonna contain a lot of white space and digital stuff and the overall look will be very minimal as that is how I design and I want the book to reflect me. I bought a book a couple of weeks ago called “MIN” which is a collection of projects by different designers and companies done in a minimal style and I found it really inspiring. I like how design can be really strong using as few elements as possible and thinking about that I have decided to not have something elaborate on my cover. I could never decide on one final design and they don’t reflect me as I would like. So I am making my cover a solid red with the title in white and that red will also flow through the rest of the book, functioning as chapter dividers. As the projects throughout the book will be so different in style and colour, I want the red to be a consistent calming factor that binds it all together.
However, I don’t want my book to be too digital as that doesn’t reflect me either and because the overall look will be so strict in a way I thought a good way to loosen it up a bit could be to incorporate some handmade type. I got really inspired by the book “Dear Data” for this as it is so playful in its expression and really have that handmade vibe without making it look sloppy. Thinking about this page (below) I made some tests of my own.
A spread from the book Dear Data by Stefanie Posavec and Georgio Lupi
So far, I’ve only thought about the contents of my book and how I will create the layout. The cover, to me, wasn’t something I gave any time considering. But after the markmaking workshop I had this week it’s definitely something I am going to think about more. The cover is in a way how the book introduces itself and similar to how you reflexively smile to a person you’ve just met while shaking their hand, I want my book to smile at you and for you to smile back. The cover also sets the tone for how the rest of the book will be and it has to be interesting and want to draw you in. For example, when I buy books the cover plays a huge part. If the cover is too ugly I’m probably not even going to pick the book up. Basically, the cover is important.
Some outcomes from the workshop