TYPE & LAYOUT for THE IMPERFECT ENJOYMENT

A couple weeks ago we received the copy of a book I’ve designed: The Imperfect Enjoyment by Dewan Gibson.

In an earlier post I mentioned using the font Brothers for the cover. So when working on the layout, the idea was (& always is) to relate the layout with the cover to unify the book.

Book Cover & Layout

Having the Brothers font on the cover, I thought that I would like to find a good text font to go with it: something masculine, geometric, but at the same time highly readable. (Remember that usability always must be in mind when designing a book: the book is meant to be read!)
The chapter headings and small ornaments were also set in Brothers, and for the main text, the choice was Melior by Hermann Zapf. After trying some other fonts, Melior fit the bill: the geometric rectangle based font went perfectly with Brothers.

Typesetting

For the front matter I started to incorporate Melior, always combined with Brothers Bold & Regular. (In the image is the horizontal design for the TOC & Dedication page.)

Table of Contents & Dedication page

BTW, The Imperfect Enjoyment has its own website, which I found very amusing… featuring Barack Obama!

Book Website

By |March 2nd, 2009|Categories: Book Design|Tags: , , |2 Comments

e-book DESIGN (some Q & A)

We’vet just finished the e-book guide 4 Perfect Days in Buenos Aires. It was a process full of questioning many things that are, should or could be different from printed books. (Another post will address why PDF and not some other format for this e-book.)
Here I’ll share some of the topics that we came across while working:

ORIENTATION: portrait or landscape?

By thinking that we are designing a ‘book’ the impulse is always to go with a known book format (portrait), but since the screen is landscape, it’d be useful to follow that format if the e-book is intended to be read on screen.
However, when we read a print book we are always looking at a landscape format from the moment we open the book: the double page. So finally, I decided to go landscape, but as double page to keep the book familiarity and avoid the feel of a PowerPoint presentation.

Should we use COLOR or B&W?

Should we do it full color? We can! So why not?

A full color e-book can be done for the same price and will be more attractive since it’s full of graphics… ok, let’s think about the audience: what if the people want to actually print it and take it with them? Remember this is a tourist guide!
WHAT TO DO? We decided to work on 2 versions: a screen version with images & full color for people to enjoy, read and look at while planning the trip; and a print version that is B&W with a simpler layout. So by printing 11 letter-size pages of the print version then the reader can have the complete text to go.
Here an example of the screen version and the print version:

One complicated part we encountered was a double page with an architectural walking tour that included buildings photos: in this case we just left the map in the print version with references (so people could find the buidings) without images and included the text of that section:

To keep the feel of the book, the print version has the same text orientation (landscape), so by slightly modifying the original grid it was ready:

TYPOGRAPHY: screen font or book font?

I wanted a font family that could be used for the whole project, including the print version. The Rotis family was the choice because of the maximum readability and many options to combine the different levels of hierarchies of headings and text. The main text is set in Rotis Sans Serif and the headings are Rotis Serif & Rotis Semi Serif.

With or without LINKS?

I find it useful when a multi-page document (e-book in this case) has anchors from the Table of Contents linking to the corresponding pages in the e-book. Also since this is an e-book all Web sites mentioned in the e-book are actual links embedded in the document.

COVER

To be consistent with the landscape look of the whole project, the cover was done in the same style, so when opening the document all the pages are the same size, including the cover.

By |February 23rd, 2009|Categories: Book Design|Tags: , , |3 Comments

THE DESIGN PROCESS for a BOOK / Part II

This is the second part of a multi-part post describing the design process of the cover, layout, & website for the book A Worthy Legacy by author Tomi Akinyanmi. You can read the Part I here.

PART II: The Final Cover


The first round of the cover concepts were focused on the uniqueness of the yoruba origins of the author and her grandfather, the focus of the legacy.

For the second round we looked for a more ‘universal’ approach on the topic of the book’s theme “learnings of life”, which would allow more people to relate to it. This was a better approach from a marketing perspective and also conveyed the message that the author was transmitting in a better way since the book is about people and life regardless which culture they are from:

The dark background immediately stood out from the rest. And though we loved the title set in the calligraphic font Affair, we later changed it to Bentley & MrsEaves for improved readability:

Here is the final cover:

When we finished the cover, we sent it over to the talented team of COS Productions to produce the book trailer. I was thrilled to see how the video captured the essence of the book:

Coming soon | Part III: Book Jacket & Interior Pages

By |February 18th, 2009|Categories: Book Design|Tags: , , , , |5 Comments

The future of book design

Book design will diverge down several paths and has a surprisingly healthy future.

1) E-books based on a reflow format (i.e., suitable for small devices) will be based on common style sheets and exhibit a fairly uniform appearance. There will be a set of small (in size) firms that customize and refine these style sheets. Publishers will mostly outsource the format conversion since the ever changing variety of devices requires continual reformating of material. There will be some firms that profit very well from providing this service.

2) E-books based on PDFs also will be very popular due to the variety of light-weight computing devices with large screens. (The whole PDF vs reflow format for e-books is misleading unless one assumes that small, palm-sized devices will completely replace all other forms of desktop, notebook, and tablet-sized computers.)

3) Some material traditionally only published in book format will shift to Web delivery and “book” design for this genre actually is Web design. Many challenges for publishers in this segment who have not yet figured out how to monetize Web sites. (If publishers have not figured that out in the last 15 years, will the next 15 years be much different?) Many opportunities for new publishing firms to emerge to fill the gap for producing and monetizing engaging content using digital media. Many opportunities for designers since elegant Web design is neither simple nor cheap.

4) Print-on-demand establishes a significant market operating in bookstores, libraries, big-box retail outlets, and direct shipping to consumers. All those books still need designing and the PDF byproduct can feed directly into pathway #2 above as well as #1 with conversion services offered in pathway #1.

5) Print book designers will still flourish as some publishers will realize that a niche audience is willing to pay a premium for a wonderfully designed book, heralding a surprising renaissance in book design. Also, print book designers can design PDF-based e-books with no problem since PDF is usually a byproduct in the print book design process.

By |December 22nd, 2008|Categories: Book Design|Tags: , , , , , |8 Comments

CALLIGRAPHY TO GO with ROTRING ART PEN

The cool thing about living in a big city is that you don’t need a car, so when going around I take the bus or subway. Usually carrying a notebook with me, sometimes I write some idea, a sudden thought, notes on work & lately… calligraphy!

MY DEAR ROTRING ART PEN, 16 years later

Some things are meant to last: when I was 19 years old, I got my first real job as an administrative assistant at Pelikan – which is also Rotring importer – here in Buenos Aires.

As employees we had a great deal in discounts to buy merchandise & my desk was right in front of the Rotring technical department, so sometimes I would get goodies just for being there. Still, I didn’t need an excuse to stock myself up with pens, pencils, rapidographs, inks, paints, lettering stencils, etc, that I still have and use today.

Among my memories I knew I had a Rotring Art Pen, that I found again a while ago, washed it with soft detergent & warm water, rinsed, and dried with hair dryer, it works perfectly!
Now you can see me on the bus, lettering away:

I also found that I’m not the only one that loves the Art Pen, and the blog Making a mark has a great post dedicated to it.

*The ornament on the side of this post is from the font Floralia by Manfred Klein.

By |October 24th, 2008|Categories: Book Design|Tags: , |Comments Off on CALLIGRAPHY TO GO with ROTRING ART PEN

FINAL COVER for THE IMPERFECT ENJOYMENT

After very few changes we arrived to the final design for the full cover!

*The ornament on the side of this post is from the font Zapf Dingbats designed in 1977 by Hermann Zapf.

By |October 8th, 2008|Categories: Book Design|Tags: , , |3 Comments

THE (im)PERFECT ENJOYMENT of BOOK DESIGN

AS A BOOK DESIGNER, I BELIEVE I HAVE THE BEST JOB ON EARTH. I love books. I enjoy reading. I love the feeling of the images coming out of my mind while reading a book that I will design. I love the process of the words entering the thought stream, turning on the machine and getting the book translated into images, colors, letterforms.

A few weeks ago we got the manuscript to design the book cover & page layout of The Imperfect Enjoyment: A Bachelor’s Memoir by Dewan W. Gibson. That title lends itself to so many design possibilities.

I printed the manuscript and after non-stop reading & laughing for hours at Dewan’s adventures, I came up with a cover. I actually came up with several more but in the end Dewan chose that first one. Here you see the cover and the spine:

The design of the book cover

The thought that led to the cover was ‘what is an imperfection?‘: maybe something that looks perfect but it is not. At a glance, getting “I’m perfect” instead of “imperfect” is itself an imperfection.

The idea of something sexual behind the title relates to the book and is kind of like a ‘peep show’ as a metaphor for the memoir: the people by reading it are ‘peeping’ into the author’s life.

Last but not least, the typography: I chose Emigre’s Brothers because it has that reminiscence of typical college fonts (where a lot of the action takes place in the book) but it is quite more daring & works great to give that feel of excess that I was looking for.

*The word-logo on the side of this post is from the font Brothers Word Logos by Emigre

By |September 30th, 2008|Categories: Book Design|Tags: , , , |11 Comments

BOOK COVER DESIGN: FEARLESS DECISION

We are working on the cover for FEARLESS BEAUTY -a spiritual path to the true you – by author Kenetia Paige. Having narrowed down to 4 covers, now is time to decide.

Which one would you choose?


& here my fave, wich is out of the race…

> so, what’s next? after choosing a mock-up, we will keep working on it to get to the final cover.
That is, to produce some variations on the same cover until all the elements work -usually some title variants, colors, positioning, even the image may change, we may add or take some element.
And then, the details -image retouch, transparencies, shadows, borders, etc.-
Spine & back are always in mind, but graphically may step in at different times during the process, sometimes earlier, sometimes later.

*The crown ornament on the side of this post is from the free font Crowns & Coronets by Emerald City Fontwerks

By |September 17th, 2008|Categories: Book Design, e-book design|Tags: , , |8 Comments

THE DESIGN PROCESS for a BOOK & more

I find the design process really interesting, maybe more than the finished work.
Why? (just my point of view) Because during that collaborative process between designer & (ideally) author is where the visual personality of the book will be defined.

PART I: The Book Cover


We get the manuscript for the design of the book cover, layout & website for A Worthy Legacy by author Tomi Akinyanmi.

A Worthy Legacy is a story about life and the passing of wisdom from one generation to the next. The author combines the last wise words of her beloved grandfather together, along with a few of her own thoughts to create a compelling story about real life.

Read the manuscript

From just a glance, the overall feel of the book should come out.

Then look for the voice: my starting point for every book is the belief that authors write books because they have something to say. By reading a manuscript, I need to find what it is that they had to say, who says it, how it is said, & from which point of view.

Sooner or later (usually very soon) some details are revealed, and often I find in those little details the key to the cover.

Reading A Worthy Legacy I learned that the author, originally from Nigeria now living in the U.S., tells many insights about the Yoruba Tribe, which totally fascinated me… & gave the book the ‘unique’ factor.
So from the reading I jump to images: search for the graphic elements – images, textures, color palette, etc – that relate to the book:

From there I get the first round of covers to send to the author, and since the first cover was my favorite, I’ve done also an option in a lighter color. Maybe I was trying to persuade? 🙂

Part II: The author’s feedback & second round of covers.

*The miscellanea on the side of this post is from the font Wingdings2 designed in 1992 by Bigelow & Holmes for Microsoft.

By |September 10th, 2008|Categories: Book Design|Tags: , , , |4 Comments

CALLIGRAPHY at HOME

As a part of my later calligraphic incursion I got THE ENCYCLOPEDIA of CALLIGRAPHY TECHNIQUES by Hardy Wilson.
I have to say here that this is one of those cases that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover: it looked kinda like a simple craft’s book, but had really good reviews, so I decided to go for it. I never imagined that it would be so good. Really useful layout, easy to follow instructions, great examples of the different styles & tools.

Most importantly, it clearly shows the ductus, which indicates the movements of the hand to get the precious shape:

I couldn’t decide which tool to try first, which style, whatever the ductus… started to mix & match: inks, brushes, nibs, pencil. From the first round here are the vowels that I’ve drawn:

Later that night, watching TV, I couldn’t stop even while listening to a very inspiring speech:
I have a dream

*The ornament on the side of this post is from the free font Schluss Vignetten by Dieter Steffmann

By |September 6th, 2008|Categories: Book Design|Tags: , |2 Comments