Our brief asked us to design a book about Brexit, both the cover and the inside, so a non-fiction book. I was super excited about this concept because books are one of my biggest passions. Our first meeting with Catherine we had a workshop where we were designing the way the words and layout of the page could be altered to create imagery within the writing, Catherine showed us some examples of poetry that did this, which was really inspiring. The workshop was really great and was a really good way to explore different ways of laying words on a page.
I threw myself into researching interesting and different ways of laying out books that make for exciting reading. I spent some time in the library looking at books ON book design and my eyes were really opened to the huge amount of creativity that goes into designing a book. My only previous experience of a book that has been completely graphically redesigned is the novel "House of Leaves" by Mark Danielewski which was one of my favourite books purely for the complete madness of the layout.
My research into book design led me into further research of the Penguin classics and their famous orange colour. I turned to a lot of my own books for inspiration, particularly on the layout and design of the first few pages which I really wanted to get right. Penguin have so many identities of their books that there was quite a diverse selection to help inspire me when it came to the layout design.
Throughout my project I had been taking notes for research ideas and also to note down feedback that I could then work from to develop my ideas further. I got some great feedback from Catherine and from my classmates. I knew I had a long way to go with my cover, as I wasn't entirely sure which direction I wanted to go in yet. I experimented with trying out a cover with a classic Penguin feel, but as Catherine rightly said, it ended up making the book look dated and it didn't at all look like a modern text. I also got some great notes on how to improve my layout of the inside of my book.
I found this book cover that I loved, and that I wanted to use as inspiration for my cover. The book is "Darwin Deleted" by Peter Bowler, and the book cover has got images of Darwin's finches cut out so they're missing. I loved the representation of loss, and I thought the idea would be appropriate for this project. I wanted to use a really stark bare cover with the shape of Britain cut out so you could just see a hint of the shape of the country, representing the sense of loss that the country may now be experiencing now that Britain is no longer a part of the EU.
I cut out two sizes of Britain on white paper and played around with it creating shadows and outlines or backlighting it, and photographing it. I took loads of photos so I had a huge selection to work with to pick the best one for my cover. I was originally going to have the small cut out on the front cover, but the large one I thought was really striking so I went with that one instead.
My first cover concept I wasn't quite happy with as I thought it needed to be a little bit more eye-catching. But I was happy with how the photo worked, and that I was more sure of my concept for the cover since my initial designs.
I was really pleased with the feedback I received at our hand-in because as I mentioned I really wanted to do well on this particular project. I got some great advice from Catherine on a few final touches to the inside of the book and some suggestions to improve the cover which I then worked on in the week following up from our final Friday class.
This was definitely one of the projects I enjoyed most. I really threw myself into it, and it has really re-awoken my desire to work in the publishing industry. I took into account all the feedback I got from our last class with Catherine and I'm happy with the changes I made. She made some good points about the font choice and the 'peachy' tone the cover had so I made sure I addressed that. Then my biggest edit for the inside was to have a consistency for the height of my line on my half title and title page, so I echoed that in the contents page and with the page numbers throughout to really bring it together and give it a more coherent feel to the design.