Books and books

Hello!

Been a long time, hasn’t it? Did you wonder what had happened to me? hmm? Did you fret that I’d vanished? Of course you did, you sentimental old fool, you. You love a bit of it.

Any way, down to business. I’m afraid, in my neglect, you’ve not seen the book project taking shape. I may very well be able to remedy that for this week, as I create an accompanying document for handing in on friday.

Today, I showed Michael the copy of the book I intend to send to D&AD. His feedback on it was a huge help and confidence boost. I was fretting that the story I’d laid out was not entirely clear, and that my idea of attempting to translate things that happened to me on the internet would not translate well to a number of illustrations – but without spoon feeding from me he was able to quickly garner was was going and form a critical response. Without blabbing on endlessly about what was good and bad, he did raise some flags which must be responded to. These are as follows:

Paper Color
Quality of the product
Font and alignment of text

Paper colour
Michael mentioned that the paper the book was printed on was ‘too white.’ Now, that might sound silly, and it didn’t immediately make sense to me, but upon his producing of a magazine and comparing the colours of the paper, all became clear. The paper was indeed, very very bright. This is not a problem for the pages with the illustrations on of course, but the pages with text on, in his opinion were a touch harder to read than he would have liked.
Its something that I had not considered in the creation of the book, as I always thought of paper is paper and that’s that – it’s not. O f course it’s not. The colour of the paper, even if it is the tiniest different shade of white, can make a significant difference in terms of accessibility.
This led to me taking a trip down to the print room here at city college (which i only found about today – the colleges best kept secret, it seems!) to have a word about different types of paper. Sadly, it seems the stock they are using is recycled, and rather thin. The same paper as we have here in our work room. Its not as white, sure, but the thickness is going to cause a problem if i did decide to reprint as the text or images would show through. That would look even less professional than the result I currently have from the mouslecoombe printers.
That said, I’ve spoken to Beth and Kristos and everyone seems to have different story when it comes to the print rooms services, limitations and such. It doesn’t make it very clear for when I’m trying to make a decision whether to reprint and remake my book.

Quality of product
I’m fairly pleased with the quality of the product. It’s hand made by myself. The pages are sewn together, and glued to card and other craft paper that I’ve bought and cut. It’s not something that I’ve done before, and on the face of it seemed like a mighty challenge, but in practice was actually very straightforward. However, the hand made quality doesn’t really fit in with the work I’ve done before. My work is generally all digital, and when I have had things printed I’ve had them made professionally and, yeah – it’s cost me more money but I’ve been pleased with the results. It seems important for this project to actually hand make the item though. It’s a book about me so…I should make , I think. Even though there is the worry that the product will not look like something you would purchase in a shop.
At the print shop I visited today I asked about binding, and they said that they can do it with a wire ring binder and a plastic cover – but that’s really not going to be suitable. Not for what is really supposed to be an art book. Quite a personal article shouldn’t really be dressed up in plastics which are far more suited to formal documents. It would just look wrong, I think. So that’s another mark against reprinting. A plus would be that they said they can shave off the little white borders that I’m currently getting with my prints. An unavoidable side-effect, apparently, of the limitations of printers.

Font and alignment of text
Michael asked about the relevance of the arial black font choice, and I attempted to explain the the font is synonymous with my design. In general. Its a font I always use, and people that have seen my work identify the font with me. Does that make sense? That’s the reason for the choice, as opposed to using a font that is perhaps more likely to be found in book of this kind, some thing like the regular arial – which does make an appearance in the book toward the end, the relevance being that it mimics the font in online blog posts. Er, like this one!
As for the alignment, I had to defend my decisions once again, as I’ve centred the text on each of the pages. This again, is unconventional, and Michael found it jarring. My view is – if he, or anyone is to look at the book and question or react to the text in any way other than ‘yeah, that’s fine.’ then there is a problem. I always thought that if you actively notice the design of something like text, then there is an issue of some kind. But yeah, like I say, the text has been aligned, coloured and the font chosen for specific purposes, which may have to be highlighted in the document that accompanies the book when i send it to D&AD.

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~ by traumatron on March 10, 2008.

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