Saturday, January 05, 2008

book design


Book design. I know nothing about it. Looking back at the three previous PDF portfolios I've put together, not only do I know nothing about it, but I'm obviously terrible at it. Embarrassingly, painfully bad. I can see that those first efforts are ghastly, but I'm not aware enough to know why, or how to fix it. For grins, here are links to my first three folio/ book attempts - that mostly look like the bad powerpoint presentations that they are. I did find a good book on Safari yesterday and got through the first half last night. The Non-Designer's Design Book by Robin Williams doesn't claim to be teaching good book design but it at least has taught me some of the fundamentals and opened my eyes to be able to see what is wrong. I think that's the first big step - if I know it isn't good and can identify what's wrong, I'm on the path to finding out how to make it look better. The book is based around the fantastically unfortunate set of four steps. Contrast, Repetition, Alignment and Proximity are the keys that good design is unlocked with. The first half of the book demonstrates how these four elements combine to improve layout and simplify design. The second half delves into aspects of typography and font selection. The CRAP principles seem easy enough to apply and more than that, my eye is now a bit more sensitive to what is actually needed to improve a design. I've taken my first few steps in understanding the language of book design, at least.


Julia said...

Hey, neat! I studied design quite a bit in high school. I was in journalism for three years, and our class published the school newspaper and the yearbook.

Layout design is definitely a different skill than photography, eh?

I loved a bunch of those death valley shots!!