Monday, 26 October 2009

Diary of a designer's dog 2

On social networking 
and other ramblings…

I must admit to being a little overwhelmed with the reaction to my first blog. Being a true net hound I set up a Twitter account to tweet about my blog (@DesignersDog). I have got followers from all over the world including the Kennel Club, Young Kennel Club and Cesar Millan (Ned the Designer always tries to have calm energy - he says!) and many others, not bad for a Dogs Trust mutt from Leeds. 

Of course Ned the Designer is also pleased with my blog as it directed quite a lot of traffic to his website. I have heard of this thing called pay-per-click - but I am not sure if it can be applied in biscuits - negotiations continue.

I tweeted about my blog and loads of my followers read it. Apparently this is called social networking - I suppose being a dog I should have a Digg account - must look into that! 

Other stuff going on - Ned the designer has been out at meetings a lot this week and keeps going to a place called Leeds - not as exciting as my leads, but seems to make him happy. 

Apparently he Ned the Designer is involved with another company as well, a virtual communications agency called The Big Ideas Collective. He works with with 8 other creatives and they all help companies communicate with their customers and generate new business. They do everything from online to print communications - I think I will offer my services as social networking guru - it would seem mean not to! 

I will blog again soon in the meantime - here is an Eddie Izzard clip explaining the difference between cats and dogs - it is Eddie Izzard so be careful when you play it 

Many thanks to all my followers and Mac fans. 

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Saturday, 17 October 2009

An interview with Ned by Gary @Bubblecow - part 1

Here is the first part of an interview done for Bubblecow's company newsletter - Bubblecow provides professional editorial services needed to help lift a book to a publishable standard.

Tell us a bit about you and your company...

I started as a graphic designer at 15 while still at school and was given the opportunity to design the covers for a national puzzle magazine. I got the bug for seeing my work in the shops then and have never lost it. I continued to complete school and then go on to art school where I took my degree in graphic design with specialism of lettering and typography at Exeter College of Art. All through college I took on freelance jobs. After college I moved back to London where I was given my first break by the art director of Sphere Books who took me on as a junior cover designer on the basis of my experience. While at Sphere I designed covers for the Sphere and Abacus imprints for authors including; Danielle Steele, Craig Thomas; John Simpson, Anthony Burgess and Christopher Hope; designed publicity material and exhibition stands for London and Frankfurt Bookfairs. 

When Sphere was taken over by Penguin I was head-hunted by a publishing design agency, Slatter-Anderson to be their senior designer and studio manager. While at Slatter-Anderson I designed covers, promotional POS and exhibitions for some of the major publishers including Century, Hutchinson and Hodder & Stoughton. After about 18 months I decided to leave and work full-time for my own company 2h design. 2h has since designed for many of the major publishers and booksellers including; Transworld, Chatto & Windus, Bodeley Head, Headline, Chapmans, Michael O'Mara, Quarto, Foyles, Waterstones, Hatchards, Orion and Nick Hern Books. In the last 15 years 2h has also expanded into designing entire integrated books for major publishers, private press editions and self-publish projects working from book concept and art direction through to final print ready files including pre-press and production management.

What happens when a publisher approaches you?
I sometimes work from a manuscript, or even before the full manuscript exists, to final print ready book files and others design the cover and the book text, others it is either the book text or the cover. At whatever stage I start work on a project I work on developing the books individual identity. This can involve working with the author or publisher to understand their vision, or negotiating another solution if the author and publisher are going in different directions. 

One of the skills of a designer in the book publishing industry is to understand the production process and to know at what stage you have been brought in. Once this is established it is a case of defining the brief and the scope of what I am doing on the project and away we go. These days I design a minimum of 75 covers a year sometimes many more depending on the number of book texts are scheduled. Around the two major book fairs each year I also do a lot of presentation work for proposed projects this normally includes a cover and two or three spreads to be sold at the various rights meetings that happen at the fairs, if these projects go live I then get involved with designing the entire package.

Next post will be more from the Diary of a Designer's Dog

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Thursday, 8 October 2009

Diary of a designer's dog 1

By way of a general introduction. I am a Mac (not a PC) - some brightspark though this was a good idea to name me after a computer - could have been worse could have been called Dell.  

Ned, the designer, designs these books which are really good to chew, I prefer the paperbacks 'cos the hardbacks are too heavy to carry out into the garden to shred especially the private press editions. Sometimes he does the covers, sometimes he does the whole books and other times he does presentations of books which don't exist yet - no good for me I can't chew these.

Over the summer Ned designed a book with Ray Mears called Northern Wilderness it's about Canada. Not sure if there was any connection but he took Katy and me camping. He took me from my normal warm house to a field where I was expected to sleep in a big plastic bag which was held up with these really tasty things called guy ropes - apparently these are not for chewing either. Honestly, my life is beset with petty rules. 

I wonder if every project he designs will have an effect on my life? 

Apparently he designs for all sorts of people including authors, rock stars, rally drivers, artists, actors and all sorts. He likes working closely with people to get the final books as good as he can and has worked with some people for a very long time so it must be OK. 

Every now and again he goes to work with someone for a few days. Leaving me here with Alison the mosaic artist and Katy - which is also fun - will explain more about them in the future.

All-in-all as a Dog's Trust mutt I seem to have fallen on my feet - more news soon


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