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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