What goes into the final cover design?
For any project - once we have agreed a brief either with the author and/or the publisher I will find out what the budget is available for the cover design and illustration/photography (if needed) and of course the timing for the production schedule.
The design and production process varies from book to book - each project by the nature of the publishing industry has to have it's own identity - even when it is in a series. I like to work closely with the author and/or publisher to understand the book and to identify its market. This involves conversations, sketches, ideas and concept roughs, it can also involve sourcing illustrators, photographers or picture research. Once these roughs are done and approved by the publisher, author and sometimes by the big book buyers like Smiths the final visual is commissioned and the final print file is prepared.
The process is very similar with the design of an entire book text - it is just the collaboration continues through the whole book at all stages. There also is often a project editor who is working on the text, sourcing a good proofreader and indexer. It is vital that the book goes through the editing process as a fresh set of eyes over the text can help polish the text by ironing out any inconsistencies in content or grammar. It is also vital that the designer and project editor work well together as this makes the overall production process so much better.
The process of turning a manuscript into a book is a creative collaboration which means that everyone needs to communicate with one another to ensure a smooth flow of ideas and workflow.
You have worked on many high profile books. Can you fill us in on the process?
I also have worked with Ray Mears on his six books since 2001. I work closely with the author on the picture selection process and the allocation of image to text. I then design the book for Ray and the publisher's approval. The trick working with Ray is that he is out of the country so much that access to him can be very limited during the design and production process. Over the years we have built an understanding of how to get round this - occasionally getting calls on GPS phone from the Arctic Circle!
On one of the private press projects that is a tribute to Ian Stuart, the first keyboard player with the Rolling Stones, I art directed and designed the entire project including the binding working closely with the publisher. This project took 2 years to produce and sold at £595 per book for an edition of 950 - when the collector is paying over a £1 a page production values are exceedingly high Including six-colour working, sealer coats, leather binding, hand marbled end-papers and a leather bound slip case. The project also included a specially drawn print by Ronnie Wood in a separate portfolio.
Next post will be more from the Diary of a Designer's Dog