Even though research into Virginia Woolf wasn’t specifically asked of us it made great influence on my work. As well as learning more about a literary icon, I was also able to take inspiration from her writing process and era in which she lived. Even some features which would probably go unnoticed to most, such as the wallpaper design for ‘A Room of One’s Own’ containing plants traditionally used to help combat mental health issues like those that Woolf faced, were still important to make the designs more authentic and representative of the author.
In future projects I aim to make better use of websites like Pinterest which can act as great image reference material, particularly within historical contexts.
Book Design Process
Though a challenging project, I enjoyed the creative process of editing and refining designs for my book jackets. A big factor I was concerned with for this particular task was the element of creating a good unifying feeling for a complete series. Feedback I received for my last project in first year – I created a series of redesigned film covers – was that my series lacked a sense of relationship between each other, so I was really conscious to improve this this time.
I put my digital skills to the test, as my intention of combining traditional styles in a modern context meant I relied on Photoshop to edit my covers without destructing from a painterly & drawn style.
I went through lots of changes in design and compositions for my pieces, which was tiring but I’m glad I pushed on through.
I considered putting the penguin logo, as well as the ‘Penguin 80’ logo – for their 80th anniversary – on the front and back covers, however u felt that it made the compositions too busy. I instead opted for the logo in the spine, and ‘Penguin Books’ written on the back as I think it looks more professional and simple. Another option I considered was altering the logo itself to a simplified outline using the same off-white colour I used for my type. I really like the look of this, but was conscious that I do not own the logo artwork, so therefore I would not have the choice in industry to alter it. Nevertheless, I still felt it was interesting to experiment with all of my options.
I found it really tricky to choose between different paper types for my final designs as each had both pros and cons.
The basic cartridge paper gave a really nice matte finish, and there was next to no ghost image making the lines crisper. However, the colours were not very vibrant and the overall look didn’t feel very authentic to real book covers.
Next I tried paper I bought from Hobbycraft – 210gsm white card. The weight of this made the covers feel more solid, with a smoother printing quality. A major downside of heavier paper in general is that the printer struggles to bend the paper round its mechanism, so there was a bad ghost, especially noticeable around type. I tried different methods of this such as using alternate printing trays, but there was still a considerable blur which made the illustration look low quality.
The last paper I tried was my favourite – a glossy stock paper provided in the studio. The lighter weight of this meant there was less of a ghost, and the artwork has a nice sheen to it. The only downside to this is the colours look slightly different from both onscreen and other papers, but the designs still look fine as a set so it’s something I’m happy to overlook in this case. I assume that as this was readily available for the class at university, this is an acceptable paper for us to use for our final outcomes.
In the future I intend to print my test images on different types of paper so that I know early on what my final designs will look like, and I can adjust colour etc accordingly during the drawing process.
I experienced quite a number of problems with both printing and folding, but I now feel I’m much more experienced in both areas.
I thoroughly enjoyed the research portion of the project as I feel I excel in writing from information found in books and websites. I also loved having the opportunity to interview a family and extended family member for my presentation as it allowed me to learn more about their work and skills. Presentations are my forte and my PowerPoint went well on the day; though I spoke slightly too fast, as I wanted to make sure I didn’t run out of time, I believe I covered all the necessary topics and more.