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Exercise 1.4: Generating Ideas

Updated: Mar 16, 2021

This exercise was the first of several connected exercises that leaned more on the physical aspects of creative book design and I was first given a selection of book related sayings as prompts to choose from and generate ideas around.

  • Bookworms

  • A closed/open book

  • The oldest trick in the book

  • You can't judge a book by its cover

  • In someone's good/bad books

  • By the book

Some of these suggestions provoked a stronger rush of initial ideas than others so I chose Bookworms and You can't Judge a book by its cover to explore in my sketchbook by using biro as my preferred tool of choice for mind mapping and rough sketching.

I spent an hour working on each phrase in turn, starting with spider diagrams of all the words I could associate with them as I quickly noted down any connections that formed in my mind until I could fill the rest of the pages with visuals below.

Mind mapping and sketching ideas.


The typical impression I have of a bookworm is of either an avid reader who is perhaps geeky or academic in that way, or the more literal interpretation of an actual worm who is connected to reading in some form. I've previously seen other artists make some effective light-hearted interpretations of both, but I wanted to see if I could find any different approaches.

For some sketches I thought about other similar creatures to the worm through small sketches of caterpillar creatures physically made of books throughout its lifecycle stages, including a cosy book cocoon for the middle stage, with the fluttering of pages giving a book butterfly its wings. I also considered other concepts surrounding the habits of reading as an activity and where human bookworms would be found, snug in their personal libraries or beds using their reading glasses and blankets in places of comfort.

You can't judge a book by its cover

Not judging a book by its cover is an idiom made to teach us to not take things at face value. This could be anything that appears to us in one way but acts another when looked at more closely and the use of a book as an example is an effective comparison the cover or "face" of the book doesn't always tell you what is really inside.

There are lots of angles that I felt I could take with dualities relating to false judgement and doubt, then the actual reality of something being different to first expected when it is revealed. Because of this I didn't find the ideas as free flowing as I did when exploring Bookworms and in hindsight I can now see that I've shoehorned in the image of the book into all of my designs, when I don't feel it is always necessary for the metaphor. If I choose this prompt to move forward with in the next section. this is something that I would like to iterate on.


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