Reflections: Creative Book Design Part 2

I've received my feedback from Part 2 of Creative Book Design, and it's been some of the most rewarding reassurance that I'm on the right track that I've had so far! As usual I'll be reflecting on what my tutor has said about my work here with a focus on constructive points for improvement that I can take forward.

Overall Comments

"Overall your visual response to the first part of the course has been extremely thorough with a very high standard of supporting contextual and technical research. This all demonstrates a really iterative design process where research is informing your work throughout the various stages."

I'm really glad my efforts are appreciated in how thorough I like to be when I dive into a subject. Sometimes this can go the other way and I can lose focus by diving too deep into a particular area and neglecting others, but on this occasion I'm happy to see that the balance is working.

"You have taken on board my previous comments and worked hard on enhancing all aspects of your design process. Well done with tackling this."

I have made a conscious effort to make sure all the stages of my design process we appropriately explored for this part, so it is affirming that this has been recognised in my results.

"Your blog is a joy to look at with all the exercises and the assignment shown in a clear and professional manner."

I'm glad my blog is being well received as I really feel that it's important to my work, not just as the written documentation of my creative explorations but also as an integral part of the process. My end goal with each exercise or assignment is to present my thoughts clearly as an extension of my visual and written communication skills.

Exercise 2.2: Paper and Binding Choices

"You have shown very thorough research for Ex2.2 Paper and Binding Choices to aid you with future design decision making. This is very clearly shown on your blog. You have then applied this research to the construction of your own swatch book using the book posts for the Research Task: Paper and Bookbinding. This works very well."

Exercise 2.3: Book Designers

"Putting your designer research, for Ex2.3 Book Designers, in one document works very well as a method of making comparisons across all your selections. For the whole of this exercise you have produced written work of a high standard. It is really interesting to read about your selections."

Exercise 2.4: Designing a Cover

"Your visual research for Ex2.4 Designing a Cover and Assignment 2 show how research is integral to your design process. This is great to see. You have also used Ex2.4 as research with regards to the design process that you followed and this is a smart move that has really helped the development of Assignment 2. Keep this up in subsequent exercises and assignments."

This exercise turned out to be very important for me as trying new techniques for initial ideas that lead to further success in the idea stage for the following assignment.

Assignment 2: Form and Function

"Your sand experiments for Assignment 2 are showing an appropriately creative approach to your cover design. Your type experimentation for the Survival Guide also shows a good level of creativity."
"You have demonstrated technical skills where you have applied found images to your cover designs. It is far more visually exciting though when you start to experiment with sand and objects."

I fully agree with this, and I definitely had the most fun using practical props to stage my own photography. I can't always do this as it depends on my timeframe and access to relevant materials and environments for a project, but I will make efforts to create my own images as often as I can.

"Be careful when using white type on a pale background (sand) as this can create legibility issues."

This is a fair observation that I had also noticed after sharing and reflecting on my work after assignment 2. When using pale text on a pale background, I usually try and compensate with drop shadows or outlines, but sometimes it may be better for me to also try other colour or font options too.

"Your technical skills have also been applied to the consideration of foiled elements for the deluxe cover. This has been mocked up well showing the cover and the decorative end-papers. The compass on the rock in the sand works very well for Cover 2 and it really makes us want to pick the compass up. That is a good way of engaging the viewer. The survival guide has a suitable and rugged feel about it."

Atmosphere for each title to draw the potential reader in was something that I focussed on a lot for this assignment, and I'm glad the messages and intentions I had with each cover have come across well.

Action points

"Keep up this improved design process where you are exploring a number of ideas and layouts and using a variety of media before you move on to final decisions."

This has been a breakthrough for me this section and something I fully intent to try and maintain. Casting a wider net of initial ideas and letting the best qualities of each one coalesce is a really positive improvement to my process.

"Your photographs recording your design process work very well on your blog so keep doing that too."
"Try and use your own imagery / photographs wherever possible. It is great that in Assignment 2 you did not stop at the point where you used sourced imagery."

Original images are the most rewarding to work with and I'm keen to stretch my photography legs so long wherever I have access to relevant materials subjects and environments to use in my own work.

In addition to what my tutor has recommended as I move into exploring Image and Type in Part 3, I also want to set myself my action point to balance my time better. Although I'm very pleased with my work so far, my submission of part 2 was long overdue and I want to avoid this trend in future parts so I can finish the overall unit comfortably.

For anyone studying from home it can be a tricky balancing act between learning and other commitments in my life, but eventually I want to be able to refine my process enough to produce work of professional quality without pushing against or exceeding my deadlines.