Book Advice

I spoke with Jonathan Worth on Wednesday and I shown him my book I have designed on my Mac. The discussion turned to these points:

  1. Why not an iBook?
  2. Needs more images
  3. Design needs addressing
  1. I have decided against an iBook for the exhibition because I don’t want to have an experience that somebody could experience at home. However, I have thought that I could have an iBook anyway, which means that I could remove more text and include videos and audio to accompany the pictures. This would bring the project to life indeed. I emailed Jon Rodger about doing an iBook, because of the Copyright, and he said that he’s happy for me to do one which is pleasing. I hope that I can have an iBook linked to my website for the exhibition opening.
  2. I would love to include more images to the book; however, it is deciding what is appropriate that is an issue: I want the book to have a clear purpose and narrative. The idea is that the viewer gets deeper into the archive, seeing things that perhaps they don’t recognise. So far I have 56 pages with 31 images. I think I would like to add perhaps 4 more images. I must remember that the book is in an exhibition space and so I don’t want to have a book so long that it requires 30 minutes to read through it.
  3. I understand that the text is an issue because it is written from recordings of Jinx, which does make the book ‘silent’ so to speak. The software to design the book doesn’t have the best fonts and so I decided to make the page size in photoshop and make the text into an image. I chose Helvetica because it is a contemporary, popular font that is also neat and clear. I feel that this has worked out in my favour.


On Thursday I spoke with Chantal Riekel who has had experience with designing books.

  1. Background
  2. Pictures bleeding over the two pages


  1. The background or pages are defaulted to white; however, Chantal thought that this made it clinical and very flat; I hadn’t thought about it too much, but I agreed. There are background presets in the software, but they have strange artificial looking textures which I know would be printed and not change the physical touch of the book. I custom made my own in photoshop using layers to adjust the colour to great one I liked. I added these to the backgrounds and it has made a significant improvement.
  2. Chantal was not sure about how many of the pictures which are full bleed on one page spill over the spine of the book; however I explained that this is because many of the pictures do not work side by side either aesthetically or conceptually. Therefore, having one picture for every two pages made it seem as though there was a lot of white space giving the impression there is less than there is. However, changing the background colour suited the spilling bleed further.


I emailed Moshe Caine who helped Joel Kantor create the Dear Robert iBook. He responded with these questions for me to consider:

1. Who is the book aimed at?

2. What is its purpose? I.e. Is it designed to be informative, emotional, …

3. Is it going to be published or is this a “one off” production?

4. Are you aiming for print only or also a digital version?

5.what has governed your choice of content, both visual and textual?

6. Is there a narrative structure to the book?

7. Is it presented in first person (by you)? and if so, why?

8. Is this the entire book or just a teaser? It seems rather short at this stage.

9. The style/quality of your photos give the feel of one personally browsing through the archive, rather than a objective presentation of the archive itself. Is that the intention?

10. I’m not too sure about the A4 layout. It rather limits the visual content. Have you tried other formats or is this a limitation of the software? ….. By the way, what software are you using?

I have found these insights extremely important in the decision making behind my book.

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