Sunday, August 8, 2010

about book design

About Book Design is . . . well . . . about book design. A new forum for anyone interested in publication design, whatever that comes to mean in our shiny, bright ipad world.

I am Sandy Cull, a freelance book designer based in Melbourne, Australia. Since leaving the comfort and relative safety of a buzzing design studio in a large publishing house, it's become apparent that there's not much communication between the many individuals within the publishing industry. We're all beavering away in a front room somewhere or sharing studio spaces and offices and bashing away at the keyboard. Alas, we're not getting together much to collaborate, or discuss, to refer work, to inspire, to congratulate or to educate. I spoke with a number of designers and publishers at this years Sydney Writers Festival and specifically, at the APA Book Design Awards back in May, and all of you without exception, were keen to get something happening along these lines. So . . . About Book Design is born.

Share your thoughts and your observations, invite each other to exhibitions or events, create some dialogue for debate and reflection. Ask questions about contracts, copyright, fees, finishes, contacts. Please feel free to contribute and comment here in any way that you think would be of interest and let me know if you'd like to post something. It's a hugely exciting time in the industry – there is simply so much going on and so much to ponder. Illustrators, educators, photographers, designers, animators, typesetters, librarians, literary agents, editors, publishers, authors, printers, book makers, book readers, book sculptors, book lovers, book tragics, welcome to you all.

To start the ball rolling, I thought I'd acknowledge a fab new cover that I saw today for young readers. Published by Pan Mac, it's called Graffiti Moon and designed by Melanie Fedderson from i2i design. My 11 year old gave it a huge thumbs up too.

I also thought I'd like to refer you to a youtube many of you may have already seen showing the ipad app of Alice in Wonderland.

And Wired magazine has also released it's first few digital releases of it's mag specifically designed for the ipad – each for $4.99. It took me about 12 minutes to download a 500mg file of the first issue onto the ipad and it was worth the wait. There's lot of negative press about the ipad. You've heard it all, but if this isn't a revolution in publishing then I don't know what is. Wired for the ipad is a one stop shop. Still with all the traditional magazine content, including some of the best illustration and photography around, but it's now enhanced with stop-animation, short film, multi-layered captions, music samples, direct downloads, links to websites and instant language translation to name but a few features. And, thankfully, not every page is animated. Judicious restraint can't be underestimated in design and the digital Wired design makes for a perfectly paced media experience.

Make sure you have a squizz if you haven't already. What do you think?


  1. Nice first, chinwag, Sandy. I am a follower so I'm looking forward to lots more good reading. There's seems to have been one of the seismic shifts in cover designs and we're on new path. I was thinking this in response to Cath Crowley's Graffiti Moon in your blog. (Go Cath!) Not in the same genre but I'm thinking it's coming from somewhere near the same shift in sensibility: PS Andrew looked very dashing in the Age.

  2. Fantastic Sandy, Debra passed the link on. I was only discussing something similar with a couple of other designers last week. There's been a real lack of somewhere for us all to 'congregate' and freelancing can be so isolating sometimes, some days I love it, other days I really miss the inhouse banter! Thank goodness for the internet! Thanks for putting it out there :) I'll pass the link on to some designers who might be interested if that's ok with you!

  3. I've passed on too Sandy. Nice work xJ

  4. For those with iPads... check out FlipBoard. There's going to be heaps of these kind of apps/webapps in the future that aggregate rss feeds and re-present them like this.

  5. Hi Sandy, Sorry for the I'm trying to get in touch with you about an article commission for WQ magazine ( but your gogoginko email address isn't working. If you'd like to contact me, please email me at Hope to hear from you soon.