Sunday, September 4, 2011

Irresistible Book Design

For the last couple of months, Chong, Virginia Murdoch, Jenny Grigg and I have been preparing for our panel discussion, Irresistible Book Design that was on at the MWF yesterday. Chong raised the challenge weeks ago that we do something more than discuss the work of various designers over their career in the traditional print context. We decided thus, that what was irresistible about book design right now was the need to find some answers about the digital context. We hoped the audience would walk away with some new information and be inspired about the future present.

We started the discussion off with Jenny talking about the extremely high standard of book production in Australia, and whether there will still be a demand for this in the very near future. Short answer, YES.

Virginia followed on from there talking about how the printed page currently occurs in the ePub format and that publishers mostly treat this as just an add-on to the traditional process. She recommended robust collaboration between web and print designers.

Chong finished in eloquent style, somehow able to cover the huge amount going on the digital context; future proofing, book apps, identity packages, book trailers. He concluded that book designers may need a few more tools in their kit box to ensure that a books design can retain it's integrity across multiple formats, but ultimately we'll continue to design books so that readers will want to read them.

Thank you to all of those that have shared their knowledge and expertise with us over the last couple of months. We've only uncovered the tip of the iceberg but this sharing of information is critical in the industry and I hope it comes back to you in spades. Thank you to Virginia, Chong and Jenny for your time and effort within already overloaded schedules.

I said I would post some useful links here so people could access them easily. The APA will do something similar on their website and are very keen to hear from designers about what it is you want from the APA with regard to training, discussion and support.

Any comments, feedback and information is as always greatly appreciated.

Some useful links

About the panelists

General publishing/design

Art of the book

Digital/Future proofing


  1. Thanks for organising a thought-provoking panel discussion, Sandy. It was great to hear some perspectives on how book design can evolve - though I was happy to hear Jenny talking about the continued viability of gorgeous print work, too :)

    I've written about some of the thoughts I took away from the discussion, and included the links to web design / adaptable layout articles I mentioned to you after the session on Sunday:

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