Yesterday we visited Four Corners Books, (visit their website here). Each Anthology re-design group got to share their ideas and hear feedback from the industry professionals. We got some really helpful feedback and general advice. From my group, me and Hussein were the only members there, and I represented our group by presenting our ideas to the professionals. I took a lot of notes during the visit both on what they said about our plans and also about the other groups.
In general they stressed the importance of having a plan B. You should definitely have a wish list listing all the things you want to have in your design, but some things may be to expensive. Instead of them you might want to spend that money on something else (plan B).
Also you should consider the size of your book very carefully. Just a couple of millimeters difference in size may make a big difference in price and the economical use of paper. We don’t really know what size is the best choice and my group also wants to have wide margins in our deign, which increases the page number. So, to avoid paying too much, we could do two specs and ask for two quotes: one for wider margins and another for narrower margins. Then we could see what the difference in price and the number of pages would be.
Four Corners Books also encouraged us to be creative and innovative. They told us to be inspired by other publishing genres and think how we could apply some qualities from there into the Anthology book design. I thought we could use a magazine style narrow text columns in some texts because at least for me it is much more enjoyable to read text that is in multiple narrow columns rather than in one wide column.
An example of creative problem solving was a booklet that they sowed to us. They had put the credits into a spaceship shaped bright sticker. They said that a good trick is to try to deal with the boring information in a fun way. We could possibly, for example, do the uni logo as a sticker which could be placed wherever. They reminded us though that is you want to draw peoples attention to something, you should think about how, why, and what effect it has on the product or design as a whole. I thought that was a really good point to keep in mind. It sounds like an simple thing but it is really easy to get carried away and forget to think about the effects of different elements.
Cover is one thing that should be considered carefully. It is worth spending a lot of time on because it is the first thing that people see. The cover also affects the way people see view the content of the book.
The notes that were about my group specifically were about embossing and uncoated paper. We wanted to have an embossed cover but it will be way too expensive for our budget, as I was told. We should think about other ways that we could use to add interest. They also warned us about using too rough uncoated paper since it can be a nightmare to print on. I think we would like to use uncoated paper regardless, maybe we just have to be a bit more mindful about our choice.