Sunday, June 27, 2010

Latest blank book project

Super-busy couple of months here at blue bluer headquarters. House-hunting, then a 2-week hiatus in Spain visiting friends, followed by the successful conclusion to house-hunting, house-buying, moving house, and settling into house. This Friday marked one month in our new home, and while there are still plenty of piles of boxes, there are also plenty of signs of progress.

In the midst of all that, I did manage to finish one book project. It was a blank book commissioned by a friend’s company, for the retirement of one of their longstanding designers. It’s a chocolate company, and they ordered a blank book to be displayed at a trade show for the employee’s colleagues to sign and wish her well.

Their one design request was for me to incorporate some of the company's classic advertisements into it. I ended up featuring two of the ads on the front & back covers, and then added the remaining ten or so onto pages inside the book. A problem with blank books like this - meant to be signed by co-workers or wedding guests or whomever – is that they end up looking empty. When you create the book you have to give it enough pages for it to feel substantial, but there’s really only so much that people are going to write in it. So you often end up with a 48-page book that only has writing on the first 4 pages. For this particular one, I could alleviate the problem by including the extra advertisements on alternating pages inside. It gave visual interest to an otherwise blank book, but still left plenty of room for peoples’ contributions.

Overall I was pleased with the final product, especially considering it was done during the chaos of packing & moving. This was the last book I made in our previous home at Roads End – a truly special place deep in the woods of North Chatham County. Even as we enjoy the start of our experience as first-time homeowners, and we enjoy being back in town within walking distance of groceries and beer, we definitely miss it.

But back to the book. I loved the way the cover paper performed. It was a fairly heavy, stiff lokta paper, so I was concerned that it would overreact to the moisture in the glue and warp the covers. To compensate for that (and the overall heft of the book), I doubled the thickness of the boards. In the end it worked fine, and the rich brown paper gave the book an appropriately chocolaty feel. A complementary bright red lokta paper served to frame the cover images nicely, and also made a good wrapper for the book as a finishing touch.

The paper I used for the inner pages was also heavier than what I usually use. Instead of Mohawk Superfine I used a medium weight Arches paper, which was a little thicker and less likely to let ink bleed through. The weight & texture gave the book a much more luxurious feel. Also to that end, I tore the paper for all of the pages by hand, giving them a satisfying ragged edge.

Next week we get serious about converting our new garage into a studio. Before and after photos will be coming soon, and after that, many new books!