So — I settled on Adobe InDesign to do the book design and layout. It wasn’t so much a “settling” as vague, barely competent experience with it. I used it *once before to do a little essay/booklet that was never printed, but was only ever expected to be a downloadable PDF called Design Fiction: A Short Essay on Design, Science, Fact and Fiction. For that, I spent most of a Christmas holiday break learning InDesign, writing the essay and laying it out — image and text.
I had no idea what I was doing from a graphic design/typography point of view but — whatever. Sometimes the less you know the better. Or, something.
The first round through the photography I had at the time was called the March 2011 Assembly because it was done in March. I won’t even show you that. It was pretty slip-shod, even though when I made it I was excited. I guess it got slip-shod after I shared it with some people who have lots more experience with book design — or graphic and type design generally — than I do. It’s roughly the structure you see in the image at the top. I liked it, but I guess I may’ve been off on the wrong foot — maybe. There was no formality to it. I sorta put images in where I thought they might go; used lorum ipsum text, which I thought was fine because I had no text, but then there was no text-to-image relationship, semantically speaking, although in my own defense I imagined the book consisting of sections and each section about one skater. I was defensive about that whole thing. How do you write in a photography book still plagues me and is mostly the reason why the next prototype will be a photography book in a more pure way. I’m not feeling particularly drawn to writing for this project. The creative contribution is the photographs as they are. A preface is nice. Maybe an afterword. Less yammering, more hammering. There. I’ve justified it to myself. It’s an official Near Future Laboratory theme for the year and I’m holding true to it. Aside from writing right now.
There was some learning to do, without a doubt. Maybe I was excited and a bit overwhelmed by all the material I had to work with. I mean — I’m trying to be humble, but I enjoy the photographs that I made with these girls. It gets to what I see in my mind’s eye and it’s exciting to be able to make that imaginary image real.
I began the knowledge and insight algorithm. I started collecting material and, when I could — going to exhibits and shows and all that.
But that may’ve gotten the best of me. There’s lots to learn. I feel like I’m back in school, which is fantastic and overwhelming. I want to make books.
For this particular book prototype, I basically rhymed the rough technical aspects — size, font and such — from my favorite (as of now) photo book which is Alec Soth’s From Here to There: Alec Soth’s America. It’s a lovely photography book that mixes essays, excerpts from blog posts and so on. I even sourced samples of the paper used in that book..cause I could cause of the internet.
I did my naive best to layout a photo book and it was exciting. I felt I had something here. I juxtaposed text and image somewhat arbitrarily — or without a system or grid, which were things I had no idea about.
I guess it was lousy. And it is, sorta. Although I have the layout still up on the wall to gander at.
After I got schooled on that bit, I started over once. And then I started over again. The first “do-over” was to try fussing around with a rational ordering of image and text, using a grid of some sort. I played with thirds. Three columns for text, and three image sizes. It was an experiment in thirds of things. You can see that in the image at top.
So — I used Blurb to print the prototype book. It’s convenient, fast, cheap — a bit over $70 for a bound hardcover one-off using their top-line papers and features and everything. I checked all the “do you wanna?” boxes to see what they considered the best quality. Proline papers”, is how they refer to their top-notch paper stock. I found it a bit heavy and almost plastic-y. Oh well.
I mucked up the first assembly in InDesign because I used the “cover” template for the entire book. So — basically every page was done to the cover design specifications and sizing and stuff. I discovered this when Blurb asked me to upload two files – the cover, and the pages. I immediately knew that I’d have to start all over again, even though my first instinct was to redo the whole thing right then, at 1:30am. Whatev. I actually learned enough during the first attempt to streamline my workflow. I made export do-dads for Lightroom that could cook out every image I needed into named folders and three named size —