Making a Book

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by Xanis, Dec 5, 2007.

  1. Xanis macrumors member

    Oct 18, 2007
    I'm currently a freshman Graphic Design major going to school in Philly. I went to the Eastern State Penitentiary a few days ago and took some pictures. One of my professors saw the pictures and suggested to me that I use them to create a book as an independent study project for next semester. I think this is an awesome idea and a great opportunity to do something I enjoy and add another piece to my portfolio.

    What I'm asking you guys is for some help in a few of the aesthetic and logistical aspects of making this book.

    I'm going to be using these pictures for the book, plus or minus some other ones that I have yet to
    decide on. I also need to edit the pictures. Now, on to the things I need some help with:

    1) What size would be good for the prints? I want a decent-sized book.
    2) I'm planning on making my own paper for parts of the book. What materials would make good paper?
    3) What materials would be good for the cover? Something thick and sturdy is a must.
    4) What picture would you suggest for the cover?

    If I think of anything else I'll add it in. Thanks in advance!
  2. remmy macrumors 6502a

    Jul 1, 2007
    If you are making the book...

    good basic run through of binding, but takes some practise. I have used the process to make up my portfolio.

    Pages nothing smaller than 21 cm x 21 cm really, but depends on how you can print the work.

    Maybe instead of using a photo for the cover do something else, use type or whatever.

    Good Luck
  3. Xanis thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 18, 2007
    Thanks for the link and advice. As I think about it, I agree with you that the cover should not be a picture, but rather some type or something. I'll do some sketches at some point and see what I can come up with.
  4. Z.Beeblebrox macrumors regular


    Nov 27, 2007
    NJ / NYC
    It'd be interesting to see some vellum overlays with maybe some text on the history / architecture of the place. ESP has a real haunted feeling (especially if you've ever been there after dark which I highly reccommend!). The vellum might lend a little bit of etheral quality in addition to the nice photos and allow you to elaborate on the content.

    Are you thinking full bleed or margins? If you do full bleed, maybe think about one photo and one blank page per page spread. As for the cover, maybe use something like aluminum or metal or high textured paper, to kinda pull in elements from the decaying prison. There was a lot of crumbling plaster and a lot of scrap metal laying about when I went there.
  5. giantdave macrumors member

    Nov 28, 2007
    searcy, arkansas/b~town, in
    well since you are on macforums, im guessing you have a mac. so why not use iphoto?
  6. LeviG macrumors 65816

    Nov 6, 2006
    Norfolk, UK
    I take it you're going for the generic side/top bound book approach then. There's no reason why you can't take a different approach - a book isn't defined by the way its put together its what's inside it.
    For example taking your above questions
    1) 297x105mm (wxh) - so half a4 landscape, you've got space on each page for a decent image and brief text about it.
    2) recycled paper, word chip (mixed in), general plants, depends on what you want to do with it
    3) making your own paper so how about wood with the title burnt into it, cant remember what the technique is called but basically its like tatooing the wood. Could bind the book using a natural fabric/twine to give it a more organic feel.
    4) none especially if you use 3)

    I've just done a third a4 brochure design which swivels and is landscape rather than the normal portrait and folded approach. Conceptions about a particular format are there to be broken and good design can break them.
  7. shecky Guest


    May 24, 2003
    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    there is no rule for this, but you should consider both what you can produce (in terms of printing - if you only have an A4 printer, that may limit your options. dont forget you will often be printing signatures or spreads, not just individual pages.) and what the source material can handle (a 72DPI image at 3"x4" will not look good printed at 8"x10", etc..).

    if you are going to print and bind this yourself then any size within the above considerations is fine. if you are going to get it printed and bound for you (either at a bindery, or print on demand like then you may be limited in your options. you can look at proportioning systems to get some good ideas on page sizes in the Bringhurst "Elements of Typographic Style" book to start. i would also look at some of the proportioning and page systems Jan Tschichold used.

    if you are talking about making your own paper from a pulp, then practically anything organic. google "papermaking" and you will find a lot of ways to make paper. if you mean "make pages out of something other than paper i can buy in a store" then anything goes. i have made and seen books with pages made from everything from copper sheets to wooden planks to woven fabrics to clear plexi to everything in between. the only limit is what you can get your hand on.

    again, if you are talking 'traditional' bookbinding then davey board or bookbinders board. if you are talking experimental/artists/concrete books then anything goes. i have seen covers made from tile, steel, masonry, hair, foam.

    as mentioned, a typographic cover would be nice.

    also just to add to what remmy posted, thats a good how to on a sewn perfect bound book. you can also make a less complex (and less sturdy) non-sewn perfect bound book. there are a bunch of resources on bookmaking, i would recommend any of the books by Keith Smith if you ever really get into it.
  8. Kwill macrumors 68000


    Mar 10, 2003
    Why not just layout and order a book from within iPhoto?
  9. shecky Guest


    May 24, 2003
    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    for the same reason someone in a web design class would not turn in a site made with a Rapidweaver template.
  10. tominated macrumors 68000


    Jul 7, 2006
    Queensland, Australia
    what if they made the rapidweaver template?
  11. shecky Guest


    May 24, 2003
    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    uhm... i was just trying to make a simple analogy. :)

    the point is, the OP is a graphic design student, and as such should not turn in a book spit out of a template (which is what an iphoto book is) as that is not "designed" at all by the student. if he wanted to get iphoto book-like binding done then he can go to and design the book himself.
  12. Valansi macrumors newbie

    Dec 7, 2007
    Graphic design is an expressive art form, no one can tell you what to use. If you want to be successful in the design world you have to come up with your own creative ideas. Out of all your questions, the basic answer is it is up to you, we can tell you what looks good, but its your decsion. As far as using type on the front, remember there are rules to using type, if your tracking, leading, and kerning arent good, your type will look ******( to the trained eye) other than that good luck

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