Friday, May 14, 2010

And so to Text...Layout, that is.

Having completed the five full-page images (yes, I'm saving two as a surprise), I'm now in a position to lay out the text properly. I should mention that way back last summer, when I was searching for a suitable paper, I did a very rough layout calculation to ascertain the number of pages (and the amount of paper) that I would need. I ordered the paper to be custom-made at Griffin Mill (see Paper Trails) and it is now sitting under my bed, well-matured by now.
          I always make a rough mock-up of the book, starting with the number of pages I think I will need. This book came out to about thirty-six pages (some of which are blank), that is, eighteen leaves. I decided on three sections of twelve pages. This is not the usual layout. I keep the sections fairly small as the binding works better, rather than having a few large (i.e. fat) sections. Making a mock-up shows where adjustments need to be made, I print out the computer layout and images, and stick them into the folded pages, and move them about as necessary. Apart from the text pages, you have to allow for half-title, title page, frontis, business info (ISBN, copyrights, press info, acknowledgements, colophon, limited edition and signature info, table of contents, bibliography - mix and match as applicable).
It is important before designing the book to take into account the number of illustrations and where they will appear in the text, so the book is balanced. It can look odd to have a whole bunch of illustrations in one part of the book and none in another. (Seems obvious, but inevitably you find lots of ideas for certain parts of the text and none for others.)
          I had already decided on the font I would be using, Brioso Pro (see Prince of Fonts),and firstly tried a traditional layout, aligned to the left like a formal poem, with any extra words that wouldn't fit moved to the next line down, with an indent (below, left in the photo). 
I didn't like the look of this, it seemed rather lifeless and uninteresting.

One of the problems with a miniature book is that when you use small font sizes, you lose the beauty of the letterforms and it is difficult to read. The text is after all in 
many books the most important thing about it. Illustrations, paper, binding are there to support the text, so I use a slightly larger size than you might expect, and in this case I'm using 11pt for the body of the text. I then decided to play around with the words, to make them visually more lively and interesting, to match their meaning. Sometimes you can draw attention or contribute to their meaning by the way you arrange them on the page. This includes keeping certain words together, and sometimes emphasizing them by giving them more space, as I have done with this 'siren-song' verse.I laid it out as if I were doing a piece of calligraphy, and for me this works better than the formal arrangement. The photo on the right  also shows again the trial printing I did, using a polymer plate on the handmade paper. So all the image and text files have been sent off to Boxcar Press for processing into photo-polymer plates, and should take about a week to come back to me - Canada Customs permitting. 

And now a treat, a new online exhibition of artists' books, "Canadian Women Artists' Books: The Creative Codex and its variants" from the Bruce Peel Special Collections Library at the University of Alberta, Edmonton. Feast your eyes on these gorgeous books!

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