Introduction to Book Layout and Preparing for Print

Introduction to book layout and introduction to preparing for print are two separate inductions that are both based in Adobe InDesign and both work hand in hand. Introduction to book layout covers how to set up and create a document for a book in InDesign, then introduction to preparing for print covers how to save and export the document correctly for printing as well as imposition.

When creating a document for print it is important to keep in mind the following:

  1. Audience
  2. Format (book size)
  3. Construction (binding)
  4. Extent (number of pages)
  5. Elements to include (special features, pop ups, flaps, gate folds)
  6. Deadline
  7. Printing needs (colour or black white?)
  8. How is it being printed (digital, litho, screen printing, letterpress)
  9. Book cover (soft or hard?)
  10. Do I have everything I need? (Photos, illustrations, 300dpi scans?)

Before creating the document it is important to create a flat plan detailing what will be included in the front matter, content and the end matter. Once this is done you can go onto creating your document. In this induction we looked at how to create a new document with facing pages, then how to create a grid and determine the font size and baseline grid. We then went on to learn how to create master pages, one for our grid to go onto and one for our numbering system. Finally we looked at type and how to create paragraph styles, frames and adding columns to a frame.

After setting up our documents we moved onto introduction to preparing for print. We began by learning how to find information on the images within the document in order to check their actual and effective PPI, as well as the colour settings for the document. Once all of those settings had been checked we started to look at how to export the document as a PDF for print, this included making sure the correct version of PDF was chosen, making sure the document was exported as spreads instead of pages, including marks and bleeds, and checking the correct colour conversion setting is selected.

Once the document has been exported as a PDF it can be opened in Acrobat Pro where you can use the colour output preview settings to make sure the document is exported correctly, as this is how the printing company will view your document when you send it to them.

Finally we looked at doing our own imposition for our documents, despite the fact most printing companies will do this for you it is handy to know in case they request you do your own or for printing your own mock ups before going to print. This stage included a lot of technical information as Adobe InDesign is not designed well for doing imposition, in order to correctly impose our documents we had to add a postscript file to our software. Once this had been done we went through the process of creating imposition preset using this postscript file as the printer. Using this preset we selected print booklet, chose the booklet type we wanted and the signature sizes and printed the file. This file when printed had to be saved with a .ps extension instead of an .indd extension, the .ps file could be opened once saved and then exported as a PDF which is the file type most printing companies will request.

This induction was incredibly helpful, especially preparing for print. Previously I had been afraid to produce books as final outcomes for my projects as I was unsure on how to correctly set up a document and how to do the imposition for my pages, although I could easily find information online on how to set up a document I was unable to on how to impose my pages therefore this information was invaluable to me. Since doing this induction I plan on creating many more as part of my coursework as I can now confidently and efficiently create the documents and print them, therefore allowing me to focus more time on creating high quality content.

Introduction to Better Typography

In this induction we learnt how to use many of the features and functions in Adobe InDesign for typography. We began by learning how to reveal hidden characters within a block of text, which is especially useful if the text is provided to you by a client as you are able to see where paragraphs have been inserted. Then we moved onto how to apply paragraph styles and special character styles, as well as how to insert footnotes, hanging punctuation, ligatures, tabs, indents, bullets and rules. Other important skills we learned was how to balanced ragged text and remove runts/stubs, which is something that is always necessary when working with large bodies of type.

Out of all of the software inductions I have been to so far I felt that this one has definitely been the most beneficial to me. With many software packages a lot of the information can be learnt online however this induction covered a wide range of skills and tips that I otherwise would not have thought to look up or would have struggled to find information on, for example how to reveal hidden characters which is not a function I would have ever thought to use.

Grids Workshop

Exercise 1 – Proportion

 Josef Muller-Brockman and Dieter Rams are both designers who had systems and rules for approaching their work which would allow them to quickly produce good designs. Grids are a form of system that allow designers to effectively organise content for their work. The Fibonacci sequence is a system of numbers commonly seen in nature, with a ratio of 1.6 between the numbers. The numbers are as follows 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, etc. This ratio can be utilised to create visually appealing designs. The golden spiral uses fibonacci numbers to create a grid that is meant to be visually appealing, the impressionists were particularly fond of using this grid in their designs.

For our workshop we were giving a template with a 233 x 144mm spread marked out, then using cut up paper we had to create compositions within the template. The elements we could create using the paper however had to have Fibonacci numbers as the measurements for their height and width. This meant that all of the elements were using the golden ratio. Below are contact sheets of the spreads that I produced. I thoroughly enjoyed creating this and believe layout and spread design will continue to be an area of interest for me.

Exercise 2 – The Golden Section

Exercise 3 – Van De Graaf Canon 

Exercise 4 – Layout

To explore composition we were tasked with drawing a 9×9 rectangular grid, onto this grid we then experimented with the composition of text and shapes of varying sizes. Above are my experiments, initially we used only text of the same font size, then we went on to introduce a variety of font sizes as well as some shapes.

Overall I found this workshop particularly useful in helping to understand layout and composition, especially through the application of grids which I had previously not worked with before. This workshop will greatly aid me in my current project exploring the use of grids for layout design.

Vertical Project: Green Screen Workshop

On Tuesday the tutors ran a one day workshop on green screen effects, which they linked to our current project, the vertical project. However, in order to slightly distinguish the projects from another they set the theme of the workshop to be fake memories.

For the workshop me and 11 other level 4 students, a mixture of graphic design and illustrations students, grouped together and began brainstorming ideas. The idea we decided upon, inspired by the theme of fake memories, was the lies your parents would tell you as a child. The lies we came up with was getting curly hair from eating bread crusts, when an ice cream van plays music it means they are out of ice cream and when you eat apple seeds an apple will grow in your stomach.

For our green screen short film we decided to focus on one lie as the film could only be a maximum of 1 minute long. The lie we chose was when parents tell their children that if you eat apple seeds a tree will grow in your stomach. To visually convey this we created several vines (which consisted of cut out paper leads threaded onto ribbon), and our short film would involve one member of our group eating an apple (a prop made of card), and then having vines appear and grow from her stomach (which would be controlled by other team members wearing morph suits). To utilise the blue screen we made a cardboard cartoon outfit for the team member to wear on top of a morph suit with a flap in the centre to conceal the vines which would soon appear.

Currently our footage is being processed and compressed by their tutor who ran the workshop. Hopefully soon the footage will be returned to us so that we can edit and add sound to our work.

Introduction to Book Arts 2

After my first introduction to book arts during semester one I became extremely interested in the practice, which led to me signing up to the optional book arts workshop this semester. This workshop taught two new bookbinding techniques; simple japanese stab sewing and multi-section sewing using French link stitch.

Simple Japanese stab sewing

The first binding technique we tried was simple Japanese stab sewing, which is used for binding single sheets. This techniques involves binding pages and covers that have already been trimmed, together by sewing through holes drilled through the pages and covers.

Simple Japanese stab sewing

When using Japanese Stab Sewing there is a variety of sewing patterns which can be used, or you can create your own patterns. Below are some examples I have found of interesting Japanese stab sewing patterns.

The second binding technique we learnt was multi-section sewing with French link stitch and kettle stitches. Multi-section sewn books consist of small booklets of pages which are sewn together, this allows the book to lie flat when opened unlike Japanese stab sewing. To create our books we sewed together 5 booklets, each made of 4 pieces of A4 paper folded into a booklet to form 16 pages. To sew together the booklets we used French link stitch. Once the booklets had been sewn together, the book was pressed and then the spine was glued whilst the book was weighted down between boards.

Multi-section French link and kettle stitch sewn book with book cloth spine

Multi-section French link and kettle stitch sewn book with book cloth spine

For the covers we had two options, to either create a wrap around soft back cover with a spine scored into the material which was going to be used, or to glue book cloth to the spine and then a piece of card to the front of the book and one to the back to act as covers. For my book I chose to create a book cloth spine and attach two separate covers.

French link stitch and kettle stitches

French link stitch

Example of French link stitch

Introduction to Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe After Effects

Early in the year I attended an introduction to motion workshop where we editing footage using Adobe Premiere Pro. Today I attended a short introduction to Adobe Premier Pro workshop which focused more on how to use that specific software package, where as the introduction to motion workshop focused more on video editing. The workshop also introduced how to use the software Adobe After Effects.

Premiere Pro is for video editing and you can use it to compose original work, After Effects on the other hand is for creating animations and can be used to create original artwork. Both software programmes are project based, therefore all assets must be saved in the same folder to maintain the links.

We began the introduction with looking at Adobe Premiere Pro. We looked at how to get our photographs safely off the camera, how to correctly format our projects and how to import our photographs into the software. The we began to look at the uses of some of the keys terms, something we had not previously covered in the introduction to motion workshop. The tools we looked at was the ripple edit, rolling edit, slip and slide tools, all designed to manipulate how footage, images and audio are positioned on the timeline. Finally we looked at how to render our final outcome in Premiere Pro. We looked at how to test render a small selection of footage from the film, which is useful to when working on large projects, as well as how to fully render your film with the correct formatting.

Once we had covered Adobe Premiere Pro we moved onto Adobe After Effects, a software that was completely knew to me and one that i was eager to learn. Throughout the course so far I have worked on many projects that I would have liked to have created animations for, however I lacked the skills and found learning the software by myself to be a very steep learning curve, therefore this workshop was perfect for my interests.

We started by looking at how to import assets into the software, still single images and a sequence of images, and how to place them within the workspace. Then we began to look at how to manipulate those assets by applying position, scale and opacity effects. Finally we looked at applying effects that changed the visual qualities of the imported assets, such as linear colour key and compound arithmetic. Finally, like with Premiere Pro, we covered how to render our final animations and make sure that they are correctly formatted.

Overall I found the induction extremely useful as it was handy to recap on how to use Premiere Pro and learn more about the tools, but what I really found useful was learning about After Effects. After Effects is a particularly difficult piece of software to self teach due to the fact that it is so fast and is used for a variety of purpose and formats, therefore a concise induction into the software aimed at beginners has helped me to understand roughly how it works, and hopefully I can now continue to self teach myself the software a lot easier.

Introduction to Adobe Photoshop


Although before attending this workshop I was confident in using the Adobe Photoshop software I still found it to be very informative and helpful as I learnt shortcuts and techniques which would allow me to produce my work more efficiently and with a higher quality outcome.

We began the workshop by covering the basic principles of screen and print based media, looking at selecting the appropriate resolution and colour mode for each. With print based media needing to be 300 dpi/ppi and in CMYK, and screen based media needing to be 72 dpi/ppi and in RGB. We then moved onto exploring the tools and features available to you within the software such as cropping, colour adjustments, filters, selection tools and blend modes. All of this I already knew however an aspect of Adobe Photoshop I had previously struggled with understanding was layer masks.

Before layer mask

After layer mask

Throughout the workshop we covered how to use a layer mask to apply a texture, how to edit a layer mask and how to make more complex selections. This was extremely useful to me as previously to make complex selections I had been using the magic wand tool set to varying tolerances, however this would never make an accurate selection or produce a refined edge, so now being able to make selections with layer masks will allow me to produce more slick and professional outcomes.