Creative Content’s Pic of the Week

BY5N4Y.jpgCredit line: © Chris Grady / Alamy Stock Photo
Caption: Mute swans forming a heart shape with their necks during courtship.

It’s nearly time for Valentines’s weekend, so here’s our Valentine’s themed pic!
ELT teachers, how are you planning (if you are) to talk about it in the classroom?

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Design does matter: BookMachine event round-up

Last night emc design and BookMachine co-hosted the first BookMachine design themed evening ‘Why Design Matters: Collaborating with your design team‘, at The Square Pig & Pen in Holborn.

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Sophie from emc design along with Sam and Laura from BookMachine had been plotting the event for a number of months, as part of emc design’s year long celebration of our 25th anniversary.

We wanted to have an evening that not only celebrated us as a company but more importantly raised the profile of design within the publishing industry. We’ve been to lots of publishing events and conferences over the years, but very few consider the role of design and designers. As a design company who solely works within publishing we recognise on a daily basis the areas in which designers work with publishers. From the conceptual stages right through to delivering the final product to press. This means that we often also see the areas where design could have more of an impact and we often feel that if more collaboration happened at an earlier stage (and throughout the process) then the results could be really amazing!

To help us explore some of the diverse areas designers work in we invited three speakers with different perspectives and experiences of working within publishing design and production.

Ken Jones, from Circular Software kicked off the first talks with a quick exploration of some of the features within Adobe software that can help save time & money. Adobe’s latest releases within CC enable users to quickly share files across the applications, which means you can edit key features within Illustrator and quickly import the edited file into your Photoshop/InDesign document. Ken alluded to the fact that good production designers really do know lots about how to maximise the use of software. And that it’s in all of our interest to ensure that we do use time-saving and consistency features when producing materials.

Second to the stage was David Pearson, who runs his own studio Type as Image and has worked on some of Penguin’s most iconic and striking cover designs. David explained that when he first worked at Penguin, delving into the archives was one of his favourite things to do as it enabled him to look chronologically at the covers and spines. This enabled him to get a real sense of how trends have changed over-time and how important it is to get the design of your cover right to draw the reader in.

David went on to explain about the importance of collective design – something that Penguin are really good at. If you have a series of books, then thinking about them as one body of work enables you to play with lots more design features. And the use of colour and numbering can be clever ways to make books more collectable. As well as using additional printing techniques like embossing/de-bossing instead of needing additional colours.

Designers have the ability to help define space on a cover, and draw the reader in and David gave us countless beautiful examples of covers that do just this!

The final speaker of the evening was Dan Franklin, Digital Publisher at Penguin Random House UK. He kicked off his talk with a statement that has been ringing true for us for some time “Design isn’t just about how things look, it’s about how they work”. Designers are increasingly becoming “architects of experiences”. And where design input has been lacking is within the design and production of ebooks.

In Dan’s current role he has been working with designers and developers really closely and explained that he’s noticed there is a conversation that happens between the author, designer and the end reader. This makes design intrinsically linked and important to the publishing process.

After the talks we then had more opportunity to mingle and carry on the conversations about why design matters. There was a real buzz to the evening as people talked about their favourite designs, the skills designers have and also some of the new things we’d learned just in the evening! There was also the realisation that design is not talked about enough within the publishing circuit and that this had been a great opportunity to start doing just that.

We hope it prompted some new thinking and has given people inspiration to be bolder in their approach to design and to work more closely with their designers. And we really hope that the conversation continues with more design events to come.

To read more about the evening have a look at the twitter feed #whydesign.

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Meet Lucy: our new assistant art buyer

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Meet Lucy our new assistant art buyer, who joined us back in November after graduating from Uni.

How are you finding emc so far?

So good! Everyone is so nice and friendly and I love being part of a team. I’m finding the job really interesting and I feel like I’ve learnt so much in the short time I’ve been here. I really enjoy certain aspects of the job, especially the photo research.

You have recently graduated from University, what did you study and how has this prepared you for your role here at emc?
I graduated from Nottingham Trent University in summer 2015, where I studied Photography and also a year’s course in make-up. In terms of my photography degree, I think analysing images so often and having a good eye certainly helps me, also having some knowledge of photo libraries is helpful.

What is it that you love about photography?
I love how a photograph can say so much without actually saying anything at all. Sometimes when photo-researching striking images for covers for example, I find myself getting lost in the photo. I find it amazing how photos can captivate you like that.

What do you enjoy doing outside of emc?
I love spending time with my family as we’re really close, there’s nothing more comforting than a Sunday roast at my Nan’s! Most of my weekends consist of socialising, going shopping, having food and going on nights out. I also go to Nottingham a lot to see uni friends and we try to still go to our favourite events, still adjusting to not living in a city! If I’m not going out I love staying in and watching horror films or the most trashy reality show you can find on tv (so bad they’re good), And finally, being creative with make-up, whether it’s make-overs on friends and family, or doing make-up lessons and jobs or helping out photographers and other make-up artists, I love every minute.

Cake or ice cream?

Ice cream (Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough)

Pen or pencil?
Pencil. I love doing little pencil drawings!

Tea or coffee?

Well I drink tea and mocha’s, but I drink mocha’s more than tea so I’d say coffee!

Old or new?
New

Truth or dare?
Hmmmmm, truth

The book or the film?
Film

PC or mac?
Mac!

Who’d win in a fight a crab or a terrapin?
Unfortunately I think it would be the crab. Poor terrapin:(

And finally, what came first the chicken or the egg?

For some reason I feel like it was the Chicken so going to go with that!

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Creative Content’s Pic of the Week

With Chinese New Year just around the corner, we’d love to know if you’ve been talking about it in the classroom! If so, how have you used images like this to help generate discussion and vocabulary?

Caption: KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA – FEBRUARY 02: Women take a photograph inside the Thean Hou temple ahead of Lunar New Year of the monkey celebrations outside Kuala Lumpur on February 2, 2016 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. According to the Chinese calendar, the Lunar New Year which falls on February 8 this year marks the Year of the Monkey, the Chinese Lunar New Year also known as the Spring Festival is celebrated from the first day of the first month of the lunar year and ends with Lantern Festival on the Fifteenth day. (Photo by Mohd Samsul Mohd Said/Getty Images)

 

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Why design matters: Collaborating with your designers

We’re celebrating our 25th anniversary with a special BookMachine birthday party on Wednesday 10th February, at The Square Pig & Pen, Central London. With the event just around the corner, we thought we would give you a few pointers to get you thinking “Why Design Matters” which was originally posted on BookMachine’s blog last week.

For many, design can be seen as a luxury – particularly for publishers who are finding it hard to maintain profit margins. Design for us is our passion. Making books more beautiful is of fundamental importance. However, design (and its processes) has many other functions, and we believe these really matter.

Good Design

Design isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s also about applying common sense to page layout. It involves adding structure to make sense of content. It’s about visually creating a world around the reader and helping them to navigate through it. It’s as much about the function as it is about the form.

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” Steve Jobs

When design is done well you shouldn’t even notice it’s there. If readers and users become fixated on the architecture and the bad experiences they are having, no matter how good the content is, you’ve lost them. Design is therefore paramount in producing effective materials to help keep customers happy. Having good designers on your team goes a long way in helping to achieve this.

When to Start

Design is often one of the final parts of the publishing process to be considered with illustrated books – even the sample design is often done at a relatively late stage. By this point the majority of the budget has often been used up, markets and sales targets have been defined, the product spec has been tied down and all that’s left is to hit the “design button” and hey presto!

Whilst this works in some cases (albeit often in frenetic working practices!), it does beg the question as to why designers aren’t involved at earlier stages of the publishing process. By doing so, huge amounts of duplicated research time and market feedback would be saved. By not doing so, colossal U-turns on product scope and project often creep in which cost everyone a lot of stress, time and money.

How Designers Add Value

Our FutureBook manifesto highlights how publishers can make design a more integral part of their working processes. But why would having design input earlier on be of benefit? Well, designers are problem solvers who continually look to new software and processes to find a solution. Designers have the ability to look at things objectively and systematically; they like to creatively come up with new ideas and approaches to solve a problem.

Designers have had to constantly adapt, learning new software and ways of doing things, which perfectly places them as people to help implement change and new ideas as well as help solve problems. Many publishers are still undergoing a huge amount of change and uncertainty – the pace and complexity that digital presents us all is not going away. And so the need to have a more collaborative approach and ensure you have the right, problem-solving, people on your team is of greater importance than ever.

Design really does matter, so the next time you get the chance to talk to one of your designers ask them a few questions on whether they think the material is working, give them a little bit of mileage to be creative and see if they can help you solve a problem.

If designers were integrated into the full publishing process (from concept to delivery) and if publishers took advantage of their skill sets, both in-house and external design teams, then don’t you think the end results would be phenomenal?

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Creative Content’s Pic of the Week

Wow, what a stunning image this is! How would you use this in your classroom to generate discussion and vocabulary on creativity?

Caption: A view of the mist laying in the valleys around the Somerset town of Chewton Sub Mendip, taken from the Deerleap viewpoint.
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25 Quick Keyboard Shortcuts

As an ever busy design studio it is vital that we work in the most efficient way possible to meet our deadlines. Whether it be starting out on a new job in the sample design stage, text formatting and typesetting a manuscript, styling realia or getting the finished article ready for press, we always ensure our processes are the best they can be. This means taking advantage of the wide range of keyboard shortcuts in InDesign, as well as other applications, and on Macs in general.

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As part of our 25th birthday we have chosen 25 of our top keyboard shortcuts to share with you:

W – hides and reveal guides in InDesign.

V – swaps to the standard selection tool when used in InDesign.

T – swaps to the text tool when used in in InDesign.

X – quick change from foreground to background colour and vice versa in
photoshop. Great when working on a mask.

Command + w = used to close document – but only if it doesn’t need saving!

Command + A selects all of the text.

Followed by either Command + X to cut the selection.

Or Command + C to copy all of the text.

Command + J is a great indesign shortcut for our line of work. It enables you to go directly to any page in a document in seconds.

Command + 0 = zoom in or out to fit screen. Enables us to quickly view a whole page or spread.

Command + Y Preview/outline in illustrator.

In a ‘Save as…’ dialogue box, hitting Command + D selects your desktop.

Command + z And hold the space bar down, left click on the mouse. It zooms out and when you release the mouse it’ll zoom back in. Useful for if you’re zoomed in close to somewhere on the page and you need to move to another part of the page quickly whilst maintaining the close zoom.

Command + T – To open a new tab in a web browser like Safari or Chrome or in Finder.

Command + F – To search and find in applications like Finder, Safari or Chrome.

Space bar + left mouse click, drag = quick navigation around a document without using the scroll bar or scroll wheel on your mouse.

Command + alt + c = closes up a box relative to the amount of text in it.

Alt + command + x = non breaking space (an invisible character), inserted between words to keep them together. Useful for avoiding widows and one or two letter words at the end of lines.

Alt + command + 4 Transform sequence again repeats any object changes that you just made (resize, etc.) on a newly selected object.

Alt + double click on images to open in photoshop/illustrator. Also works in the links palette.

Command + ~ = to switch between documents in the same application. You can also use shift to reverse. Combined with Apple + Tab, it’s a powerful navigation tool.

Command + Shift + 3 to take a screenshot.

Command + Shift + 4 to take a bespoke screenshot.

Command + Alt + Shift + V. Paste in place.

Command-Shift-ACommand-Shift-UCommand-Shift-D – to navigate Applications, Utilities and Desktop in Finder

We hope you’ve found these short cuts useful! Do you have any others to add? Either from InDesign or just general clever shortcuts you’d like to share?

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