Today we had the final crit for studio brief 03, 'Type in Context' publication. The crit was useful in helping me to feel more confident about my work, but more importantly in helping me realise the areas that needed tweaking and adjusting to improve the overall quality of my final publication. I went into the crit with a number of questions to ask the group. This was beneficial as it helped me to get much more focused and specific feedback rather than just 'Ah, that's nice' or 'I think that's okay but I don't know how it could be taken further...'. I came prepared with probably more questions than were actually answerable in the time, but I did get some good tips and positive pointers on the ones I did get to ask. The main points that I got feedback/criticism on were the following:
Is the stock appropriate? Does the G.F Smith cover worth with the 120gsm stark white inner pages? What would be an alternative stock combination?
- The Plike Graphite stock works really well on the cover. The black on black print finish makes the book feel sophisticated from the minute you look at the cover. The stock tends to feel very thick and heavy when there are quite a large number of spreads, this is evident in my publication.
- The group felt that the stock choice was appropriate and functioned well for this version of the publication, but if I were to reprint the book to improve on it perhaps experiment with stock with lower gsm for both the cover and the inner pages
- Luckily, I screen printed a number of potential covers for my book, so when it comes to reprint and rebinding, I won't necessarily need to re-screen print the cover
Is the biding method employed suitable to the content/aesthetic of the publication? What would work better in its place?
- The finished binding method is appropriate and not that badly executed, however where the original holes were stabbed that turned out to be errors, noticeable cracking and distressing of the print has occurred which lowers the overall quality of the print out
- Saddle stitch gives the book a delicate feel, which is content aware and is sensitive to the themes running within the publication
- Case binding or perfect binding could look really sophisticated and give the publication an extra wow factor, consider using perfect bound, or even Japanese stab binding to make it even more original?
Is the layout of the photographic content appropriate/effective?
- Layout is engaging, it prevents the reader from getting bored
- If a more modular, grid orientated layout had been used, it wouldn't really stand apart from the thousands of other photo-books that exist in the commercial world. Using a more fluid layout like I had makes it more visually diverse/enticing to look at
Is the layout of the text content suitable?
- A stricter grid needs to be used here - a Van De Graaf would have worked perfectly but the dimensions and size of the publication mean that it wouldn't function properly here. The principles can still be applied in some way however
Is the font combination of header/body effective or suitable for the content of the book?
- The header typeface is beautiful and well selected. It works really well on the cover of the book and inside
- The type choice for the body copy isn't entirely legible at the small point size used. Having a humanist slab serif font with a very stylised Gothic blackletter font doesn't really work that well. Consider changing the body copy typeface to something more contemporary, functional, legible etc. This would also create more contrast in terms of the type which may be nice
Do you think that the overall publication functions well entirely in monochrome?
- YES. The high contrast monochrome imagery works brilliantly and is highly context aware. It may have been interesting to desaturate the original photography to a point where it very nearly become monochrome, but having the entire publication monochrome makes it punchy and feel contemporary
Do you think that the screen printed cover works well?
- The black on black effect is very striking and feels slick and polished. However, the cover and the title of the publication does resemble an existing publication which may get a bit confusing
- One person said that the cover design looks similar to 'In Loving Memory of Work' by Craig Oldham. The cover uses black stock and ink infused with coal, as well as a contemporary custom typeface. I could see what they meant when they said it has the potential to look similar, but my cover design is screen printed using a very glossy black medium, and uses an arguably more stylised black letter font. I personally really like my cover design and a lot of other people said they appreciate it as well, so I don't really see the need to change it.
The printing and binding of my book didn't go completely to plan, which put me in quite a bad mood. I discussed the errors that I had made during the screen printing process and binding, and the general feedback here was that I was being too hard on myself and striving a little bit too much for perfection. I listened to this feedback and agreed to a certain extent, but at this point on the course, if I don't strive for excellence my work will never evolve or progress to the standard that I want it to be at.
The crit has given me a very good idea of the areas that need tweaking in order to make this publication really successful and polished. It has motivated me to improve it to a much higher standard than it currently is.