Monday, 27 July 2009

It takes Two

One of the names that Jacqueline scribbled on my spreadsheet was that of David Eldridge, founder of graphic design company Two Associates. So it was that on Friday afternoon I found myself tramping the streets of suburban south-west London in a sudden monsoon, in search of their offices in East Sheen.

As a journalist, I’m used to dealing with designers, but I’ve never been particularly good at devising, or communicating, ideas that might help them to illustrate an article. Some people think in words, others in pictures: I’m definitely one of the former – that’s why I need a professional to design my book jacket.

Fortunately, David got the idea very quickly. I’d brought along some visual stimuli – examples of typography and photography from the British blues boom of the 60s, where my novel begins – and he pounced on them with great enthusiasm. I talked him through a couple of ideas I’ve been mulling over for the cover, and left confident that he’ll be able to translate them into something I’ll be not just happy with, but proud of.

That’s the other thing: as with Jacqueline, David’s enthusiasm for the project helped to reinforce the idea that self-publishing doesn’t have to be an apologetic, settle-for-second-best option. We talked about different kinds of binding and typefaces, and the various options for laminating the cover, and I realised that – cost permitting, of course – I really may be able to publish a book that will look as good as something that would emerge from one of the big multinational companies.

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