Designing a lookbook for Caitlin Charles-Jones

During my summer internship I was lucky enough to be asked to design a lookbook for the award-winning London based fashion designer, Caitlin Charles-Jones. The theme of the clothing line was a nostalgic and light-hearted look back at British seaside holidays. Although the title, ‘Beach Please!, and the appearance of the model gave the whole theme a bold and alternative twist.

As this was the first lookbook that I had ever designed and the first time that I had ever worked with fashion photography, I did a lot of research into other lookbooks and how designers get the most out of the imagery. Also, one of the senior designers at the agency had a lot of experience in fashion design so he was able to give me some great advice.

After looking at countless lookbooks and fashion covers I realised that all of the best designs didn’t try to compete with the clothes and instead complimented them and helped them to stand out even more. One of the best ways to do this was by using a colour palette that was identical to the clothes, which gives the whole design a sense of clarity and balance. Using white space was also a key technique used in many of the lookbooks and it really helps to keep the focus on the imagery and give the pictures room to breathe.

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So once I was done getting my inspiration I started playing around the imagery and the colours of the design. Lee, the Creative Director of the agency, thought that the main typeface should replicate a bold and rough marker pen to portray the themes of the collection. Using that style I started to come up with ideas for title and also for small elements that could be used for the pages. I also started to look at patterns that you would find on the seaside and I managed to find something that ended up working particularly well. I created a simple but bold stripe pattern that is heavily inspired by the colourful beach chairs and umbrellas that could be found on any beach in the UK.

After showing the concepts to Caitlin, it was very clear that she loved the font and the stripes, so that’s the direction that I decided to go with.

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I created the layouts using a simple grid system that allowed me to be flexible with the size and position of the elements. I also wanted the stripes to play a part in the design but I didn’t want to overwhelm the reader so I made sure to break up the layouts with some really nice full spread images. I was incredibly lucky to have some really beautiful imagery supplied to me which allowed me to really experiment with the layouts and create some interesting spreads.

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I can confidently say that the final design is one of the strongest things that I have created and also some of the most fun that I have had with design. It was really interesting experimenting with layouts and using the images to try and create forms of white space on the pages.

The feedback I got from the other designers and Lee was great and it really helped me to create a successful design. Most importantly, Caitlin was thrilled with what I had done and it was great to get such a positive response from the client.

Finally the lookbook was printed out, along with some small flyers that would be used as handouts, and ready to be put on display at this years London Fashion Week. The main purpose of having the books there was to have something to give any of the big fashion retailers that were interested in buying the clothes, so I hope that my design helped her to do that. And apparently everyone was a huge fan of clothes and the design so that’s definitely another positive to take away from it all.

Below are some images of the lookbook and the display at London Fashion Week. You can view the whole thing on my website – https://tobycottrelldesign.myportfolio.com/beach-please-lookbook-as-seen-in-london-fashion-week

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