The Big Idea: Creating a manifesto

After designing my posters it was time to create the manifesto, or more simply put, a book. With editorial design being a personal strength of mine I always find myself looking for excuses to use it in my projects. I used to think this was a bad thing, but now I realise that all I am doing is practising and evolving my style. Still, it is always good to push yourself out of your comfort zone, but I feel like I already did that in this project with the screen-printing, so I was looking forward to getting stuck in with some editorial.

In terms of content the books are fairly simple. I wrote an introduction to the subject matter, then had a different section for each of the four men so that I could really explain who they were and why they did those horrible things. Then I decided that the book really needed a conclusion, not necessarily on my thoughts on the subject, but a conclusion that explained the downfall of Nazi Germany. I felt as if this would be a more fitting conclusion and allowed me to add in my own views and opinions throughout the more fact based text.

Before designing a book I always look for inspiration. Sites like Pinterest and Abduzeedo are great resources if you are looking for really interesting projects. However, when it comes to editorial design Matt Willey is a designer I am constantly coming back to.

What I really enjoy about Matt’s, and the other designers he works with, design is the bold and expressive use of typography that is placed on simple layout. It shows confidence in design while still keeping a sense of class and beauty. In terms of breaking up the flow of the book, the full spread section pages are fantastic and the use of type really allows you to take a break from reading and just look at the letter-forms.

For more experimental editorial design, I drew a lot of inspiration from Circular Magazine 19, designed by Domenic Lippa and Jeremy Kunze. Each page is completely different from the last which creates an incredibly exiting piece of typographic design. In terms of colour this magazine moved away from what I wanted to do, except for the black and white pages which always look beautiful.

I wanted my book to be bold and typographically expressive, but at the same time very sinister and vicious to reflect the dark subject matter of the content. To keep it consistent with the posters I continued to use Lexia, which by itself is a very expressive and impactful typeface. For the body copy I used Crimson Text, which is a very beautiful serif typeface that works well on black backgrounds due to the weight of the roman forms.

The above spreads are some of the first I created during the initial design stage. It was very much a case of playing around with imagery, colour and style until I found something that I liked. The spread on the right, which made its way into the final design, immediately struck me as the style I was going to go for.

The red was an obvious choice for the colour, not only because it matched the posters but it also portrays the violent theme of the book perfectly. However, over time I realised that the book needed another colour to add variety. To achieve this I did two things. The first was to pick another colour, which turned out to be a cold blue to match the atmosphere of a lot of the content.

Below is what I presented, a long with the posters, in my final presentation. The feedback I received was very positive and the only advice I was given was to keep going.

The next technique used to add more colour was to introduce a lot more black and white pages, sometimes even creating entire sections that only used this colour. Just by doing this the book immediately started to feel more dynamic and exiting to look at and read.

Of course as time went on and my editorial skills started to improve I found myself constantly tweaking and changing the design of the book. In the end it has turned into a project that I am very proud of, not just in terms of design but also for the idea behind it. This project has allowed me to improve my skills in both print and editorial design while at the same time pushing me outside of my comfort zone. In terms of improvement, I feel as if I could have spent more time on the actual content of the books. However, it is probably something I shouldn’t kick myself for too much as I am trying to create an engaging piece of design, not a page-turner.

Below are some of the final spreads of Artifacts of Obedience, to see the project in its entirety head to my website – tobycottrelldesign.com

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