There’s a saying that don’t judge a book by its cover, which means don’t base your opinion of something (or someone) on the way it (or one) looks. However, with the rise of Art & Design, in fact, the cover of a book is pretty delicate. The great idea is conceived by racking designer’s brain, aiming to grasp the essence of the whole book. Try to sell its highlights or features in a glimpse, they hope. Indeed, the cover is a way to reach the book’s heart or a temple for the book’s soul to live in as if the book is a living creature who has its own mind.
西语有言:“不因书的封面而判断一本书的内容好与坏”,引申为我们常说的不要一叶障目,亦或不要以貌取人。然而,随着艺术与设计的兴起,其实一本书的封面颇为讲究,它是经过设计师深思熟虑后孕育而出,旨在抓住整本书的精粹,期望在短时间内诠释一本书的亮点或卖点,诚然,封面是书的心灵窗口,也是书的灵魂庙宇。

On a piece of white paper, within the limited space, designers try to turn this into a readable visual symbol via their various design skills with a sense of form, including layouts, font sizes, usage of colors, etc. Sometimes, the white paper is changed into a beautiful and profound illustration or painting, which will usually give readers a hint of what the book is about. Even the books and readers find each other at first sight. Before they know it, they already have a sit and open the book to read some chapters. This is the charm of book design, which not only shortens the distance between readers and books but boosts the sales of books as well.
在一张白纸上,有限的空间内,通过具有形式感的排列、字体大小的布局、颜色的明暗关系等设计手法,转换成可读性强的视觉符号,亦或是一幅带有意境的插图,让读者一目了然,甚至产生共鸣,第一时间寻觅到与自己兴趣点相符的彼岸,并下意识的拿起书,翻看几页,或许会坐下来认真阅读。这就是书籍设计的魅力,不仅拉近了读者与书之间的距离,无形中也推动了书的销量。

In this interview, let’s get on a journey to a Book Design Tour with the topic “The Pandemic and I (We)” held by Professor Lee Yingwei. Under his instruction, each of the student’s work was really splendid. Take this above poster for the tour. Based on its theme and future applicability, it was designed as rows of books in red, white, and blue to created extensity and implied the design connotation of Book Design Tour.
在这一期的访谈中,我为大家带来了李营伟老师以“我(们)”与“疫情”为题的书籍设计课程作业展,在他的指导下,每一位童鞋的设计作品都非常走心。正如上方的展览海报一样,从主题和延展层面考量,采用了红白蓝三色,以书籍排列的形式,营造空间感,并彰显“展”的设计内涵。

“2020 is destined to be an extraordinary year since the outbreak of the pandemic is a test for everyone. That’s why I pick out this as our task’s topic. Meanwhile, “Pandemic” and “We” can be selected as two subjects, or to be merged into one word, that is, the mentation of ourselves caused by the pandemic such as anxiety, persistence, patience, and a state of self-discovery, etc. Plus, the course in book design is taught online totally, and students are communicated via a network. In this situation, we have to let our students complete the work by teamwork or on his own, which’s the half topic of ‘I (We)’ came from. And partly it offers more freedom in design.” Professor Lee explained to me.
“2020年注定是不平凡的一年,疫情蔓延对于每人都是一个考验。本期课业展的选题便以此入手,‘疫情’和‘我们’作为两个并列选题,可二选一,也可当作一个词,即发现疫情之下,我(我们)的焦虑不安、坚持耐心、发现自我等的心理状态。又因这次书籍课程是全程网络授课和线上交流模式,基于条件限制,从而采取团队式或独立式作业的形式完成作品,这也是‘我(们)’一提的由来,也一定程度上让大家设计中有着更多的自由度。”李老师向我诠释道。

Professor Lee added: “Compared with the last course, the huge difference of this one is to follow up current popular events closely like the COVID-19. So, during the process of design, creation and collection, students have to stand in the reader’s shoes to design a book to be informative and highly readable. There was a team, for example, searched for diaries from various people in different regions on the same day in order to show the mighty strength of human life under the pandemic. How to spark inspiration in a restricted environment at this special moment for being confined at home, which’s a real challenging task. They have to feel design and life from another perspective, and pay more attention to their hearts, or concern for food and vegetables.”
李老师继续补充:“这期书籍设计课程最大的不同之处是更多结合了当下的疫情时事,在设计、创作和收集资料中,进一步考虑内容的可读性和信息的传播性。譬如,其中一个小组网上收集不同地域不同人当天的日记,以展现疫情之下人的生命力量。特殊时期的‘宅在家’,如何在封闭的环境下汲取灵感,以另一种角度理解设计与生活、关注内心,亦或关心粮食和蔬菜。”

All the students’ works have a great sense of design that leads me to another question: “From your point of view, what is a great design for a book? And what’s your secret for inspiring students’ ideas and guide them to complete the excellent design at the end?” He nodded, burying in thinking for a while, then replied: “Book Design has to be both readable and esthetic. The great one has not only with basic function in reading, but also enable readers to feel interesting and enjoyable while they receive accurate information through the book, I think. In teaching, I tried to let the students find the answers from the topic at the beginning of the course. Then they went for the designing practice step by step by starting from small practice to the task. Students learned from it, and gradually got better in design. That’s when the inspirations found them in the long run.”
学生们的优秀作品都非常具有设计感,于是乎我又抛出一问题:”以老师的角度看,什么才是好的书籍设计?又是如何激发学生的思路,一步步引导设计出‘好’的作品?“李老师若有所思的点头回复:”在我看来,好的书籍设计需要兼顾可读性和审美性,不仅要达到基本阅读功能,更要在准确传递信息的同时让读者享受阅读。整个教学过程中,我试着让学生课程初期就抓住命题,从中找寻答案,有的放矢地做设计练习,即从小作业练习到大作业命题,循序渐进,练中学学中练,渐入佳境。“

Professor Lee pointed out: “This task has made lots of new attempts, such as designing through current popular events, as well as more options for partnership in designing, which strengthens students’ communication skills and sense of teamwork. And the infographic design has been added for the first time to enhance the overall design depth. As book design is a comprehensive course, like architectural design, it requires to be considered in multiple levels and dimensions, which can examine students’ comprehensive ability. Fonts, layouts, graphics, craft skills, and other applications for designing, for example.”
李老师指出:”这次命题做了很多新的尝试,比如,结合时事热点做设计,以及更加自由的分组形式,强化学生的沟通能力和团队合作意识,与此同时还加入了信息图表设计,以提升整体设计的深度。因为,书籍设计本身是综合性的课题,像建筑设计一样,需要在多层面与多维度中进行考量,这就能考察同学们的综合能力应用,例如字体、版式、图形、工艺等的多种运用。“

“An excellent book design has to be five senses. Unfortunately, due to the impact of the pandemic, there are limited options for paper materials and binding layouts. It could have more options for students to think outside the box in the next course in book design, I hope. Nowadays, with the booming era of digital media, I also expect that our courses could be transformed into the digital levels, including the application of digital technologies like VR, AR, etc., which might provide more new attempts for traditional book design.” Professor Lee summed up.
”好的书籍设计要兼具‘五感’,可惜由于疫情的影响,在书籍的纸张材料和装帧形式上难以有让同学们发挥的空间,期望下期书籍课程可以在此方面做更多的尝试。现在,正逢数字媒体的蓬勃发展时代,我也希望未来的书籍课程可以数字化转型,如VR、AR等数字化的技术手段去呈现,得以让传统的书籍设计获得更多新的尝试。“李老师最后总结。

In fact, in this digital era, digital transformation is a way for organizations and business users to turn it into value, let alone Art & Design. How to improve people’s appreciation of art and how to make it on fashion trends? On the way of innovation, once the Art & Design get the ticket for the digital transformation train, how to break through the plateau and pain points that will be a real killer for our artists, designers and art lovers whom will lead the art & design to another level of development. Perhaps in the near future, our books will be 3D holographic, or they will be upgraded into mixed reality technology, in which the design will be changed into a visual level like user experience and interaction design. Books will be read both in virtual reality and real life that readers could interact with each other in real-time.
诚然,数字化时代,不仅仅局限于企业和业务用户的数字化转型升级,对于艺术与设计来说,如何走在创新的道路上撬动人们对于艺术审美的认知,如何推动时尚潮流,搭上数字化转型的列车,突破传统的瓶颈和痛点,从而加速艺术与设计往另一种层级的发展,这都将是对于我们设计师、艺术家、艺术爱好者们不小的挑战。或许不久的将来,我们的书将是立体式的全息投影,比如混合现实(MR)技术的融入,那时的书籍设计或将往用户体验(UX)、交互设计(IxD)等可视化方向跨越,在现实与虚拟中相互交融并实时互动。

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Recap for Exclusive Interview of Art
艺术专访 | 往期回顾

1、Exclusive | Illustrations EXPO 2018 – Apr.18, 2018
专访 | 走进视觉,肖相之美 – 2018.4.18
2、Exclusive | Illustrations EXPO 2017 – Apr.25, 2017
专访 | 2017 插画课业展 – 2017.4.25
3、Exclusive | Illustrations EXPO 2016 – Sep.10, 2016
专访 | 2016 插画课业展 – 2016.9.10