There’s a saying that doesn’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 the 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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.”
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 to 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.”
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.”
“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.
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 who 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.
Read More: Official WeChat Account “梦与月”
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