So far I have been focusing on the exterior so I would have plenty of time to really experiment with the inside formatting. I feel at this stage in the project I have an almost finished exterior design and am ready to start with the interior. I obviously can’t start constructing until I have the pages complete but I have made a couple mock ups to see how everything works/looks.
I started out by thumb nailing some ideas. I knew I wanted to go down this Asian route so decided to have the title of the book in Japanese characters. By doing this it will hopefully give this mysterious look and won’t immediately be obvious to what it is. The red, black and white colour scheme will then help connect these two themes together. To separate the two chapters I will be having two openings to the book each with different coloured paper to signify the darkness spreading in the novel. The entire book shall be black and white with only small dashes of red to act as blood splatter. I want my outcome to be modern and sophisticated but still feel as if the book contains secrets. Hopefully by keeping the exterior clean-cut and simplistic it will come across this way.
After this I started to experiment with techniques to see which would fit the narrative I am going for. I tried printing with lino, paper cuts, embossing and brush work. One that I loved was the embossing even though I don’t really think I did it correctly. What I did was sandwiched the 3d characters between card and fabric, making sure they stood out. In the picture you can’t see what is says and in person it’s not that much easier. I would have loved to used this technique if I had more experience with it but at this stage I think it would look messy. I was also looking forward to doing the lino cuts but I found they were too patchy looking to be readable. They also didn’t scream elegance which I want from my outcome. The technique I chose in the end and one I feel captured the modern feel the best is the paper cut. Having the text cut out from the cover in a clean fashion will give this window effect through to the first page. The shadows that it gives of reminds my of how Dracula moves around in the shadows. From this I needed to make mock ups to see how it would look in my hands.
I chose the A5 size first of all because it an average journal size and I wanted to show this aspect of the book on the outside. Another reason was it feels much more a personal size which would fit the two long chapters in nicely, any smaller and I wouldn’t be able fit the chapters in comfortably. I started of by cutting out the characters in card and painting it black, black was just the tester because I didn’t have white paint at the time. I plan to have one side black and the other white in the outcome. At first I had the background colour behind the text as red but I found it was to brash and obvious. I want my outcome to be subtle and seductive much like how Dracula is perceived in the novel. I don’t feel he’s brash and outlandish. I then started adding thread to add some colour and to make it appear as if blood was dripping behind it. I found this made it harder to read the title and was a bit distracting, so I decided to discard the thread. Keeping it clean on the front will give me more space to make the inside and spine more eye-catching. So far I’m happy with how the projects going but I do feel I need to pick up the pace a bit. Once I’ve done a little more research I’ll get onto experimenting with the inside formatting.
In the holidays I found this art exhibit on a lady called Sandy Brown who focuses on pottery. She learnt her skills in Japan, this happens to link in quite nicely to my project at the moment where I’m looking at Japanese bookbinding. Although quite different disciplines her use of colours and techniques can be transferred to my own project.
This piece in particular I found interesting. The aggressive splattering I found relevant to the story of Dracula. The piece felt almost frantic and angry. With the looming red background it sets this dangerous tone. The white swirls are what really stands out to me, it feels as if it’s the innocence or light trying to break through the danger. When standing back I feel anxious, its like this swirl is coming out the painting. The surrounding paints were all very different to this one. Each painting focused on gentler colours and had a more natural feel without the underlining feeling of danger. I thought maybe each was meant to symbolise different emotions she feels and this is one of anger. Overall I really liked the exhibit it was interesting and thought-provoking, two things I wish to bring to my own work. I want to also have this sense of danger in my outcome but with a more modern opulent feel. The story of Dracula is seen as quite romantic as well as dangerous, it’s all about passion. I need to show this passion much like Brown has in this exhibition.
When doing my research for different types of bookbinding I first went to the library where I found a book on lots of different handmade books. I took pictures of the ones I felt most inspired by. Aleta by Julie Johnson had a really interesting construction almost cutting the book into two. This would be a really creative way of dividing the chapter in my book. My outcome needs to have a visible divide between the chapters and this would be such a unique way to do it. It would also add something extra to an otherwise normal book. Perhaps with my own I can divide the chapter even more by having contrasting paper, black and white could show the progression of evil though the book. Having the red accent could then follow thought, keeping the design visually linked. Another design aspect I enjoyed was the binding from E. Bond’s book, Fault Lines. The centipede like stitching attaching the signatures together looks very earthy and give some texture which I love. Also having the spine exposed makes it look naked and handmade, this is something I wish to have as I want to link in the journal aspect thought the exterior. Lastly the two shaped books stood out to me, having a shaped book is great for narrative. It can quickly allows the reader to know the tone without even reading anything. I think it is a clever storytelling technique to use but I think it can come across child like. In book shops I have seen so many different shaped books for children so I have that connotation with them. The books above looks creepy and unusual which I love but it’s not the style I’m going for.
After seeing the unique binding in E. Bond’s book I wanted to do some research into Japanese binding which I had heard of previously. ‘Japan was one of the first places to begin creating bound books. By the 14th century, the most popular style of Japanese bookbinding became the fukuro tori (pouch binding), which is the style most people think of when they think of Japanese bookbinding.’ Pocket books were bound together with thread or tightly wrapped strings of paper and then a front and back cover was applied. It was a great way of creating book for the ever-growing world as ‘the pages could be sewn according to any number of traditional and fashionable methods.’ From then decorative styles of binding were developed which can give each book its own style. What I love about this method is the versatility of designs you can come up with, as long as you have the basics down the look is up to you. I want to take this historical techniques and adapt it into the Dracula story. Creating my own pattern that reflects the story could add something unique to my outcome. I love the thought of having blood-red stitching against the white paper, symbolising his attack on Mina. This would call for some practice but I’m excited to learn a new skill for this project.
I’ve been feeling a bit all over the place in this project so far so I wanted to make a catch up blog to sort out my thoughts and get everything down. Above is a small image bank of what I want my outcome to feel like. I’ve chosen classic colours and modern imagery with a hint of the past. I first felt like choosing a black white and red colour scheme was too obvious. I looked around for other colours but ultimately they didn’t feel right for the novel, they didn’t capture the opulence of Dracula himself. It is an iconic collection of colours for a reason, it allows the audience to immediately know what they are looking at and helps with the story telling. Hopefully this modern take I have will set it apart from what is already out there.
After looking into the research I did prior, I really want to take this oriental manga approach. I think this will help with the modern edge and might bring something different to this iconic book. From this I’m going to start researching asian book binding techniques and look into japanese type. I think with the recognisable colours I could get away with having the title of the book in Japanese characters. Hopefully the already wide knowledge of the book from the audience will recognise it as Dracula without labelling it so obviously. I also think that doing the outside appearance first will be the best idea, I want to quickly get it out of the way because formatting and creating the inside will take a long time. I want to leave plenty of time for this as I feel it’s still something that I need to improve on and might take me longer than I think.
While looking on Pinterest I found this beautiful book by a graphic design company called Jo Fang Society. They are a very recent company only originating from the start of this year so there isn’t much information on them at the moment. I do know that they work in China and designs all sorts from product, packaging and film. These page designs stood out to me because of the bold, contacting and simplistic look they have. They have used the text as image and as a focus point for the layouts, as we aren’t allowed to use image in our design I thought it was relevant and as I’m looking to bring a modern take to Dracula these are perfect for gaining inspiration.
I love the simplicity in this page, the way they have used the negative space is beautiful. The blurred type on one page tells the story of the text on the other. Perhaps the text is the emerging of evil from the soft white background. I also admire the hierarchy, the title immediately draws in the eye to what is most important. On the other side is the main text. I love the way the text falls down the page, it’s very unique for our culture. Id love to take this into my design somehow, it would still have to be easy to read though. The small text box is perched at the top in a way. It is floating in mid-air which gives it this very light feel contrasted with the heavy text on the other side. What I take from the layout is that one side is trying to overpower the other, which links in to my subject really well. I want to take inspiration in the way they have hierarchy in their pages as it reflects what is happening in Dracula.
The second page layout I’m looking at is quite different from the first. It doesn’t feel dark but there is still a clear hierarchy within the elements. This metamorphosis looking title is what immediately draws me in. The text is growing and change which might tell the story. It comes to this point where the text is clear, it’s a clever way of showing growth and change. The way they have overlapped the text so its illegible is interacting with the audience which keeps them encapsulated in the story longer. Leaving the audience curious throughout. This title looks as if it engulfing the main text. The body text is almost fading into the background with this typeface. It is subtle but important in telling the story visually without image. I wish to take these techniques forward in my own work. I want to really focus on hierarchy when I start designing, looking at these designs I feel it can help assist the story telling immensely.
To start of the project I wanted to take an in-depth look into the chapters I’ll be working with, chapter 1 and 27. The novel is written as journal entries which is split between the characters so I have to be careful not to make my outcome confusing for the reader. Although I could take advantage of this aspect by making the book feel handmade as if it is filled with secrets. By using the separate entries I can split each chapter into smaller chapters, this I could really play with and create a unique layout.
Chapter 1 is about setting the scene for the book. Stoker is very descriptive in his books which is helpful for me. I can take these rich details and visualise them with text and layout. One important part in the first chapter that I want to highlight is travel and landscapes which is spoken often in the entries. Having some pages represent maps could portals this well or even using one of my spreads to show the landscapes that are loved by Mina. Another stand out visual is when Jonathan talks about seeing his coach driver have glowing red eyes. I can show this in my use of colours, unfortunately I can’t use imagery so I would have to think of an inventive way to show this through the text or pages. Lastly the scene involving the blue flames conjures up a lot of imagery. In the novel Jonathan said he could see this blue flame though the driver as if he wasn’t really there. I thought about showing this by using transparent film and weaving it in the pages so the reader could still see the text.
The last chapter is the one I think I might find harder, it is longer, has more journal entires in and doesn’t have as many important visuals. The most relevant aspect is at the end of the book where Dracula is killed. Throughout the this chapter there is still a lot of talk about travel and surrounds which I can still incorporate. This one might be more of a struggle but I’m still excited to start experimenting.
I need to consider some things moving forward such as the length of the chapters. They are quite long and I need to be carefull that I meet all the brief specifications but still keeping it unique. A second thing is to keep an eye on my schedule and keep on track. This project is very intense and we haven’t got to long to create it in which means I need to quickly do my research so I have plenty of time for development and creating the outcome.
OpenClose is our new project which I’m starting this half term. It’s about redesigning the first and last chapter of a chosen book while communicating the essence visually. We can only use one typeface, are allowed no imagery and it must be created with more than 24 pages. This brief is really playing off the last workshop we had, the bookbinding techniques I learnt will be useful in the construction of my outcome. I’m very excited to use this new knowledge to hopefully create a new look for one of my favourite novels, Dracula.
I chose Dracula for multiple reasons, first its one of my favourite novels and I love all the adaptations that stem from the original. The original has a lot of depth and rich imagery which paints pictures in the audience’s mind. Much like how Dracula would entice his victims through his sophisticated demure. Another reason was to most people the 1897 novel seems dated, I want to give it a new lease of life. I recently found a tattoo artist who does anime horror pieces, which are stunning. This modernism is what I want to bring to this classic story.
At the moment I’m excited to get this project started and get some research done. I feel a bit nervous about the size of the project and all the details it has. To help with this I’m going to be keeping lists while regular checking back to the brief making sure I’m on track. Next on the list is to start deconstructing the first and last chapter, then research some influential unique book design.
Today we had a second book binding workshop, it was a step up from our previous one. I feel this techniques looks so professional and I’m excited to use it in a future project. The construction is very similar to the previous one except there are more signatures and the cover is more constructed. When I make this in the future I’ll need to measure the covers better as these are a little small. Overall I’m quite proud of the outcome and they are super fun to make. This skill we really come in handy with our new project, in which we’ve been instructed to make a book. The techniques I’ve learnt so far will help so much in this project and give me the basis to create something different.
During the making of my final piece I wanted to look more into decay and remembered a short screen project on the subject by Sam Taylor-Johnson. She said ‘It was interesting in one way to take the idea (of Still Life) one step further by bringing in an animal, and also, that animal specifically, the hare in history, is the symbol of life and virility as well.’ When I first saw this piece I was quite taken aback, she puts it quite nicely that its very violet compared to a painting of a still life. The act of seeing decay is off-putting to many and allows the audience to see the grim realty of life. This reality, which is often swept under the rug by most people, is something that everybody knows about but no-one wants to see it. It a harsh reality that many would rather not face.
I took the visuals from the short film and the ones from the poem to use in the poster. Things like the way the corpse opens up and is pulled down by gravity. As well as the wide use of tone to convey depth in the text. To make the title stand out I had them in a heavier weight and made them look as if they we’re flies emerging from a rotting corpse. Further down the poem rivers begin to appear to reference holes and tears in flesh. The word disembodied is also quite prevalent, I spaced the lettering out far to give a sense of the word. I also think it’s a relevant word to be emphasised. I chose the thin paragraphs to emulate a book or gravestone giving it this underlining morbid appearance. This was also the reasoning for using Adobe Caslon Pro Regular as the typeface, I felt it has a vintage feel to coincide with memories in the piece. I also used it because I felt the thin stems and serifs had the look of a fly, it’s as if each letter has wings. The poem ends with the questions ‘what dirt shall we visit?’, having two similar questions emphasises what is being said and gives the audience time to think.
Some things I think I could have done better were perhaps having a more refined final piece. The project was only a week-long but I wish I could have had a more defined outcome, one that really expressed the poem. I also wish it looked more like a poster, I think my outcome looks more like a book. Looking back I could have done some more research into poetry posters for example to have a feel on how they handle so much text. This is something I struggle with and really want to learn more about.
Today I’ve been generating ideas about the metaphors in the poem. I found some really interesting ideas from a blog post online. She talks about the meanings as being haunted by the past. ‘Evident in ‘what dirt shall we visit?’ I kind of see the ‘window-sill’ as being the place of exposure; the transparent glass like a shield from the past – you’re safe from its direct effects and yet you’re still seen; you’re still visible. It’s this visibility that makes the past impossible to forget.’ I think its beautifully said and that the poem focuses on this sense of decay and the past rather than looking forward. I want to show that aspect through the type.
My first thoughts were to show the pace by having the lines physically representing the ups and downs in the poem. I wanted to show more of this decaying factor as I think it’s a big part and featured throughout the poem in lines such as ‘theirs wings which are little more than flakes of dead skin’. It gives of a strong image and I want to show this in the layout but still making the poem readable. A lot of the research I’ve looking at have really stunning layouts but the text is then eligible. I hope I can have a balance between the two in my outcome.
I started working on these ideas above, I first had the text in its separate paragraphs but the pace felt bitty and wasn’t pleasing to the eye. I feel the poem is very fluid and has little punctuation making it flow seamlessly. To visualise this I wanted to take the shades of black and leading styles I used and create a large text box. With this I can then start to show the decay. I’ve started to play around with colours and opacities to show that parts are fading away much like the past. I have also started to drop some of the lettering out of line to simulate drooping that is commonly seen in decaying objects. I like where my outcome is going at the moment but I have lots more to do in order to be pleased with it. I thing next I am going to intensify the all the factors I’ve already included to immediately be recognisable as a decaying piece of text. I want the poem to look as if it is actually decaying from the paper behind.