Five Questions with Creative Director and Book Designer Linda Secondari by Copyright Alliance

http://sergiokurhajec.com/

From Copyright Alliance, original post can be found here: copyrightalliance.org/ca_post/book-designer-secondari/

This week we would like you to meet Creative Director and Book Designer Linda Secondari. She is the Principal of Studiolo Secondari

1. What was the inspiration behind becoming a Creative Director and Book Designer?

I love books; I love the combination of words and images. I love making the complex understandable; I love making order out of chaos. I love working with really intelligent people.

2. What do you enjoy most about the creative process?

I love solving problems. To me, that’s what Design is, problem-solving. Need a way to communicate your business’ value to its clients and potential clients? A good brand package can help you solve that problem! Want to get your book into the hands of readers? A great book cover can help accomplish that goal! Need to make complex information understandable? A gifted text designer can solve for you!

I love it!

In my career, I have had the full gamut of problem-solving opportunities. I’ve designed book covers and interiors, brands, and ad campaigns. I’ve also designed systems and processes that allow for effective and efficient design development and communication on a large scale. Oxford University Press, where I worked for nearly 10 years, published 3000 titles a year, that’s a lot!

3. Can you take us through your process, and elaborate on how long it is?

No matter what the design project, I approach all of them in the same way.

  1. Research: I start with research. I research the subject matter if it is a book cover, and I’ll read whatever text the publisher supplies and augment that with other references.
  2. Competitive analysis: Then I look at the competition and the ecosystem, where will this design live? Who will it live with? If it is a book, what else will be on the bookshelf? If it is a brand, who is the competition? What is similar? What is aspirational?
  3. Identifying things of interest: Through these two stages of the initial investigation, I usually begin to feel a tickle of creativity in the back of my head. I might find an image that is particularly powerful, an artifact that speaks to me. I will begin to list the words that have meaning for this particular challenge. I might begin to create analogies. This product is like X. And then I will investigate the visual language of X. Once I get that tickle I am usually close to putting down sketches, either on paper or in InDesign.
  4. Sketching: I love typography so I will begin to load fonts that speak to the vision I have defined through my research. Once I begin laying type down, I feel more focused on my solution. I iterate a lot. I tend to have lots of pages in a document or lots of versions of the document. I print things out so that I can see them and tape them to a wall to look at.
  5. Take a break: I also need to take time away from the process. I force myself to get up and out and take a yoga class or walk around the block. Sometimes I need to leave the work for a full day. Once I know I have “fresh eyes” I return to the work, and I often see things that I didn’t see when I was in the thick of it. I repeat the process of working and leaving and working some more until I feel like I have something I can share with the client for feedback.
  6. Share and be prepared for feedback: Once I have shared the concepts (I try to never share more than five, and three is typically my magic number), I try always to be open to feedback. I think it is important for designers to understand that what we do is a craft. It is not fine art. We do our creative work in collaboration with our clients, and we need to be able to produce successful outcomes for both our clients and ourselves.
  7. Revision: If I can leave my ego behind and listen to feedback, I find it often improves my work. Once I have incorporated feedback, I resubmit my work for approval; sometimes the feedback loop goes on for several iterations (depending on what kind of product I am designing).

4. What is the biggest misconception about your line of work?

That design is effortless. A great design should appear effortless. I mean it should look like it just exists, and that there is no other alternative to what has been designed. But to get to that point takes a lot of effort.

5. What is your best piece of advice for fellow creators in your field about copyright and how to protect themselves?

First, work for reputable clients. Companies and people that respect the value of your work and their work. Make sure you have solid agreements and contracts. If you provide your own agreements, make sure they are well-considered (the Graphic Artists Guild’s Handbook for Pricing and Ethical Guidelines has a lot of great information in this regard). Sometimes it is worth getting a lawyer to set you up with a good contract that you can reuse.

In recognition of the 2018 World IP Day theme established by WIPO – Powering Change: Women in Innovation and Creativity – we are honored to feature and support female creators during the month of April.

Book Talk! Judging a Book by its Cover

Linda Secondari was invited by the University Press of Kentucky and the UK College of Design to give in the Farish Theater of the Lexington Public Library talk about book design with a particular focus on the Association of University Presses' Annual Book, Jacket, and Journal Show.

Aldus Manutius & the Paperback

 The dolphin and anchor device, symbol of the Aldine Press

The dolphin and anchor device, symbol of the Aldine Press

Aldus Manutius (c.1450–1515) was the father of modern publishing. Born near Rome, he moved to Venice in the 1490s, where he formed the Aldine Press. The Aldine Press premiered an immensely popular new format well-designed editions of the secular classics Manutius called libelli portatiles, or portable little books because they easily fit in the hand of the reader, the first paperbacks.

The many contributions to the art of printing made by Aldus Manutius include the first italic typeface, which he created with the type cutter Francesco Griffo. Italics were intended to mimic the humanist handwriting of the day. His work in developing the roman typeface devised for a 1496 book by the humanist scholar Pietro Bembo — the inspiration for the modern font Bembo, still treasured by book designers for its grace and readability.

  Erasmus,  Adagia (1508)     Denarius of Titus, 80 AD (obv: IMP TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M; rev.: TR P IX IMP XV COS VIII P P, dolphin and anchor)   Lent by the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Erasmus, Adagia (1508)

Denarius of Titus, 80 AD (obv: IMP TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M; rev.: TR P IX IMP XV COS VIII P P, dolphin and anchor)

Lent by the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Although books were popular and in demand Manutius' finances were often unstable. He quarreled with his punchcutter, and he was forced to defend his work from both detractors and admirers. His attempts to secure his innovations against imitators are important moments in the history of copyright. To that end, Aldus Manutius devised a trademark to identify his books in the marketplace. The trademark was based an ancient Roman coin given to him by Pietro Bembo.  The symbol of the dolphin and anchor served as the model for this device. The inscription which reads ‘Make haste slowly’ was a favorite saying of Augustus and a slogan of Manutius'. 

  Denarius of Titus (80 AD)    HCR9525 RIC 26(a)   Lent by the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford  A coin identical to this one was given to Aldus by Pietro Bembo and served as the model for the dolphin and anchor device. But although ‘Make haste slowly’ was a favourite saying of Augustus, there was no association in Antiquity between the image and the motto. Rather, this coin was struck in honour of Neptune – an attempt to appease the god following the eruption of Mount Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii in 79 AD.

Denarius of Titus (80 AD)

HCR9525 RIC 26(a)

Lent by the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

A coin identical to this one was given to Aldus by Pietro Bembo and served as the model for the dolphin and anchor device. But although ‘Make haste slowly’ was a favourite saying of Augustus, there was no association in Antiquity between the image and the motto. Rather, this coin was struck in honour of Neptune – an attempt to appease the god following the eruption of Mount Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii in 79 AD.

To learn more about Aldus Manutius:

The Bodleian Library's online exhibition celebrating the 500th anniversary of his death
http://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/whatson/whats-on/online/aldus-manutius#gallery-item=

A Tribute to the Printer Aldus Manutius, and the Roots of the Paperback By Jennifer Schusslerferb. 26, 2015
https://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/27/arts/design/a-grolier-club-tribute-to-the-printer-aldus-manutius.html?_r=0

Boo! Happy Halloween!

 Alphabet of Death by Hans Holbein the Younger

Alphabet of Death by Hans Holbein the Younger

The Alphabet of Death composed by Hans Holbein the Younger between 1523 and 1525 is the companion to Holbein’s The Dance of Death created in the same period. The artist was working in Basle at the time where the Reformation was underway. Holbein’s sympathies to the reformations’ aims and ideas are evident in the illustrations.

The spooky initial caps were meant to be lessons on the brevity of life and the weakness of the flesh. We think they are a perfect typographic meditation for Halloween, the spookiest of days!

B: features two death-figures, a dog, and the pope.
O: or drop cap, Death leading a terrified monk.
Q: (modified to be a second O) Death is disguised as a monk with a nun following quietly along — in contrast to the monk.

To read more about this Holbein masterpiece: http://www.dodedans.com/Ealfabet.htm