Book Design2021-01-16T18:48:39+00:00

Book Design

Designing a Garden Book for Print

Project Details

My Role: Designer
Client: George Weigel
Year: 2020
Pages: 100+
Tools: Indesign & Photoshop

About the Project

George Weigel, my father, is an award-winning author and journalist.

He’s also a certified master gardener known across the U.S.A. as one of the leading authorities on garden writing and design.

He recently finished his newest book, “50 American Public Gardens You Really Ought to See”.

The book needed some design work, so he reached out to me to help him tie it all together.

About the Project

George Weigel, my father, is an award-winning author and journalist.

He’s also a certified master gardener known across the U.S.A. as one of the leading authorities on garden writing and design.

He recently finished his newest book, “50 American Public Gardens You Really Ought to See”.

The book needed some design work, so he reached out to me to help him tie it all together.

Project Details

My Role: Designer
Client: George Weigel
Year: 2020
Pages: 100+
Tools: Indesign & Photoshop

An older, upperclass couple embracing one another

Research

I kept the research simple.

Over the years I got to know my father’s readers and his business. So, I had a good understanding of who I was designing for. At the start of the project, I asked my father some questions about the book’s business goals and to hear recent stories about his customers.

The business goal is to release the book during winter of 2020. The purpose is to inspire readers to visit public gardens in Spring of 2021.

Why? Because public gardens are a relatively safe outing for older people during the pandemic since they’re outside and spacious.

I mention this because his customer base consists of mainly older people, so age is a factor I considered for this project.

Customer traits

  • Well educated
  • Suburban or rural
  • Married or widowed
  • Often grandparents
  • Have older or adult children
  • Retired or approaching retirement
  • 45–80 years old
  • Upper or upper-middle class
  • Frequent travelers
  • Traditional aesthetic
  • Well educated
  • Suburban or rural
  • Married or widowed
  • Often grandparents
  • Have older or adult children
  • Retired or retiring soon
  • 45–80 years old
  • Upper-middle class
  • Frequent travelers
  • Traditional aesthetic

Design Decisions

I made some choices to meet the needs of and appeal to his customer base.

For example:

  • Large type size
  • Large format
  • Ample white space
  • High-contrast color
  • Large, vibrant imagery
  • Traditional layout
  • Thick, semi-gloss paper
  • Eco-friendly paper

2. Research

I kept the research simple.

Over the years I got to know my father’s readers and his business. So, I had a good understanding of who I was designing for. At the start of the project, I asked my father some questions about the book’s business goals and to hear recent stories about his customers.

The business goal is to release the book during winter of 2020. The purpose is to inspire readers to visit public gardens in Spring of 2021.

Why? Because public gardens are a relatively safe outing for older people during the pandemic since they’re outside and spacious.

I mention this because his customer base consists of mainly older people, so age is a factor I considered for this project.

Customer traits

  • Well educated
  • Suburban or rural
  • Married or widowed
  • Often grandparents
  • Have older or adult children
  • Retired or approaching retirement
  • 45–80 years old
  • Upper or upper-middle class
  • Frequent travelers
  • Traditional aesthetic
  • Well educated
  • Suburban or rural
  • Married or widowed
  • Often grandparents
  • Have older or adult children
  • Retired or retiring soon
  • 45–80 years old
  • Upper-middle class
  • Frequent travelers
  • Traditional aesthetic
An older, upperclass couple embracing one another

Design Decisions

I made some choices to meet the needs of and appeal to his customer base.

For example:

  • Large type size
  • Large format
  • Ample white space
  • High-contrast color
  • Large, vibrant imagery
  • Traditional layout
  • Thick, semi-gloss paper
  • Eco-friendly paper

Content

I always design content-first.

Articles & Text

There are consistent content elements and sections, which are similar in length.

The elements and sections are:

  • Heading
  • General Location
  • Specific Location & Contact
  • Overview
  • Highlights
  • George’s Take
  • Photo Captions
BeforeAfter

Photos

I am not a professional photo editor.
But I took photo courses during college where I acquired some basic skills. These skills have come in handy to level-up my design work over the years.
I was given a drive of photos, which I edited for consistency. I focused on color, vibrancy, and composition. It’s important the images are cohesive to unify the final product.

Content

I always design content-first.

Articles & Text

There are consistent content elements and sections, which are similar in length.

The elements and sections are:

  • Heading
  • General Location
  • Specific Location & Contact
  • Overview
  • Highlights
  • George’s Take
  • Photo Captions

Photos

I am not a professional photo editor.
But I took photo courses during college where I acquired some basic skills. These skills have come in handy to level-up my design work over the years.
BeforeAfter
I was given a drive of photos, which I edited for consistency. I focused on color, vibrancy, and composition. It’s important the images are cohesive to unify the final product.

Typography

The typeface I chose is Larken by Ellen Luff.

According to Luff, it is “designed to reflect nature” and “creates a sense of natural softness and expressiveness.”

Luff also, “pushed the concept into a usability focused direction, to work as a bold tool and beautiful communicator.”

It has all the right qualities to perfectly suit this project based on the content of the book and the needs of the readers.

Qualities

  • High x-height
  • Medium contrast
  • Smooth serif
  • High legibility

Typography

The typeface I chose is Larken by Ellen Luff.

According to Luff, it is “designed to reflect nature” and “creates a sense of natural softness and expressiveness.”

Luff also, “pushed the concept into a usability focused direction, to work as a bold tool and beautiful communicator.”

It has all the right qualities to perfectly suit this project based on the content of the book and the needs of the readers.

Qualities

  • High x-height
  • Medium contrast
  • Smooth serif
  • High legibility

Layout

I used a basic modular grid and two different page designs.

The same designs are repeated throughout the book to:

  • Reduce cognitive load
  • Create to visual fluency
  • Deliver the book on time

Final Product

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