PSNZ bookmaking talk

26 April 2012


April 30th  PSNZ and Bookmaking Talk


As promised a summary of my bookmaking talk.


But first a few comments  about the conference. As it drew to a close I pondered as to why it was so enjoyable, stimulating and useful. They were four big days of first rate talks, hands on workshops, trips , exhibitions, probably into the thousands of images ( by the end even I was suffering from visual overload!) comprehensive and helpful trade stands but for me the power is in the people from the big names to fellow delegates. For under $500 it is unbelievable value for anyone interested in photography.


And finally to the Organising committee simply a big “Thank you!”


So to my talk.

Thank you for the positive comments. Given that it was all put together at short notice it is a relief to receive these!

As in any presentation there is a portion devoted to introducing yourself to your audience. Additionally I did small group work where students were given a book to critically appraise from a design perspective, so what is below is the salient underlying principles I have noted from my experience of self publishing.


Key points








This is about the story, solving a problem for a customer (eg how to do, gift idea), or is new, different, or better


I believe less is more. Look at lots of publications critically and decide what you like or you don’t and why. Keep a note of this. Whilst with software enables anyone to acquire the skills to do basic design a good designer will make a big difference. In other words the extra 10% can matter!


Many elements to this

-Cover to the book

-Story and images

-Overall flow of the book

-Rhythm. Books have this and blank pages are a good example of how to provide this.

-Images traditionally start and end with moody images, sunny images are in the body of the book.

-Spreads match in terms of horizons, composition and colour

-Scale context. A small landscape image next to a large detail image looks wrong

The list is not exhaustive I’m sure!



Is about structuring the story and is linked to many of the design aspects.

Also consider the physical size, shape and thickness as well as the aspects of introduction, contents, chapters afterword, others (eg maps) and index.

But also this relates to how to structure the project forma business perspective.

Write some form of business plan (if this is to be a for sale publication).

Write a draft brief.



Wasn’t covered in the talk other than to say that it is about telling people about what you do.


Draft brief

What is the book about?

Dimensions style of book

Expand on what the image is about

The market, what similar books are out there

Why should anyone buy your book?

What is your target market?

Price range

What material you have

What material you need

The team: designer, image scanner for pre-press, printer

Proposed timeline



Has a start middle and end. Start and finish strongly



Relate text to images


So it doesn’t seem to much when I write it down, which is probably a good thing!



The conference raised a number of interesting topics which I will cover in future weeks and hopefully stimulate discussion.