My book came back from Blurb a short time ago and I am reasonably pleased with the results. The front cover works well – I used the photograph of the firefighter taken during the Travel Project as I thought it was the strongest image for the cover.
The type works well and is unobtrusive.
Inside the book, I feel I have left too many blank pages at the beginning and the end. I did this because I have seen this in other books, but next time I will cut out two pages in the front and back.
I kept the inside type at 30% which works well, but in retrospect, I may make it slightly smaller next time. However, the black pages have come out dark grey, which, at first, I was upset about, but now I think they work well as the photographs do not meld into the background and become ‘lost’.
The photographs appear flatter in the book than they are, but this is normal. Some of the participants did not give me an interview and the opposite pages look empty (waiting to be filled). In some cases, I have put two photographs on opposite pages, facing each other, which worked very well, but in other cases, the photographs didn’t ‘fit’ together, so I put them on separate pages. I feel that I should have put all the non-interviewees on facing pages, which would also help to break the continuity of the book more. I also wish I had removed the prison officer photograph, as I don’t think it works well with the other images.
I was worried about the size of the book, but I think it is fine. For the exhibition in January, however, I will produce more books (with the improvements stated above), but this time smaller, as they will be cheaper to produce.
The night photographs used to break up the book work well. I regret not having the chance to photograph the star trails, but all these image have an ‘urban’ feel and look good.
On the whole, the book is what I was trying to achieve, but I think it can be improved. It is difficult when designing a book for the first time and using new software to know what you are going to get and in future, I will ensure that I make a ‘test’ book with Blurb, so I can see the final result before I order the final book. The maquette was very helpful, but I feel that until you have the real book in front of you, you can’t really see what works and what needs to be improved.