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Category: Art, illustration and picture research

Junior Designer

Quintet Publishing, part of The Quarto Group, is looking for a Junior Designer to join our busy team based in Brighton.

The Quarto Group is the world’s leading independent publisher of illustrated books; our mission is to educate, entertain and enrich the lives of readers. Quintet creates non-fiction books across subject areas ranging from creative technology and activity, to travel and design. Our titles maintain the highest editorial, design and production standards, and we work with co-edition publishing partners worldwide.

We are looking to appoint a creative and proactive Junior Designer as part of our in-house team. The ideal candidate will be enthusiastic about illustrated publishing and possess excellent InDesign skills. Bursting with ideas, you’ll be keen to make your mark on our successful and diverse list.

Assisting the Art Director with the creation of 50 live books and 80 new presentations annually, a key part of the role is liaising with freelancers and working closely with the editorial team. This varied role could see you creating PDFs for a sales presentation in the morning, conceptualising a cover design by lunchtime and preparing print-ready files in the afternoon.

Requirements:
• Good organisation and time-management skills
• Strong interest in illustrated non-fiction publishing
• Meticulous attention to detail
• Excellent knowledge of InDesign, Acrobat and Photoshop is essential, Illustrator would be a benefit
• Creative and keen to learn

To apply for this position please send your CV and cover letter to: james.evans@quarto.com

(Deadline for applications: Friday 2nd February 2018)

The successful candidate must possess the right to work in the UK. Quarto Publishing plc. is committed to a policy of equal opportunity and treatment, ensuring an inclusive and diverse environment.

Experienced designer

It’s a fact that posts which are illustrated have a much higher success and click-through rate than those that aren’t. If you want to create smart and legible social media graphics, just follow my 5 easy guidelines.

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Taking stock

There is a lot of misunderstanding of what “stock photography” actually means and the phrase is often used to imply negative associations; in fact, whether we’re looking at digital or print design, we believe both custom images and stock photography have roles to play. 

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One of the fundamental things you can do either as a designer, or someone creating your own materials, is to understand how to get the best out of combining texts and images. When you overlay text onto a photo different areas of light and dark can reduce legibility. So we asked Amy, one of our Design Managers, to share her top 5 tips for improving legibility of text on images.

1) Position the text in an empty or less busy part of the photo (known as copy space)

2) Think about changing the text colour to make it more visible (known as reverse-out, white-out, knock-out)

3) Use a drop shadow

4) Apply an area of blur

5) Apply a ’scrim’

Scrims are lightweight, semi-opaque layers, used to protect overlaid text. The term ‘scrim’ was used in Google’s recent materials design environment. It’s derived from the textile and theatre industries, where a scrim is a translucent fabric used in stage lighting. Scrims are particularly common in the digital environment, where space for photos and text can be at a premium (such as on hand held devices), and where content needs to be delivered in the blink of an eye.This post was originally published on the emc design blog.

Photoshop at work

Ahead of the upcoming training course Photoshop for publishers, BookMachine are running a series of interviews with industry professionals to understand how they use the tool at work. This interview by Katie Dodson is with Beate Allerton, who runs a writing and creative business in Aberdeenshire.

1) How frequently do you use Photoshop and when did you start using it regularly?

I work in Photoshop on a daily basis and I love using it, because it offers so many opportunities for creative expression. I started using it in 2007, a short while after setting out as a freelance writer. I noticed that most editors preferred writers to supply their own photos with their articles. Pitching an idea with photos definitely helped getting commissions, especially as my articles featured travel, cookery and crafts. Using Photoshop helped with editing and making the image look its best.

2) What methods do you use to keep updated and improve on your skills?

I am mostly self-taught in Photoshop skills. When learning to edit photos for my articles, I initially used a book for the basics and also attended a short course in digital editing at a local college. On acquiring more knowledge, I expanded my skills into digital art and design and most of those techniques were learned through experimentation and from YouTube tutorials. Whenever I identify a learning need, I tend to go online for advice and I particularly like YouTube as it suits the way I learn; I can follow along in Photoshop and pause any time I need. I subscribe to the Photoshop channel as well as a variety of other digital photography and editing channels, and always receive alerts when a new video has been posted. I also follow various threads and pages on Twitter and Facebook.

3) Would you mind sharing a top trick with us?

You can make the subject of your photos stand out more, and therefore the photo more effective, by adding a touch of a background blur in Photoshop with the Gaussian blur filter. Usually this is done ‘in camera’ but not every photo turns out perfect, especially when dealing with food or travel photos.

This is more advice than a trick – always use the soft-proofing facility when submitting photos to magazines. When I started out I was horrified that my beautifully vibrant pictures turned out not so vibrant in print. At the time, I didn’t know about CMYK and other printer and paper settings. Although the original image on the monitor will never match the final print 100%, soft-proofing allows you to get the colours as close to the final output as possible. Also, make sure your photos are set to a resolution of 300dpi when submitting to magazines.

4) Could you please share a couple of links to your work?

My art/design/photography website is www.beateallerton.com
My writing/photography website is www.beateallerton.co.uk
Here is a direct link to one of my food portfolios for Country Kitchen

5) What advice would you give to anyone wanting to improve how they use Photoshop?

Identify what you need to know, find out where you can learn what you need to know and then practice as much as you can; I have found that the best way is learning by doing and experimenting.

6) What do you use Photoshop for mainly?

Photo editing work, web design, digital art and surface design work.

If you too would like to improve on how you use In Design/Photoshop at work, you can register on these courses by following the links below:

InDesign: http://bit.ly/2lD5yTw

Photoshop: http://bit.ly/2m4P8Ey

Indesign and Photoshop at work

Ahead of the upcoming training courses InDesign and Photoshop for publishers, BookMachine are running a series of interviews with industry professionals to understand how they use the tools at work. The following interview by Katie Dodson is with Michael Goldrei, graphic designer, photographer & illustrator who works for Macmillan Education as a Managing Designer.

1) How frequently do you use Photoshop/InDesign and when did you start using it regularly?

I use both every day a small amount for my day job (as I’m largely managing other designers who are working using these), but 7 days a week for Photoshop when I’m at home editing my street photography. I first started using Photoshop back in 2001 when I worked as a designer for PlayStation games, and was required to create most of my textures from scratch using its tools rather than from photos (which would have been far easier, but it did mean I got to know it pretty well!).

2) What methods do you use to keep updated and improve on your skills?

When I first started using both bits of software, it was a combination of working with others who gave me tips, and doing a lot of Googling. Training sessions would have been more than welcome, but I was never offered these when I started out! Nowadays, I ask the occasional question to a colleague if I can’t figure out how to do something, but it’s still mainly Googling.

3) Would you mind sharing a top trick with us?

Possibly not that exciting, but create keyboard shortcuts in Photoshop for your most commonly-used tasks, so that using it feels more like playing the piano. I have the F keys set for things such as: cropping, flipping horizontally & vertically, and adjusting brightness & contrast. Keep these shortcut files on the cloud/on a memory stick in case you ever need to use someone else’s computer, as being without them soon becomes unbearable. I’ve been using the same shortcuts for 16 years, and still have them as Actions (as I don’t think Photoshop had an official Keyboard Shortcuts option in the old days).

4) Could you please share a couple of links to your work?

The work I’m most proud of is my street photography:
http://microsketch.com/Photography
My series, ‘Hands Down’, of portraits of interest people’s hands (including John Waters, Derren Brown and Professor Green):
http://microsketch.com/Hands-Down
The Dark Green Line – my series on the staff and patients of Moorfields Eye Hospital (which was then featured on the BBC News homepage):
http://microsketch.com/The-Dark-Green-Line
And I used to do bits of illustration, which I’d draw by hand, scan, then colour using Photoshop:
http://microsketch.com/Illustration

5) What advice would you give to anyone wanting to improve how they use Photoshop/ InDesign?

Nothing beats having a real-life project to apply your skills to (otherwise taking a course and then not using the software means you’ll inevitably forget what you’ve learnt). If you’re lucky, you already have a project that someone’s given you. If not, just set yourself one that you think you’ll enjoy working on for your own benefit. I often do the latter with my photography (e.g. my Hands Down project) and find that the most difficult hurdle is taking the first shot in the series. Once you’ve made the first step, then the rest comes easy.

6) What do you use Photoshop/InDesign for mainly?

Photoshop for editing RAW photos, as well as creating quick mock-ups when I think it will help explain things to the designers I’m managing. InDesign for editing page layouts for books.

If you too would like to improve on how you use In Design/Photoshop at work, you can register on these courses by following the links below:
InDesign: http://bit.ly/2lD5yTw Photoshop: http://bit.ly/2m4P8Ey

It’s not everywhere that you get to follow in the footsteps of royalty. If you’re expecting to be standing on sore feet at London Book Fair, trying to keep your good suit looking pristine, reeling from multiple conversations and always hurrying on to the next stand at least you are in good company. In 2014, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall visited Earls Court to bring the royal seal of approval to the UK’s bustling publishing industry. Take a look back at the Duchess’ experience of London Book Fair from the archives at www.gettyimages.com.

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There are many sources offering practical advice to graphic designers but there is more to good design than knowledge and technical skills. Masterful grid and finest type hierarchy can’t bring a book to life on their own. So where does that element of “magic” in design come from? Here are some my observations that I have made when designing, reading, collecting and making books.

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How do you print white? In some complex cases a white ink is used on top of a foil or acetate but on the vast majority of our print jobs to get white you simply don’t print any ink.

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Luci Gosling, Head of Sales and Research at historical image specialist Mary Evans Picture Library argues the case for the smaller, specialist agency in an industry that is becoming increasingly dominated by a handful of major players.

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Annette Peppis

Getting photos for your project should be easy, there’s so much available on the internet, right? Well, yes and no. There are a few pitfalls you should be aware of, and easy ways of doing your picture research.

The pitfalls

1) Copyright

Many people think that it’s OK to copy pictures from the internet and use them in their work. Generally, it’s not. You will be infringing the copyright of the photographer or image library by using the pic without permission or payment. Will they find out? Probably not, but if they do and they decide to sue you, your reputation and bank account will be dealt a hefty blow.

2) Boring images

How many times have you seen a law firm represented by a pair of scales or a gavel? It doesn’t have to be this way! Instead of typing in search terms like ‘law’, approach this from a different angle; try to think of what the lawyer will do for you, or the peace of mind you will have after you’ve instructed them – this will source a completely different type of image which is still relevant.

3) The budget

Most clients have a small budget for photos. Generally, this is fine, as you can buy royalty-free stock images for under £10 from most low-cost picture libraries. You can also get photos for free (see below) if you follow the right guidelines and give correct attribution. There is a downside, though; you will not have exclusive use of the image. Although the risk is small, a competitor may use exactly the same picture on their book cover / website / app etc.

Ways to research pictures

1) Low-cost picture libraries

My favourites are Shutterstock (https://www.shutterstock.com/home) and iStockphoto (http://www.istockphoto.com/gb). Think carefully about the search terms you use.

When you see a picture you like in the thumbnail results on your screen, add it to a lightbox (Shutterstock) or board (iStockphoto). You can create one or several for each project. That way, you can compare your images easily, and also email your client a link to the lightbox. For copyright reasons, I’ve used a lightbox full of images I’ve legally purchased here.

If you or your client like a particular image but would like to see similar ones, there is a link below to click onto similar images. You might just find the perfect pic.

You can also search by colour on Shutterstock Spectrum (https://www.shutterstock.com/labs/spectrum/). Move the marker to select the colour you want to match, then type in your keywords to call up a selection of images.

2) Pinterest

Pinterest is a great place to find the type of the picture you’d like to use, but you cannot just copy images from Pinterest due to copyright infringement. What you can do though is to download the picture to your desktop (or take a screenshot) and then do a reverse search. One way of doing this is in Google Images. Click on the camera icon and a box will pop up where you can upload the Pinterest image. Google will tell you where that image appears on the web, and with luck you will be able to find out where to purchase it. By the way, this is how people are often rumbled if they illegally use a pic.

Image libraries also have this reverse search facility.

3) Free images from Flickr

Search for the image you’d like and a number of thumbnails will show in the browser. To ensure you are allowed to use the picture, click on the ‘Any License’ drop-down tab and select ‘All creative commons’. Further select ‘Commercial use allowed’ if that is appropriate. This will limit your selection but there should still be some good pictures available. Clicking on the chosen image will open it in a new window, and you’ll see a link saying ‘Some rights reserved’. Click this and it will tell you what you can and can’t do with the image and who to credit.

You have the option of refining your search by colour, depth of field, pattern etc, but if you are looking for free pictures there probably won’t be that many to choose from.

Finding a professional

A professional picture researcher will save you time, money and headaches, and know of picture libraries that specialise in a particular subject. For example, historical specialist Mary Evans Picture Library in Blackheath have a wide range of historical pictures in their archives. Employee Luci Gosling describes libraries such as Mary Evans as ‘specialist boutiques, rather than supermarkets like Shutterstock’. There are other smaller picture libraries specialising in nature, sport, music and much more. Their employees have a deep knowledge of their archives and their subject. 

I have a particular picture researcher I like to work with; she gets the brief straightaway and knows exactly what I like. They can also help you negotiate fees if you decide you’d like to buy exclusive rights to an image. If you do have the budget to employ a professional picture researcher, it’s well worth it.

Annette Peppis is an enthusiastic early member of BookMachine. Annette helps publishers attract more readers by creating a professional look that builds their business and reflects their values, and offers smart and stylish solutions. You can read Annette’s blog about about graphic design here.

Ahead of the upcoming training courses InDesign and Photoshop for publishers, BookMachine are running a series of interviews with industry professionals to understand how they use the tools at work. The following interview by Katie Dodson is with Adam Brightman, Senior Designer at emcdesign. Since 2010, Adam has worked on some of the most complex creative projects, designing realia and infographics to help contextualise material at emcdesign.

1) How frequently do you use Photoshop/InDesign and when did you start using it regularly?

I use InDesign and Photoshop almost everyday at work. As a book designers, the two programs really complement each other. I started to use Photoshop and InDesign regularly while taking my Degree in Graphic Communication at the University of Northampton. However, it wasn’t until I started working for emc working on large, complicated documents and big courses that I truly learned the potential of what the software is capable of.

2) What methods do you use to keep updated and improve on your skills?

Design is always evolving and naturally the software is too so it’s important to keep up to date with current design trends and skills. I find Pinterest is a great resource for inspiration which often leads to learning new techniques and skills in the process. Indesignsecrets.com is a great website for keeping up to date with everything InDesign. Adobe’s new creative cloud service has also become a fantastic resource for keeping updated and learning new skills. Adobe TV has a massive library of videos tutorials and tips for all of their software. Every time a new software update arrives there’s usually a video explaining the new features to try.

3) Would you mind sharing a top trick with us?

There are so many great tricks in InDesign but one of my (often overlooked) favourites is the calculator ability. When working in complicated large documents it’s very important to make sure that you work accurately and consistently. To achieve this, we work mathematically keying in numbers for X and Y positions and also the size of objects. InDesign has a really handy feature where you can use mathematics to work out the correct size for objects. For example, if you have an object with the width of 30mm’s but it needs to be 7mm’s longer you can simply input +7mm onto the end of the 30 and InDesign will calculate the new width for you and apply. It’s a very simple feature but has proven to be incredibly helpful and time saving in complicated projects where I’ve had to mathematically adjust multiple objects to fit a new grid structure. It also works when setting tab spacing too.

4) Could you please share a couple of links to your work?

Sure! You can view our full portfolio at http://emcdesign.org.uk/our-work/. I recommend taking a look at the new GCSE Food book. This was a really exciting project to work on. We had to set text and design realia around over a thousand photos and we created all of the artwork in house. Another project I really enjoyed working on was Keynote. We were commissioned to create a large series of illustrated infographics for a large ELT course. You can view some of my favourites in our portfolio.

5) What advice would you give to anyone wanting to improve how they use Photoshop/InDesign?

The best advice I can give would be to get online and start to run some tutorials. I’ve always found when it comes to design software to really improve you have to venture out and learn a lot of the extra techniques on your own. University courses simply don’t have the time to cover everything. There’s so many great resources online. The tutorials on Adobe TV would be a great place to begin.

6) What do you use Photoshop/InDesign for mainly?

InDesign is always my starting point to a print based project. I use it to build and layout all of the pages. It’s very accurate and easy to make flexible grid structures. It also has a great variety of typographic and styling options.

I then use Photoshop to edit any of the photographic content on the pages. The Photoshop files are placed into the InDesign document and I jump between the two to add life to the pages in InDesign. At emc I use Photoshop for all types of editing. Sometimes it’s as simple as just brightening up a photo but then there’s things much more complex such as extending a background to fill the page and working with masks to cut out layers of elements in one photo. There’s really no end to what you can do in Photoshop.

If you too would like to improve on how you use In Design/Photoshop at work, you can register on these courses by following the links below:

InDesign: http://bit.ly/2lD5yTw
Photoshop: http://bit.ly/2m4P8Ey

 

Digital printing technology has the potential to transform the illustrated book industry.

The classic model for illustrated book publishing established by Paul Hamlyn and others several decades ago saw high overall pre-press and print costs for illustrated titles offset by large print runs, traditionally including one or more coeditions with foreign-language publishers.

Today, most – but certainly not all – illustrated publishing is still large-print run litho printing, produced mainly – but not exclusively – in the Far East as the costs are lower than local UK and European printers.

Over recent years print run quantities have been falling in line with reduced demand from retailers, and, although colour digital printing has become a mature technology, it is still expensive compared to traditional litho methods.

But what will illustrated publishing be like in five, ten or fifteen years?

Short-run digital printing has the potential to transform the business – smaller initial print runs would require less investment up front on new titles and much less costly warehouse space.

If printers could make the cost of colour digital print competitive enough with litho prices to bring illustrated book printing back from the Far East, publishers would be able to cut a month’s shipping time from the schedule.

Some publishers are already innovating using digital print technology  – Lost My Name is one prime example.  But will the model scale up for all illustrated publishers, or are large print runs here to stay in some genres, such as celebrity food and drink titles for the Christmas market?

Join us for a discussion on the future of illustrated publishing at the London Book Fair on Wednesday 15th March at 2.30 in the Olympia Room, Grand Hall, with an expert panel featuring Rebecca Smart, MD, Ebury Publishing, James Carey, Director of Publishing Operations, UK, The Quarto Group, Nick Marsh, Vice President of Product, Lost My Name, and Sharon Williams, Sales Manager, Short Run Press Ltd.

Charles is Publishing Manager at Amber Books Ltd, an independent London-based publisher and book packager that specialises in creating illustrated non-fiction titles in print and digital formats for adults and children. Recent and forthcoming titles include Abandoned Places, Haiku, Best-Selling Albums, Camouflage at War, Fantastic Fearsome Beasts and the Bloody History of London. Charles is responsible for all things concerning editorial, design, marketing and digital at Amber. 

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