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How to get the most out of commissioned images

Rosamund Saunders is a lifelong book designer. London-based, she began her publishing career with HarperCollins and moved on to work freelance, specialising in illustrated non-fiction books. She has designed food, crafts and lifestyle books for the co-editions market and art-directed photography for cookery, health and fitness titles. Find out more at https://rosamundsaunders.co.uk.

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Production Controller

Junior Designer [JOB POSTING]

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.

• 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.

THE ARTS+ – New meeting place for the cultural and creative industries

Last year, THE ARTS+ was launched as a new meeting place for the cultural and creative industries. This year it is back – and will run parallel to Frankfurt Book Fair from 11 till 15 October. In the run up to the big event BookMachine and THE ARTS+ are organising an event in London. So here we interview Hendrik Hellige, Director of Business Development Arts & Visual Culture to find out more (this interview first appeared here).

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Wear out your command key: Ten tips on using Photoshop and InDesign like the pros

Learning how to use your Adobe software quickly and cleverly is something that I include in my training sessions for publishing people at any level of experience. A good understanding of the principles and capabilities of your Adobe apps is an important first step but even as I introduce them to beginners I always include my ways to use them in the most effective and efficient ways.

Doing things well AND as quickly as possible has always been my aim. This way you can get more done (if freelancing) or you can leave work on time every time (if working in-house). For more seasoned users, short refresher training courses can really help fill in gaps, introduce new or better ways of achieving something and break bad habits.

For serious Adobe users your default resting position should be sitting comfortably (headphones optional), mouse or Wacom pen in one hand and other hand resting on the keyboard with your thumb on the command key.

Ahead of my upcoming BookMachine training days, which start next week with Photoshop on May the 4th (be with you) and continue with InDesign on May 11th, I’m sharing here some of my favourite pro keyboard shortcuts for speeding up your use of these industry standard apps for publishing:

Tap a letter – Photoshop & InDesign

Tapping a single key switches your current tool. ‘VAT’ is an easy way to remember the most commonly used ones of (V) Selection or Move tool, (A) Direct Selection Tool and (T) Type tool. Learn the ones that you use the most and never again lose your place by moving your mouse to select a tool again. If you don’t know what quick key to press just hover over a tool to see the shortcut for next time. When there is more than one tool sharing the quick key, add shift to cycle through tools.

Command Shift A (InDesign) or Command D (Photoshop) – Deselect

Most people will know Command A selects everything available but sometimes it can be just as important to NOT have anything selected.Dropping the current selection without having to move the mouse or zoom out to click off something can speed you and really helps when using the Direct Selection tool.

Use this tip with the previous tip when in text frames too.

The space bar drag – Photoshop & InDesign

When creating something new on the page or canvas just add the spacebar to move the thing that you are creating. This makes it much easier to position your new InDesign object or Photoshop selection. Even reposition anchor points as you draw with the pen tool.

When not creating an object the space bar will switch to a temporary hand tool to drag your position around the page or canvas. Add the option key if inside a text frame in InDesign.

Command J – InDesign Go to page

Quickly move to any page in your InDesign document just by typing its page number and hitting return. If working on a section add a plus at the start to mean the ‘absolute page number’, e.g. +1 means the first page in any document. When you arrive at your page why not follow up with a quick Command Alt Zero to fit the spread to the screen.

Tap a number – Photoshop

Tap a number to alter the level of opacity of painting tools in Photoshop in increments of 10%. So a 3 gives you 30% opacity (or in other words 70% transparency).

When on a tool that does not use transparency (so tap V to switch to the move tool) and then you effect the opacity of the current layer.

Tapping two numbers in quick succession give you numbers at 1% increments. Tap a zero to get back to full 100% opacity.

Option click the layers panel – Photoshop & InDesign

Option clicking gives us more options all around Adobe programs, but it can be particularly useful in the Layers panel. Option click the eye icon and isolate your layer by temporarily switching off and on the visibility of all other layers. Similarly option click the lock icon to temporarily lock and unlock every other layer.

Option click the layer name in InDesign to select everything on that layer. Option click a Photoshop layer mask to see the mask.

Command Return – InDesign Quick Apply

Apply any character, paragraph or object style to selected objects or quickly access tucked away commands or scripts just by typing the first few characters of their name. Your last entry is remembered making it even quicker to apply the same style to lots of objects that can’t easily be selected together, perhaps on different spreads.

Command click a layer thumbnail – Photoshop

Click on the layer thumbnail in the Layers panel to load it’s transparency as a selection. Very useful to quickly reselect complex selections or to load live text as a selection.

Ctrl click – Photoshop & InDesign

Depending on what you have selected you get the most useful options presented in one dynamic ‘context sensitive’ menu. Ctrl click a graphic frame in InDesign to transform it, reveal the link in Finder, or open for editing. Ctrl click on the canvas in Photoshop to quickly select from a list of layer that has artwork in the area you clicked.

X – Photoshop & InDesign

Similar to tapping letters to swap tools, just tapping X will swap background and foreground colours in Photoshop. Tap a D to set your foreground colour to black and background colour to white and then X allows you quick access to when making masks in Photoshop.

X in InDesign will switch between activating the fill or stroke and add the Shift key to switch those colours for selected objects.

But don’t stop there. If you find some shortcuts you don’t like or that are missing then make your own set using Edit menu > Keyboard shortcuts.

It’s not just about shortcuts!

In my upcoming courses I’ll be covering lots of pro tips and tricks used by book publishers to work faster and smarter in Photoshop and InDesign but no doubt I’ll be throwing in these and lots more shortcuts too along the way.

Check out the course content here and, if you can make it, do come along to see my worn out command key and learn how to use InDesign and Photoshop in the best way.

Circular SoftwareKen Jones is a publishing software expert with over ten years experience as Technical Production Manager, software trainer and developer Penguin Group UK. Now specialising in writing workflow applications and offering training and consultancy for publishers on print and digital workflows.

Ken’s company ‘Circular Software’ provides software tools and services for a range of illustrated book publishing customers including Hachette, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, Thames & Hudson and Nosy Crow.You can contact Ken via twitter @circularken or through the website http://www.circularsoftware.com

Experienced designer

InDesign for publishers: Annette Peppis interview

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 Annette Peppis, virtual team leader at Annette Peppis & Associates. Annette’s work was recently commended in the ‘Best Website’ category at the Richmond Business Awards.

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

I use InDesign every day (and Photoshop/Illustrator occasionally). I switched over from using Quark XPress in 2004; I was freelancing pretty much full-time at BBC Books, and attended an in-house course on transitioning from Quark to InDesign. Almost immediately, I was hooked.

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

I am a Creative Cloud user, so have access to the latest updates. However, I only update occasionally as the latest versions often have bugs when they are first launched. I improve my skills by googling things that I don’t know how to do and then follow with tutorials. Adobe have quite a good Help section, but I often prefer to follow tutorials on YouTube.

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

Always use style sheets. You will save yourself time, save your clients money, and make it easier for others to follow your styling. InDesign provides Paragraph style sheets (for overall formatting of typography), Character style sheets (to apply to individual characters or groups of words) and Object style sheets (so you can set the style of boxes, for example). If a global style change needs to be made, altering the style sheet will alter every instance within your document.

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

You can see a selection of my design work in my Bookmachine portfolio:

https://bookmachine.org/people/annette/portfolio/ ,

or more examples of my work on my website’s publishing portfolio pages

http://graphic-designer-richmond.co.uk/portfolio/publishing/lifestyle/ .

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

If you are a beginner, go on a course. It really pays off in the long run. If you are a fairly accomplished user, lynda.com has some good tutorials or you could google problems as you encounter them and follow online tutorials.

6) What do you use InDesign for mainly?

Just about everything! In the past two months, I have used it for website banners and sliders, book covers and text pages, brochures, exhibition banners, packaging and logo design (though I switch to Illustrator to refine and finalise logos).

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

Photoshop and InDesign for publishers: Subha Chelvam-Lewis interview

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 Subha Chelvam- Lewis, Freelance Designer & Consultant, working from her newly Hygge-ed front room in leafy Banstead.

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

I started using InDesign when I did my Bachelors in Journalism for magazine layouts. It has come in handy ever since. I’ve used it as part of my Masters in Publishing at City University, for publicity internships, personal creative projects, and every day at my last full-time job as a Graphic Designer at a news agency. Today, I prefer to use it hand-in-hand with Photoshop and Illustrator too. It’s a great platform to work on for those of us that started off making lemonade with of Microsoft Publisher (throwback!).

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

Platforms like Lynda.com and Terry White tutorials are great. But I also find myself looking at design products differently now. I will look at a page layout or a book cover with a different eye and determine how it was juxtaposed and what I might do better. To me, it’s not all about using skill, but also refining taste

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

If you’re starting out, reverse colouring is an easy way to create something eye-catching. Our minds are used to black text on white backgrounds, so using lighter text over coloured backgrounds is a quick way to challenge the eye and amp up the design that little bit. Playing with text size and using dynamic text as shapes to fill a space is also a great way to show a flair for design.

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

There is an endless plethora of my work on my website here:


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

Most of my design knowledge is self-taught. And mostly through practice and trial and error. Knowledge of the softwares is great, but if you focus your energy on experimenting with text, shapes and colours on one platform like InDesign, you can still get creatively-skilled results. It’s all about experimenting; and pushing what you can do with limited resources (think back to those Microsoft Publisher days!).

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

I prefer to use InDesign when possible now. I usually use Photoshop to create the backgrounds or illustrative elements of a project and InDesign to puzzle all the elements together. Illustrator is another tool that is great for vectors and infographics. My projects can be anything from book covers to online marketing banners, Instagram posts, infographics, posters, programs, editorial layouts, GIFs. You can even edit video with Photoshop now. I don’t think I’d go back to those MS Publisher days even if I could!

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

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

Remote control: Collaboration and proofing tools for design teams

For many of the book publishers I work with the use of freelancers is an integral part of their workflow. Some companies offer their internal design and editorial staff the opportunity of working from home and use remote working on projects with colleagues based in other locations.

It might not be for everyone, but working from home (or the café or in fact anywhere that isn’t the office) can increase concentration, creativity and productivity.

Of course, there are also times when coming together as a team is important. Modern connectivity means instant written, spoken and even face to face communication are all becoming commonplace but for publishers the everyday challenges of reading through or viewing a designed page, keeping track of progress and exchanging comments can still be mundane, lengthy and potentially risky.

In recent years several software companies, including my own, have brought out solutions to connect creative people who are working together but remotely. In this article I have a look at some of the different solutions available.

Sharing files

Let’s be clear. Email is OK for general communications but it should never be used when sharing the large files we deal with in illustrated book publishing. I’d also strongly recommend avoiding it for collaborating or sharing proofs and comments.

Wetransfer offer a neat and free solution to send big files to one or more others. It is simple and reliable, better than FTP, and more features come with the paid version.

However, if working within a team then centralising your file sharing is much smarter than passing copies of files between each other. Google Drive, Box, Hightail and others offer ways to share centralised access to your files.

Dropbox offer this too and, in my opinion, have the best solutions for managing files within a creative team. I really like Dropbox desktop integration and synchronisation. Files sit in a regular folder on your PC or Mac, you can work offline and files are then synced when online. It’s worth knowing about their ‘selective sync‘ feature: this lets you choose which folders you wish to access locally in order to free up space whilst knowing all other files are safe, available to others and easily retrievable.

There are ways to restrict access to certain areas and to prevent overwriting. Whilst I would not recommend relying upon Dropbox as your only backup solution, their paid version automatically saves every version of every file, and you can revert to a previous version if you need to.

Dropbox selective sync lets you choose which shared files are on your computer


Whilst the creative process is happening then working together on the same publication and even on the same page becomes important.

As well as holding your files centrally Hightail and Dropbox also offer the ability to share PDF and image files for commenting and will notify users when comments are added.

Hightail and Dropbox offer ability to add comments to images

Futureproofs is a cloud-based system designed by an experienced editor that focuses on the jobs that editors, proofreaders, authors and designers actually do. Its quick, precise annotation tools combine traditional standards-based markup with modern gesture recognition. Their built-in collaboration tools help your whole team stay on top of queries and decisions, and real-time data give deep insight into project management. Deadlines, live notifications and tracking are all held online for easy access.

Futureproofs lets you mark up the page just by drawing on it

MasterPlan is a planning, tracking and commenting system for your entire publishing team. Multiple projects can be planned out and their progress viewed in the browser. Changes made in InDesign are instantly pushed to an online overview. Clicking on a thumbnail opens spreads in a retina quality preview where annotations can be drawn and comments added. Back in InDesign these comments are pulled down onto the InDesign page.

MasterPlan integrates with InDesign to share an overview of entire illustrated publications


Rather than using unwieldly email threads, those working in publishing teams can benefit from using messaging and chat. Slack, HipChat and Skype chat are all ways to communicate quickly and to keep everyone in touch about day to day minutiae. Also, Masterplan connects with Slack to let colleagues know whenever InDesign pages are changed or comments are added.

Messaging apps build up a well presented project specific shared history that can be easily filtered and searched. You can direct questions at certain people and mark important info for later reference using @ and # tags when necessary and all in a more immediate way that is ideal for team communication.

It is helpful to have a way to be able to dip out and back in to threads of product info without having to hunt through a mixture of other emails.

Slack gets team communications neatly under control

Sometimes a quick live screen share can really help with describing or resolving a particular point. Google Hangouts, Skype and Zoom all offer free ways to do this.

For big projects that start to require some project management it is worth looking at larger tools like BaseCamp and Trello which can become a central single location for messages, to-dos and timelines.

Commenting and approval

Towards the end of the design and editorial stages there are several options for sharing proofs, adding comments and receiving approval. Also, people outside of the design teams may well need to sign off on a project too.

Although Futureproofs and MasterPlan offer commenting and approval tailored to fit into the workflow of book publishers, if you would prefer a more simple online proof approval on a file by file basis then other tools such as ProofHQ, GoProof and PageProof are all available.

Of these PageProof stands out as a well thought-out option which also handles setting up of approval chains. These mean the next person who needs to approve a piece gets notified at the right time. It integrates with Adobe InDesign, InCopy, Photoshop, and Illustrator and even allows commenting on video and audio files. PageProof is also fully encrypted so this might be an option if ‘for your eyes only’ security is important.

For those looking for a custom branded file sharing and commenting and Digital Asset Management system then FileCamp may fit the bill.

Outputting for production

GreenLight is a simple system that ensures that your house style and production rules are applied to all InDesign files in your workflow. Instantly updated checklists of rules and presets are shared with all remote workers and if a problem is found then the area of InDesign page is highlighted and online help pages show how to amend them. When files are ready, GreenLight can also be used to output approved final PDFs and prepare final files.

GreenLight makes sure your house styles and production rules are followed

So, these days, there are real alternatives available to the fiddly and time consuming practice of sending around PDFs, long confusing email trails of feedback and scribbled on print outs.

When making your choice, think about the type and length of publications you produce, the number of people within your creative teams, the amount and order of final approvals required and who is to make the final files for production.

MasterPlan and GreenLight are my company’s tools. I’ve tried to be impartial and fair in my recommendations of these and others.

I hope you find this article useful, if you have any other favourites then please let me know in the comments below.

Circular SoftwareKen Jones is a publishing software expert with over ten years experience as Technical Production Manager, software trainer and developer Penguin Group UK. Now specialising in writing workflow applications and offering training and consultancy for publishers on print and digital workflows.

Ken’s company ‘Circular Software’ provides software tools and services for a range of illustrated book publishing customers including Hachette, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, Thames & Hudson and Nosy Crow.

You can contact Ken via twitter @circularken or through the website http://www.circularsoftware.com

Although freely available on the web, images may be subject to copyright.

Trouble keeping your team’s fonts in sync?

You’re not alone. You can learn how to effectively distribute fonts with a font server.

Font issues can crop up in any workflow. Font problems can have real hard costs for creative agencies, publishers, media companies, manufacturers and more.

We at Extensis work with thousands of creative teams across the globe, and have seen it all. Among the host of issues that fonts can cause, the most common issue is keeping fonts in sync across everyone’s desktop. Combine that with font licensing and corruption issues, and any creative workflow can come grinding to a halt because of a font.

When used properly, a font server can help any team stay on task and productive.

In a recent webcast, I covered the following font management topics:

  • How Universal Type Server meets your team’s font management needs
  • How to install and configure Universal Type Server
  • How to manage users and fonts
  • How to track your team’s font licensing
  • Best strategies for font organization

I invite you to check out a recording of this webcast.

Don’t hesitate to tweet or email me with questions!

As a writer, speaker and general software nerd, Jim Kidwell evangelizes the effective integration of fonts and digital asset management in creative workflows. Focusing on how effective management can affect all levels of an organization – from the legal, creative and branding standpoints – Jim has shared his unique perspective with audiences at SXSW, Future of Web Design, WebVisions and more.


Filming the Scottish landscape with drones

filmingThe Moment collection offers slice of life creative images and video. Getty Images have released a video detailing the challenges and benefits of using drones to capture the natural world, with Moment contributor John Duncan.

Here are some of the key takeaway points:

  • Drones have revolutionised aerial videography opening up many more opportunities
  • Drones can access places that helicopters can’t, and at a fraction of the cost
  • To fly a drone commercially you must study for, and obtain a licence from the Civil Aviation Authority
  • The Scottish landscape offers a rich environment in which to use drones.

Watch the video here.



Why design matters: a photo/twitter blog

On Wednesday night EMC Design kicked off their 25th birthday celebrations in style by partnering with BookMachine to host our event ‘Why design matters: collaborating with your design team’. Our speakers for the night were David Pearson (cover designer behind some of Penguin’s most beautifully designed covers), Dan Franklin (digital publisher at Penguin Random House UK) and Ken Jones (founder of Circular Software).

Here’s a round up of this sell-out night through tweets and pics:

Head over to our Facebook page for more photos of the event.

How publishing for different devices impacts design [SPONSORED POST]

Many design companies, like us here at HL Studios, come from a print or web-based background and have had to do some serious upgrading (of software, equipment and especially skills) to keep up with the multitude of digital devices available on the market today. Designing for these devices is quite complex, as each device has different characteristics that impact on the user experience.

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