This time around I wanted to make a standard hardcover book—mainly because I’ve never made them before. My idea was to make the interior less standard so it could be at least a little surprising. I think, if I had had the right equipment, this would have worked wonderfully. As it is, I didn’t. All of the materials work well together, but I don’t have a printer and that definitely made things much more difficult than they needed to be.
It wasn’t easy to figure out how to make a PDF from a PostScript file on InDesign CS6. I’m a master now, in case anybody has any questions about it. Even after that nonsense was figured out I still had to deal with a cheap printer that didn’t want to work with my watercolor paper. I think I can contribute about 80% of the problems in these final copies to the fact that I was struggling with electronics. That printer seriously didn’t want to cooperate and I ended up with some misaligned pages. My interior design isn’t too forgiving so what could have been a small problem is actually huge on mine, and results in a couple of the pages not being able to be read. Bummer. There is, however, one copy (#2) that works perfectly. Aside from the InDesign and printing trouble, I still like what I’ve come up with.
I pared down a short story from six pages to three very short “poems.” I guess they can be called poems, or maybe really extreme flash fiction. I was able to leave the protagonist mainly intact. I think a good portion of what he has to deal with in the short story is still in these much shorter pieces. So that makes me happy. The interior design also does a good job of reflecting one of the major obstacles Douglas Linn is dealing with—jail. The cuts in the pages reflect the jail cell and they’re the reason I ended up rewriting the story the way I did. So content influencing form and then form influencing content. I’m glad it happened that way.
I chose the title Douglas Linn because that’s the original title I had for the story. It works well as part of the cover design, though. The man’s profile sketched on the cover would be pretty awkward without a name. There are basically no secrets hidden in the cover. I guess this design could be seen as predictable or obvious, but I like that there is a simplicity to this whole book. The sentences that make it up are simple and the design concepts are minimal. Still the book has to be read differently than a standard book. I think this contrast works, and that’s probably because it’s a reflection of Douglas Linn’s personality. It all ties together.
I’ve decided that there isn’t too much about this book that I’d change. I think I’ve come up with a pretty solid design here. It’s just a matter of me being able to use the computer well enough to make it work. Mainly, I need to buy a printer. I also need to align the title pages a little better. These are just technical difficulties, as far as I’m concerned. The typos of the design world. Overall, I think the form and content are working well together and that was my number one priority. The materials also work nicely. Another thing I need to work on is figuring out my spine gap, but I have a feeling I’ll need to make a lot more books. For some reason, this seems to be a really hard concept for me to grasp. I would have also liked to have given myself more time to press them. But my bookmaking skills have definitely evolved throughout the semester, culminating in this project, and I think I’ve come a long way.