Design and Production

IMAG0731_1_1So today we were introduced to our Design and Production lecturer, Becky Chilcott. She is a freelance book designer and her most famous work includes Jacqueline Wilson and the new Harry Potter covers. Her work is scattered throughout every genre of book and every publisher. To have her as a lecturer is a great privilege and pleasure.


Our first lecture covered the basics of design and production. No, you don’t have to be a good illustrator to be a good designer, just have imagination. Becky gave us a blurb of books, some we knew, some we didn’t and then showed us the cover and this was seeing if we thought the cover reflected the story or not. The new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory cover has caused a divide in opinion and it certainly did this in the class. Whilst discussing it, we said the cover didn’t tell you anything about the book and took away from the brilliant union of Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake.

A few other blurbs were shown as well as their covers and then we were shown what brief the designer gives to the illustrator. It has to be open enough for creative freedom but closed enough that you get what you want from the illustrator and so it ties into the book. Most illustrators and many designers don’t actually read the book before hand so the brief is really important to get the tone of the cover right.

Following this, we saw how many changes a cover goes through before the publishers all agree on one. Becky literally creates a hundred different versions of the same thing but slightly tweaked until everyone is happy.

Seeing the amount of work that goes into the design of a cover really brought home how much time goes into one book. It gave me a greater appreciation for traditionally published work. I shall be adding a glossary page to this blog for all the new words I shall be learning in this module so check it out.