Studio Work / Life:Captured Course Booklets
When we relaunched our Life:Captured website back in 2017, I wanted to make our offering more tangible by creating physical booklets to complement our online classes. Moreover, I wanted the booklets to have an academic yet intimate feel—something that would set them apart when they arrived in our students’ mail.
As I set out to develop my design concept, I was inspired by both the simplicity of Japanese stationery and the novelty of vintage exercise books. I quickly settled on A5 for the booklet size and, instead of using imagery, I decided to opt for text only. As such, it was important to choose the right typeface. In my preliminary design sketches, I narrowed it down to three contenders: Century Schoolbook, Times New Romans, and Baskerville. It didn’t take long before I settled on Baskerville as my final choice. I had used the typeface before in various other projects, and I liked how it looked in my concept sketches. It simply felt right. Sometimes, no matter how much you try to theorise and justify a decision, design comes down to a feeling. Well and truly.
Using Baskerville (and Baskerville only), I designed a sample cover, a sample table of contents, a sample chapter title page, and a sample page with a pull quote, a sample page without a pull quote, and a sample page of revision questions. I used these as a template for all the booklets. I chose to left-align all my text, including the cover titles and chapter titles. In fact, this simple decision became a fundamental element in the overall design.
For most of the typesetting, I kept to the Regular Baskerville font; the Italics font was reserved only for subheadings and for referring to actual menu items in the Lightroom software (e.g. Import Photos and Videos and Edit Capture Time). Being consistent in our typesetting meant that it would be easier for our students to follow our notes and lessons.
Once the design was complete, I chose to work with Carbon8 because I knew they were a reliable printer who could handle the complicated job. After all, we were printing a different booklet for every lesson, and each of our three courses were broken into five or six lessons. Which meant there were seventeen different booklets in total, and each booklet had a different number of pages.
Together with Carbon8, we decided that saddle-stitching would work best for the binding to keep costs down and to maintain that ‘exercise book’ vibe. I chose 135 gsm Impact stock for the internal pages, because it is 100% recycled, bright white, and relatively inexpensive. As for the covers, I decided to print on 275 gsm Colorplan stock rather than printing colour on white stock. The reason for this was two-fold: I liked the texture of the Colorplan stock, and I was unconvinced that I would get the same colour coverage with digital printing. I chose three colours from my Colorplan swatch book—one for each of the three different courses: Real Grey (shown in the photos opposite), Pale Grey, and Mist.
Lessons learnt? Work with someone you can trust. And, in any project, no matter how big or small, pay attention to the details.
Size: A5 portrait
Font: Baskerville (Regular and Italics)
Page counts: Between 24–48 pages pages per booklet
Internal stock: 135 gsm Impact
Cover stock: 275 gsm Colorplan
Binding method: Saddle-stitching
Printing method: HP Indigo digital print
You can read the other posts in this series here.