Designer: a catalyst in the process of communication

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What’s the role of a designer in bringing out a beautiful book? What factors are to be kept in mind while designing the cover or inside pages, discusses Gautam Dutta. Book is a tool to share knowledge, and in the process writer plays a role of coding the knowledge, informations, experiences, etc. whereas the reader decodes the information. Designer plays a role of a catalyst in this process of communication which makes the process more accretive, effective and user-friendly.

Role of a designer in designing a book…

Gautam DuttaWriter shares his knowledge in the form of text, data, illustrations, photographs, charts, graphs, etc while a designer visualizes and composes all these elements in such a way that a reader can easily relate or connect himself. Well-designed book can easily catch the attention of the reader, increase the recall value and help in the flow of reading and understanding.

A good designer always selects the appropriate typeface, font size, colour, leading, alignment, depending upon the content of the book, its target audience, the selection of the illustrations/ photographs or graphics. Its placement in relation to the text also becomes an important factor of visualization.

For example the typeface and font size of a book for the kids need to be different from that of a management student.

Visualising a book cover…

Book cover is like a face of the book, it is like a key hole through which reader gets a glimpse of the entire content of the book. A book cover must be attractive so that it can stand alone in the book shelf and catch the attention of the buyer.

Two factors are very much important while designing the book cover:

  • Selection of the typeface, size, colour to depict the title of the book in context to its legibility and connection with the target group
  • Selection of the relevant visuals that represent/connect the reader with the book.

Sometimes, the selection of paper or hardbound and the printing process is an important call for a designer to achieve the look of the book. Equal attention should be given to the spine of the books, which carries important information like the title of the book, author’s name, publisher’s logo.

Illustrations inside the book…

Illustrations always play a very important role in connecting reader with the content of the book. Important factors for book illustration are the selection of medium, style, composition, colour, depiction/ representation of the content.

For example the illustration for a kid’s book should be colourful, form or shape must be less geometric, preferably cartoonish in nature because kids like such things and as a result the reading become a fun and they will understand, learn or grab more quickly whereas an illustration for a story book for an elder will be different in its composition, colour application, depiction of the characters or scene, which links the story and the reader become more involved with it.

Designing schools in India…

In India, most of the design courses are of four years for Bachelor’s degree and two years for Master’s degree. For Bachelor’s degree course the curriculum is designed with 70 percent weightage to the “How Factor” and 30 percent to the “Why Factor” means student in Bachelor’s degree courses are more focused to learn the application of the tools where as in masters the focus is more on design research and solution.

In first year student studies the basics of drawing in context to proportion, colour, perspective, texture of nature, human figure, landscape, still-life, etc. Exploring different medium like water colour, pencil, charcoal, pen and ink, etc, they also acquire the basic knowledge of design software. From second year onwards, the course is planned according to the specialization. Applied art students are exposed to the courses like typography, illustration, book design, photography, packaging design, advertising design, etc. Students develop the skills of expressing ideas in both manual as well as digital format. Student gathers knowledge of different software like Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Adobe Flash, Adobe Premier, Adobe After Effect, etc.

While, Master’s degree students develop an understanding on design research and innovation there are courses like visualization, graphic designing, advertising and market research, dissertation. Such courses not only develop their ability to visualize but also inculcate the inquisitiveness towards research and execution in the field of publication design and advertising design Amity School of Fine Arts (ASFA) has a long list of organization where the student has been absorbed as a designer, visualizer, illustrator, storyboard artist, etc, after successfully completing the course. School provide a platform to the student to showcase their talent in Kritive (the annual exhibition) where industry experts are invited to judge, encourage and guide the young designer. More than a dozen of pass outs from ASFA are now associated with all the leading publication houses like Dorling Kindersley India, Q2A publishing, as art director, graphic designer, illustrator, etc.

(Gautam Dutta has Master’s degree in Fine Arts (Applied Art) from Assam University. He is currently associated with Amity School of Fine Arts as a programme leader.)

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