Following our initial publication planning meeting in May, team New Focus had the opportunity to view a rough flat plan of the publication on the 20th of July. This meeting was focussed on our initial thoughts of the design, with how the pages worked next to each other and how the photographers were placed within the draft. One element that we focussed on, was the look of the front cover, which we had several designs to compare and articulate from.
We had many designs which included layering of text for the title, as well as a simpler yet bold design which we all decided upon. Whilst going through the designs, as a group we preferred the bold pink lettering with a khaki background. Everyone liked how the hot pink stood out against the khaki green as well as the way the colour pink creates a relationship with the Impressions Gallery. We have chosen to use hot pink foil for the lettering which was suggested by Andy our designer, as this will help create more contrast between the colours and in one of the members Megan’s terms will help make the lettering “POP, POP, POP”.
We then went through the flat plan, deciding which layouts we liked and whether the colours worked well. There was a suggestion to use different colours to separate the book; this could be by using different colours for each woman photographer, or keeping to a limit of 3 colours which flowed throughout the publication. Within the draft everyone liked the way orange, green and blue worked well together. These colours had an impact against the black and white photography, and created a bold background which we all liked. We could also use the colour scheme to create a key for the timeline of the photographers we want to include in the publication. For this timeline, everyone liked the idea of having a concertina fold within the book, which you could pull out for teachers to use or it would just fold out of the book.
Next up we looked at the choice of typeface that we wanted to use. Andy used ‘Grotesque No.9’ a typeface which dates back to 1906 which was popular during WW1 and links well with our unconventional subject of women photographers in WW1.
We all really liked the typeface and thought it worked really well for the headings and alongside the imagery. Then we moved onto the feel and overall look of the book. We want the publication to have an old and handmade quality. Some of the members mentioned the photo albums we saw at the archives and how they had torn edges and the texture of the paper was quite rough. This could be something we could try to create with our publication and there was a suggestion of using off white paper stock at 170gsm, which could help create the aged look.
When looking at the draft we realised there wasn’t a big link back to New Focus throughout it. We decided that we need to include the logo on the front cover and that we want to include pictures of the members within the publication. We came up with the idea of having a New Focus timeline as well as the photographers but that might be a bit confusing. Then there was a suggestion of having a separate book which was about the New Focus journey, which involved the process of designing the publication, you could call it a ‘behind the scenes’ styled book.
The last point we discussed is how we want to create an interactive element when we send the publications to schools. There were lots of ideas but some that everyone liked included trying to get schools to take a photo with the publication and use the hashtag to document the photo, and for the feedback, use the question of ‘who is your female idol?’ to get the audience to interact. Everyone liked the idea of using social media because it engages and is used a lot by our target demographic.
We would like to say a special thank you to Andy Edwards our designer for helping us bring this project to life.
By Sonal Mistry
This project is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Young Roots’ scheme