Louise – Design and Production

We’re fast approaching our second semester and the wealth of industry-related skills and information provided to us has been outstanding. Upon starting the MA, I had a pretty clear idea of where I wanted to work in the industry – fantasy genre editor. Though this is still not out of the question, I have opened up to so many ways in which I can use my passion for fantasy – two in particular – book design and production. I was always under the impression that I had to possess the innate skill illustrators have to even entertain the idea of becoming a book designer, however, this is not the case. Whilst being able to illustrate is an advantage, it is not explicitly required, something which I was elated to hear. Being an avid book collector, I have always been fascinated by jacket design and in doing my MA, I have been able to gain knowledge and skills in this area.

Many aspects have been covered in the MA that is essential to book design. We’ve had Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator lessons (which are all used in the industry). Invaluable design lessons from Becky Chilcott and an insight into production from alumni Elizabeth Beck. Combined, these have allowed me to learn terms, printing processes and book sizes. As a result of this, I have learnt to appreciate the amount of work and dedication that goes into book production. This became further apparent with our Cover Analysis assignment, where I was able to apply everything from our lessons to understand book design even more – it really does show you how each element is individually thought of, but also how they crucially connect.

Before starting the MA, I graduated with a degree in English Language and Creative Writing, and before that, I came from a career in a completely different industry. So, the in-depth industry acquisition has been a big highlight for me. Working to live briefs such as the Major Project, that mirror what we would be doing in a job is really beneficial because it equips you with the necessary skills and experience needed to work in the publishing industry. A lot of crucial areas are being covered which makes me confident that I will know about every area of Publishing when I graduate – many of which I wasn’t aware of before starting. I have gained in-depth knowledge and a well-rounded experience in the publishing industry.