news updates & improvements

New eBook Design!

After some tinkering and testing, we’ve just uploaded the new eBook back cover designs to the bookleteer server. Alongside an improved colophon layout, all eBooks generated with bookleteer now automatically create a QR code link as well as a short URL, to the online bookreader version, featured on the bottom left corner of the back page. This means you can scan the code from a friends printed eBook with a smartphone or tablet device, to instantly bring up the digital version on your screen – another interesting dimension to hybrid publications. We’re looking forward to discovering similar intriguing uses…


Psychedelic Paper Sculptures

Jen Stark creates fantastical, multicoloured paper sculptures which transgress the humble medium, composing simple sheets into three-dimensional works of art using every spectrum of the rainbow. The intricate layers, the shapes they form, and the sheer vibrancy of her work are mesmerising – what’s more, they’re all hand-cut. Perhaps it’s not wise to delve too deep into her catalog, if you have any pressing work to do…

ideas & suggestions

Business Cubes?

Whilst perusing the stalls at the TENT London design show a few weeks back, I was reminded of the importance of exhibitors’ business cards and informational flyers, especially when there’s a vast amount of finely crafted aesthetics and innovation competing for the attention of visitors, and potential investors or collaborators.

The ability for visitors at these kinds of shows to take a small souvenir away with them that serves as a contacts resource and reminder of the experience is key, particularly if the exhibitor is engaged in conversation or demonstrating their work to someone else, leaving no opportunity to directly talk to them and forge a link. I gathered quite a few cards at TENT – mostly as a trigger for later research – storing them in the back of my notebook so they wouldn’t get lost.

Often, there is a disparity between the design and information on these cards, and the intrigue I had when looking at the product or concept on display. It struck me that creating StoryCubes that act as keepsakes from the experiences might bridge this gap; shouldn’t high-end design work have a suitable counterpart for promotion? Obviously a cube is a lot more unwieldy than a card, even when folded flat, but perhaps in the process of taking the care to protect it, having to physically carry it rather than stuffing it into a wallet or pocket, it becomes more than just a scrap of details – a three-dimensional memento, almost a trophy, that can sit on a desk or shelf, hopefully stirring up the same interest its new owner had when looking at its source.

inspiration sharing

Tube Map CV’s

I have been blogging about creative portfolios recently, with the notion of ‘standing out from the crowd’ as my backbone. This is also relevant to CV’s. Just like a portfolio, you have to stand out from the crowd to get noticed! I came across two fantastic CV’S which mimic a London tube map, and instead of different stops, each coloured line represents a category such as qualifications or education and each ‘stop’ is what the person has achieved or what skills they have or what clubs they belonged to.

On Jonathan Kaczynski CV, the Piccadilly line has been transformed into ‘Education ‘ a timeline reflecting his progress throughout education and the ‘Circle line’ shows off his extra curricular activities, wheres as the longer ‘District line’ demonstrates his computer skills.

However, each line on Kevin Wang’s ‘tube map CV’ reflects places he has worked instead of different categories like¬†Kaczynski’s. It doesn’t matter which way this format is set up, I’m a fan either way! Just how the purpose of a tube map is to figure out how to get you to places, one destination to another, this format for a CV I feel may reflect the same purpose – moving from one job to another, trying to gain more and better skills to get yourself to that next destination – a higher paid job or to become more qualified . An interesting concept, one which I may use myself in the future.


Video games vs Penguin Classics

Olly Moss (a hugely talented illustrator and graphic designer, which I’ve had the good fortune to recently discover) created these redesigned covers for a number of his favourite video games, inspired by Romek Marber’s classic designs for Penguin Books in the 1960’s. This seemingly unsuited clash of mediums works so well, no doubt aided by the supreme wit and iconic cult references in Olly’s work. He’s als0 redesigned posters for classic films in his “Films in Black and Red” series, which, needless to say, are ace.


‘Design-tacular’ Portfolio

Even though I prefer the idea of a ‘real life’ portfolio – one which I can have in my hands and flick through glossy colourful pages one after another, I have come across on online portfolio, which I think is fantastic! The most appealing part for me is the hand drawn illustration by Jesse Willmon.

Willmon combined his trade of web designing with his love for comics and goes on to talk about the reason behind this design of the portfolio/website was on purpose to make people feel more relaxed, compared to the usual computer tech savvy designs. Therefore to get the comic effect Willmon loved so much he actually hand drew every page of the portfolio / website and scanned them in!

The front page is very different and unique, with various illustrations scattered across the page of work he has done. It makes me want to click on all the different illustrations and see where it will take me. I particularly like ‘I made a paper toy download and print’ and ‘I designed a fancy Doctor Who set check it out’ illustration. As you scroll across each illustration, it transforms from a pencil like grey to a pop of colour bringing the image to life.

However the front page was only the beginning of all the magical illustrations that were yet to be discovered. Once I clicked on the ‘new illustrations check them out’ drawing, I was (gladly) drawn to the text ‘Wild Animals, Dressed as Farm Animals’ and clicked onto it straight away. To my amusement I came across a whole bunch of hilarious drawings of, what simply was’ wild animals, dressed as farm animals.’ My favourites are the ‘pigorilla’ the ‘snorse’ and the ‘bunnligator.’ Bizarre yet hilarious. Take a look here and see what delightful distorted animal is your favourite!


“Sculptural Photo Albums”

Courtesy of FastCoDesign, I came across this cleverly designed photo album, a corner of which doubles as a stand, allowing it to balance upright in a striking pose. The unusual, dynamic design of “The Whole Story” encourages people to pick it up and leaf through, physically engaging with snapshot memories of their lives and others. Despite the stonking price tag, it’s designer Debra Folz’s intention is admirable; to change our current cursory engagement with digital photography (albeit the range of interactive iPad / iPhone photo albums and similar gadgets) and the way images are shared – placing them into the hands of friends and family has more emotional resonance than simply e-mailing or posting links, surely?

Check it out here.


Stitched Illustrations – Peter Crawley

I thought I’d share this, courtesy of the chaps at It’s Nice That. Peter Crawley stitches illustrations into watercolour paper with a pin, needle and cotton thread; the elaborate images and precise lines look more like a digital printout than embroidery. His architectural illustrations are stunning, even more so when you take a closer look at their humble stitch makings. Take a look at “Architectural Reflections”, where the thread has been left dangling under the image to depict what look like roots under the earth. This combination of almost photo realistic imagery with the evidence of its handcrafted origins, integral to the concept of the piece, demonstrates the extraordinary capabilities and visual effects possible from paper and crafted works – comforting in this era of rapidly developing digital mediums.

Image courtesy of



“Look after your spines, book designers”

Courtesy of the Creative Review blog, I’ve just been reading about how book spines are often neglected when designing covers, and the importance of their appearance when on bookshelves (after all, that’s the portion potential buyers or aesthetically conscious owners often see first). We’re currently in the process of designing a slipcase template for series of eBooks, which will lend a much needed physicality – transforming them int0 stable, store-able artifacts, rather than handfuls of booklets. The studio is overrun with vast quantities of eBooks produced over the years, and these will provide a handy organisation system, as well as looking swish. As for the spines, we’re bound by certain template constraints, but they’ll surely surpass some of the clangers featured here.

inspiration making sharing

IDEO’s The Future of the Book

On the fabulous The Literary Platform I came across this video Ideo have produced showing three concepts they have created around the future of the book. I love Ideo, they consistently come up with inventive and imaginative technological developments that take account of social factors and personal practices. However, I have to say, I am disappointed with their ideas for the future of the book and I’m surprised that they appear to have overlooked so many of the interesting questions around books as objects, the challenges of e-Readers and the augmented reading experience that are currently being considering in so much detail by others.

All three of the concept designs (called Newton, Coupland and Alice) are shown as prototypes for the iPad. This suggests to me that the idea that a book might be a souvenir of an experience (e.g. James Bridle) or an object for sharing (e.g. Bookcrossing) does not appear to have been considered in the design process. In my exploration of augmented reading over the past few months I have come to think of a book as the amalgamation of object, content, design, distribution method, author and reader. It might be getting a little pedantic but I would say that what Ideo have produced are prototypes for the Future of Reading rather than the Future of the Book.

So what will this future reading experience be? We are offered three versions.

Newton might best be described as an application for managing material already published on the Internet. It allows you to collate, compare and contrast different sources and materials around a particular topic.

Coupland is a form of book-related user-generated content and social network. Reading lists and recommendations can be compiled and shared allowing everyone to see and comment on the most popular books within a professional network. Individuals can contribute book reviews and content can be shared between different organisations and networks.

Alice combines hypertext, hypermedia and location-based services to create an augmented, reader-created narrative path through a story. Primarily presented as text-based Alice suggests that readers actions (in the example, tilting the iPad in a particular direction) might open up new branches to the story. Other actions might include being in a specific location where a particular set of GPS co-ordinates would trigger more of the story.

One of the most interesting aspects to me is how these future ‘books’ conceive of authors. While all three concepts require authors for the ‘book’ to be complete they each have a different model. Newton relies on writers who are producing content elsewhere on the Internet and Coupland relies on people within an organisation creating content for the ‘book’. Only Alice has bespoke writing and a dedicated author at the heart of the project which is then augmented by existing content. These approaches to authorship are not new of course but I find it fascinating that Ideo consider all of them to be examples of ‘books’ and I wonder how these fit with my concept of book-as-object-plus-content-plus-design-plus-distribution method-plus-reader. I can’t help feeling that the ecology of books is broader and more diverse than these concept designs acknowledge.

ps. There’s a fascinating commentary and discussion going on around this video at