I recently finished a cookbook cover for Burnt Cheese Press. There will be a Kickstarter launch for this book project next Wednesday, Sept. 30. Author Kathy Strahs has some great rewards lined up... http://8x8cookbook.com/get-the-book/
Below are samples from a book design proposal I just put together. The book is historical non-fiction about a hotel created during the Arts and Crafts movement. The goal was to have the cover and interior have elements that are representative of that time period, but with a more updated feel.
Last week I made my company Interrobang Collective official. My partner, Poppy Milliken, and I received our business license. Even though we've been working together for a while now, it felt like a big step. We've also been working on a new book project, Bagging Groceries: Re-learning Humility in Long-term Recovery by author Dian Greenwood. You can read about the book on our website: InterrobangCollective.com. Below is the (in progress) cover I designed for the book.
I just finished illustrating and designing two infographics for a couple different projects I was working on at CLEAResult. I love the process of looking at the information that needs to be conveyed, and coming up with interesting visual ways of communicating it.
Better late than never. Here are some pics from the book launch of I Am Not a Poet. This is the first book published by Portland's non-profit organization Street Roots. I designed the cover for which the illustration was provided by local art star, Chris Haberman. The book is available at Amazon, and local book stores, including Reading Frenzy - where the launch took place. Buy a copy, and support Street Roots.
Unchaste Readers Series is a women-only literary group that presents readings of poignant, passionate, and sometimes funny poetry, memoirs and short stories around Portland. I recently had the privilege of creating a logo lockup for the series. My inspiration was flames, the female form, vessels, and pods. For more info you can visit their FB page: https://www.facebook.com/UnchasteReaders
I've been working on a lot of ad designs lately. Below is my latest for River Dental. The client first had me create a black and white ad for posting in Natural Awakenings Magazine. Then for the Feb. edition he had me colorize it. Peachy Keen!
Someone emailed me recently requesting to buy a poster of the book cover image I illustrated for the Roosevelt HS anthology, Where the Roses Smell the Best. I wasn't planning on making posters, but thought that was a great idea because I'd heard some people saying they purchased the book for the cover. So, I changed the text a little, and had them printed. Now you can own one, or get one for a Portland loving friend for the holidays. Send me an email if you're interested in purchasing a poster: lorna at lornanakell.com
11X17 archival, autographed print: $35 + shipping
12X18 non-archival, autographed print: $10 + shipping
(Note: the book is available for purchase at Powell's, and several other Portland booksellers.)
Promoting books for non-profit organizations who want to publish can be challenging due to the lack of funding for such projects. Here are some strategies to market and design for these projects on a shoestring budget:
- Think outside the norm. There are several expected collateral items like posters and bookmarks, that are always good to have. But, in order to make a splash in this media saturated world, you have to be a little more creative. Is there an item that is representative of a theme in the book that could be labeled with the website and book cover (like matchbooks or nail polish).
- Think about gorilla marketing strategies. What is something that can be done or placed in people's everyday surroundings that will make them stop and take notice because it is discordant? How about a chalk drawing on the sidewalk, or signs placed in unusual locations.
- Look to your friends and connections for opportunities. Can someone donate an event space? Can you find a way to collaborate and share the media light with a fellow organization?
- Use your volunteers wisely. Volunteers are helping for the love of the organization, to make connections, and to learn. The best way to insure that their eagerness doesn't turn into burnout is to be organized and make communication a priority.
For a book project I'm working on for Street Roots, I conceived of, and created give-aways in the form of small, one-serving coffee bean bags. This was my process: I got the beans and burlap donated by Caffe Vita. I happened to have some plastic baggies on hand from another design project to use to seal in the beans for freshness. I bought black twine to tie the bags off with from Collage on Alberta. I designed the layout for the tags incorporating the art of the illustrator (Chris Haberman) that will be used for the final book cover. I printed and cut all the tags. I cut and sewed all the mini burlap bags, and assembled all the various parts. Total cost: $22 Total woman hours: 17
Below are photos of the end product. They were distributed at Wordstock to promote, I Am Not a Poet (to be launched Feb. 2014).
Connect the dots. That’s what I attempt to achieve with my design work. The dots are product, audience, message, organization identity, and organizational goals. The tools used to connect the dots are research, experimentation, and refinement of concept in execution. The results should contain an element of mystery, a balance between showing and telling, and a layout that portrays a thoughtful and accurate representation of the intention of the design piece.
Design is about supporting the marketing efforts of your client. During the preparation process for working on a book there are several requirements on my checklist: Read the manuscript, know the audience and what they expect from the genre, know what the comparative titles look like, and know how and where the book will be sold. My checklist is very similar when I’m designing collateral. I enjoy doing communications marketing, so when I’m working with an organization like Ooligan Press I’m always asking myself, how else can this publishing house and publishing program reach their intended market? Is there a marketing opportunity that could be capitalized on by conceptualizing and creating a particular piece of collateral? Are there ways the Design Workgroup can help the publishing house be more consistent with its branding efforts (e.g., through the use of color and repetitive design elements, or by always including web addresses and social media information on outreach materials)? It’s important to look at both the small details and the big picture.
From a background working mostly in small-budget organizations I know the importance of having versatility in skills, as well as in design styles. In the design world it’s often important to be able to keep up with the Joneses. In order to continually produce relevant designs, a designer always needs to be looking—at everything. Having been a professional artist for over thirteen years prior to designing and illustrating, I’m in the habit of looking. I apply this same strategy to my design approach. I look at art in galleries, fine art and design magazines, architecture, movies, bookstore layouts, websites, local clothing shops and restaurants, nature, etc. I don’t discriminate, because I never know when I might need to pull from this bank of images.
In book cover design and illustration, I strive to appeal to the visual intelligence of my audience by offering an element of mystery, where appropriate. As in good writing, in visual imagery there also needs to be a balance between the showing and telling of a story. I don’t believe that people like to be told the whole story. Instead, they find making connections between text and image rewarding. Like Chip Kidd said in his Ted Talk, you don’t show a picture of an apple next to the word apple. People’s brains automatically conjure up that picture (Of course, one exception to this rule is children’s books. Learning readers often need a visual cue to reinforce the words they are reading.) Knowing the visual language of the culture for which you are creating, and playing with inventive ways of tapping into a story with visual cues provides a foundation for intelligent storytelling.
Designing book interiors and collateral require using not only a good eye for compositional layout, but also the ability to organize information—creating a hierarchy of text and image that succinctly communicates the message. In both book interiors and collateral design my editorial and copywriting skills have been assets in creating informational systems. Although I wouldn’t consider myself an editor, having basic skills in this area has helped me. Knowing when rules have been broken, and when you can break or slightly alter them is crucial to dealing with text. There have been a number of times my copyediting and proofing skills have helped me add a missing word here, or turn an en dash into an em dash there.
One of the most rewarding aspects about being a student in the PSU Publishing Program and staff at Ooligan Press was the freedom given us to restructure and improve processes, and to create new initiatives. Because the publishing house was considered a “learning press,” as manager I set a goal of connecting the Design Workgroup with design professionals. The impetus was to make sure we continued to learn new skills while keeping up with the press’s production needs. I implemented a process using Flickr for sharing research, and early stages of design work that proved helpful in the design development and critique process. I also reached out to the greater publishing and design community to gain feedback on our designs via critique. Through spearheading the PSU Publishing Program sponsored event, Transmit Culture, I fulfilled a vision of mine to connect Ooligan Press’s student-staff with publishing professionals through on and off campus lectures and panel discussions. My hope was to establish the PSU Publishing Program as a hub for publishing professionals who want to network and learn from one another.
To me, design is more than producing visually appealing layouts. It’s about paying homage to tradition, while embracing innovation. It’s about connecting the dots between people and unifying community. Successful design uses a common language to bring people with similar interests together. In the words of Robert L. Peters, “Design creates culture. Culture shapes values. Values determine the future.”
Thurs. Feb. 21 was the official launch of a new PSU lecture series titled Transmit Culture: A Series of Conversations about Publishing. This is a project that I spearheaded in an attempt to give the publishing community, as well as Publishing Program students, an opportunity to network and share points of view about the future of publishing while hearing from publishing experts. The launch featured a Q&A with Eli Horowitz and Paul Collins - both with ties to McSweeney's. There were over 100 people celebrating the launch at Artist Repertory Theater. The series will continue later in the spring with a panel discussion featuring middle grade and YA publishing professionals.