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Design Course

This course aims to help students hone their talent and understanding of design for publishing, building on existing skillsets to allow them to develop further as a design professional.

Aimed at creatives who have a demonstrable interested in design e.g. as a graduate from a design or illustration degree or someone self-taught considering a career change.

Delivered live, this six week course will give students an in-depth understanding of the publishing process, while focussing on the necessary knowledge and practical skills required to succeed in a design career within publishing. Tasks will be set each week with the result that each student finishes the course with a new piece of design for their portfolio.

The tutors are both industry professionals with established design careers and students will be supported by mentors who are all designers themselves

Week 1

Introductions (2 hours)

The course begins with an introduction from tutors and mentors, each discussing their current roles and career paths to date.

Students are then given a history of book design, an overview of the publishing and design processes and a breakdown of design positions within the industry.

Week 2

Design & Editorial (2 hours)

Students will learn more about the briefing process, how to work with editorial to interrogate a brief and learn what makes a good brief.

We will discuss how to generate initial ideas and how to best to execute them.
There will be an introduction to commissioning freelancers e.g. illustrators/photographers and how to use picture libraries and right-managed images.

Week 3

Design & Sales – Developing work (2 hours)

Week 3 will explore how best to present work for feedback, using students initial work from the task in week 2.

We will discuss how to give and receive constructive criticism and host a mock cover meeting featuring work by course tutors for students to respond to.

We will discuss the impact of consumer insight and the importance of developing an awareness of the market along with an overview of the roles of the Sales and Marketing teams within the publishing process.

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Week 4

Design & Production – Print-ready files (2 hours)

Week 4 will guide students through the different stages involved in preparing files for print, along with an overview of the role of the Production department and printing process. We will consider cover finishes and formats – including the considerations of commercial cost implications v design aesthetic.

Week 5

Design & Colour Books (timings will vary – both classes join for 1 hour with guest speakers followed by a separate class session)

Students will gain an in depth understanding of the processes involved in creating colour books, from art directing and managing photoshoots to type-setting internal pages and working with project editors to ensure everything remains on schedule.


Week 6

Design & Professional Practice (timings will vary – both classes join for 1 hour with guest speakers followed by a separate class session)

The final week of the course will provide an overview of professional practices including:
negotiating contracts/fees, working with internal and external decision makers, self-promotion including portfolio reviews and how to utilise social media.

Reading Resources:

A comprehensive list of further reading resources is also available for enrolled authors to use and absorb in their own time.