Finalist in the Young Designer of the Year awards Anna Egan-Reid (Little and Friday, Pie, Love & Money) had a chat with us about her experience as a book designer.
Can you describe your design style in three words?
Sensitive, tasteful and enduring.
First paid commission as a book designer?
I can't remember exactly. I think the first complete package I did was Can We Help it if We're Fabulous by Peta Mathias. It was a lot of fun to work on, especially as it was the first time that I designed everything: the jacket, inside jacket, cover and internals, as well as creating the illustrations. I was very happy with the result.
A dream project for me would be one with a demanding brief that pushes me to my limits while giving me the creative freedom to explore what those limits are.
What book inspires you with its design?
I can't single out one book, there are so many books that inspire me. I'm constantly buying books based solely on their design, even when the content is not necessarily of interest to me.
How much freedom do you usually have with a brief?
That depends entirely on the project. If the publisher/author has a clear idea in their head of what they want, the brief can be very comprehensive so I'll be guided by their suggestions; other times they'll just point me in a vague direction and say 'go for it'.
Do you get to read the books before you start designing?
The time usually isn't there to read the whole book but it is important to read a synopsis and a few chapters to get a feel for the tone and shape of the book, so that that can be reflected in the design.
Do you specialise in book design? How did you start?
I do specialise in book design, although I'm being asked more and more to take on other design projects (branding etc). My parents owned a book production company so that's how I got into it. I was taught by my mother who is one of the best tutors a young designer could have. She and I have a shared passion for design and typography.
Are you involved with every design decision?
This varies from book to book. Some projects are more collaborative than others but I do have clients who like me to take care of all design decisions. I love selecting the paper stock, head and tail bands, treatments and embellishments. It's like putting the icing on the cake!
Visit the PANZ Book Design Awards website for more information, including the full shortlist.