Young Designer of the Year finalist: Kate Barraclough

Young Designer of the Year finalist: Kate Barraclough
Q&A with Kate Barraclough, Young Designer of the Year finalist

The shortlist is out for the PANZ Book Design Awards, and we caught up with finalist in the Young Designer of the Year category Kate Barraclough for a quick chat about the world of book design.

What three words describe your style? Contemporary, typographic, elegant.

First paid commission as a book designer? The first book that I took full creative control of was A Treasury of New Zealand Baking. It's still one that I'm quite proud of – and a go to whenever I feel like baking.

What book inspires you with its design? The Tender Spot: The Graphic Design of Mario Lombardo – not only is it a showcase of the work of a magnificent German publication designer, but the layout, production and finer details are all beautiful and carefully thought out. It's always a lovely reminder of how good design is timeless.

How much freedom do you usually have with a brief? It varies depending on the project. Sometimes it can be a very collaborative affair between the author, photographer, editor and myself and other times the brief can be as abstract as three words –​ no one book is the same!

Do you get to read the books before you start designing? Not always, as turn around times can be pretty tight. Because I tend to design non-fiction books the most important thing is getting a clear idea of the style and mood of the text as well as the target audience. Of course, during the layout process it's hard not to read the book!

Do you specialise in book design?How did you start? Yes, it's all I do and I wouldn't trade it for anything! My first job after graduating from university was as the junior designer for Random House – the luckiest break I could have had. Since then I have been working in publishing in London and now freelance from a shared studio space on K'Road.

Dream project? Anything beautifully photographic and big.

Visit the PANZ Book Design Awards website for more information, including the full shortlist.