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Talking Children’s Book Design at the WI

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Last week, at the Welsh Borough Chapel, (handily round the corner from the Crow’s Nest), the local WI, of which I’m a member, held a book themed evening. They invited me speak alongside Gemma, who is currently writing and compiling an e-book guide for women travelling alone, and Lizzie, a project editor from non-fiction publishers Dorling Kindersley.

I was a little nervous when I arrived; especially once we realized the projector had gone AWOL, leaving my prepared presentation trapped on my USB stick. Thankfully I had a huge bag of books with me and was able to improvise with some beautiful props instead.

I wanted to give some background to Nosy Crow, before I went into the role of a designer. I do feel that as a smaller company we are able to respond more to changes and make decisions quicker, which positively affects the design of the books we make. It’s also been the reason I’ve been given more responsibility and experience as junior than I might otherwise have had at this point in my career.

Then I hopefully offered some insight into how a designer works with the editor and the illustrator (and sometimes author) to create a book. I work in both novelty and picture books so I wanted to highlight the differences in briefing each. I was able to show a few roughs we’d done and compare to the final printed product.

I spend most of my days surrounded by children’s books and so it was refreshing to show the Nosy Crow books to an audience who aren’t. There were a few audible reactions to some of our pops, mechanisms, covers and foils, and I was thrilled to see a lot of people wanting to look through all the books once the talk was over. There was a lot of enthusiasm so I was thankful for such a warm reception.

Thanks to the Borough Belles for having me!

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