Designer guest speaker: Ness Wood

Ness Wood, award-winning book designer, came to speak to our class today.  I wish I could have turned into a sponge to absorb everything she had to say.

Ness Wood works with editors and illustrators, matching them up and making sure everything is working – it’s a collaborative process.  She works with both artwork (getting it scanned correctly, color correct it to match original) and digital artwork (no scans or color correct, have to test proof).

Ness Wood walked us through her design process, which starts with good housekeeping. When working a lot of projects, it’s important to save files properly. title_date_version_pagenumber Organisation is key to starting the design process.

She showed us projects she worked on, from the initial drafts to the final versions. Jampires is my favorite.

A couple of the steps Ness Wood goes through:

  1. lay out text roughly
  2. pick illustrator rough
  3. work out illustrations/text
  4. print out in black and white
  5. see how it flows
  6. maybe rewrite/reposition illustrations

When typesetting a children’s book, it’s good to read it out. You can see how the text should take shape better when you read it out.

A good designer gets the balance between type and image just right. 

Ness Wood sometimes puts the cover in bookshops and takes a photo to see how it would look in reality. You have to imagine how it’ll be seen and where your book will be displayed when you design it.

Recommended designer:

Sarah McIntyre


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