Exercise 2

Planning your workflow

This brief asked me to use the notes in the course materials as a guide and spend some time planning my workflow. I need to consider, realistically, how much time I have to complete this project and how much time I can allow myself for each stage of the process. There are certain elements that might need some coordination as soon as possible – for example, depending on printers and the time frames involved.

I started by looking at each phase of the project and thinking in detail about what would need to be done. I have a total of 9 weeks to complete this final part, alongside full-time work and other commitments too. I also have to account for the time to complete the final 3 exercises too.

Lockdown restrictions are gradually lifting, but shops generally still aren’t open. My local printer allows one person in at a time to collect orders, but they are not having tours or visitors. I’m planning to explore online options for printing because of this, but I will still factor in plenty of time to allow for ordering, production and delivery.

Below is my estimate for how long each part of the assignment will take me and some initial thoughts about each section.

Phase 1: Scoping

I am hoping this will only take me about two weeks. I have already started researching options for printing and, using my experience from other parts of the course, I have a better idea of how the project will be structured. Creating this very timeframe is part of the planning process.

I’ll be detailing what needs to be done and how it needs to be done after reading the assignment brief in detail and breaking this down (I usually spend time doing this in my sketchbook, as it helps to write things down). Already, I have a few ideas already based on artists’ books that have inspired me and the parts of book design that I enjoyed the most. I’ll need to go through a proper process of ideas generation and determine my final focus, so I can create a clear plan.

I’m interested in using a combination of traditional and digital methods for my final book; I feel like I have thrown myself into digital methods during this course and would like to show what I’ve learnt in this assignment. However, traditional methods have always appealed to me – and they are my strength because I’ve been using them and developing them for much longer – so it seems sensible to combine the two. It can be really visually interesting to mix up traditional and digital methods, so I’m hoping for a book that is different and eye-catching.

Research will focus on how I’m actually going to make and produce the book, and also the content of the book. After briefly exploring the assignment task, I’ve been noting down ideas, inspirational artists and areas to research – these will all help with my ideas development and focus for the book. I also need to consider where I’m outsourcing the printing/binding process and the costs involved.

Phase 2: Creating content

I’m hoping to spend about two weeks creating content after the ideas generation, scoping and research. For this assignment, I want to create my own content – writing and images. I’ve been inspired by collage recently, so I will be considering whether some magazine/newspaper images or my old artwork collaged could work for what I want to achieve in this assignment. I could also do some drawing or painting. When editing my hand-made images, I’m going to make sure they are high quality and saved as CMYK.

In terms of writing, I have been really inspired by Delpha Hudson, who worked with her old diaries, and am thinking about ways to use some of my own old writing to inspire this project. I want to do some more research on this. I also adored learning about typography and concrete poets, so I have ordered another book about visual poetry and hoping to discover more about this.

Phase 3: Design          

This is a process I will probably be considering before content creation or during the creation, as I’ll want to know roughly how my content will be used on the pages. I’ll probably start by creating some thumbnail sketches of page layouts (the course materials specify creating a sample page) during the content creation process, so the two phases are running parallel and working together. Once I’ve played around with layout, I’ll need to create a flatplan with the desired structure ready for digitally setting up each page with the content.

I’m hoping that type choice will come into play early in my assignment, while I’m looking at my written material. I’m keen to carefully consider my type choices and how these will help communicate the content. My arrangement will also be vital – concrete poets are focused on layout and arrangement of their words or letters across the page. Overall, I think this phase will merge a little with my content creation, but I’m hoping this will take me about two weeks in total.

Phase 4: Pre-production

To prepare for printing, I’ll need to proof my book. This will involve printing a copy of the pages on my home printer and checking for any errors. I’ll probably involve my household in this too – just to get some fresh eyes on the pages to see if they can spot any mistakes. I always make sure I back up my work on several devices or in multiple locations, so I don’t lose it. I’m planning for the pre-production stage to take a couple of days. This also includes having all my files ready to send to a printer.

Phase 5: Printing and production

Finally, I’ll need to print copies of my book. In the initial scoping phase, I’ll confirm which service I’ll be using and ensure I know how long the process will take. If I use my local printers, I know they can complete an order within a week easily, but I might end up trying somewhere else as a result of my research. I’m hoping that the process of instructing the printers, sending the files, and receiving the finished books will take no longer than two weeks (hopefully less).

Summary

This workflow plan gives me some wiggle room and flexibility if something goes wrong or one task takes me longer than expected. I also have the final three exercises to complete, which I am trying to fit around my initial research and ideas for my assignment. Hopefully when I’m purely focusing on the assignment, things will move quicker.

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