Here at Inkblot, we are pretty proud of the work we do. Want to know our secret? We have an amazing team of freelancers supporting us. They make the wheels go ’round and put smiles on our faces and the faces of our clients. To show our enthusiasm for this wealth of talent, we will be sharing short interviews so you can get to know them too.
Today we’d like to introduce Rachel Valliere, designer extraordinaire.
She was kind enough to answer a few questions for us.
How did you get into book design and composition?
I got into book design right out of college, when I landed a job as a book designer for a self-publishing company. I actually have a journalism degree, but I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do when I graduated, and the job market was really tough at that time. An opportunity arose, and I liked the idea of working in publishing. I have always loved books—from the words and design down to the smell of the pages. The infinite variety and possibilities never cease to amaze me. Ever since I saw Beauty and the Beast as a little girl, I have dreamed of having a library in my house—complete with floor-to-ceiling shelves (and obviously a sliding ladder). I love reading and writing, and have always enjoyed art as a hobby, so designing books turned out to be a great combination of things I love.
What is the hardest part about designing a book?
It’s hard to say, but sometimes I think the hardest part is keeping everything across a project organized and consistent. There are so many elements that go into a book design, and everything needs to work together. The design elements—from cover to interior, images to typography—need to be cohesive with each other and also support and supplement the textual content and meaning/purpose of the work. You have to pay attention to lots of minute details but also keep the big, integrated picture in mind.
What advice would you give to others who want to pursue a career in book design?
You’ll definitely need to know Adobe InDesign and Photoshop. Other programs are useful as well, but those are the two must-haves. Having good typography skills is also really important. There are tons of books and online resources to help with that. Also, spend time in book stores (if you’re interested in being a book designer, this will probably be fun!). It’s really helpful to immerse yourself in current design trends and try to look at books from the perspective of the reader or buyer. To help build your portfolio, you can redesign the covers of your favorite books.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
a cowgirl 🙂
What is your favorite book?
You mean aside from Harry Potter, of course? The Smoke Jumper, by Nicholas Evans.
Thank you, Rachel, for sharing a bit about yourself. And thanks for being part of the Inkblot family!