Ellipsis: The Dummy

As a part of the leads team, Puro and I met up today so we could produce a few dummy books to get an idea of how much paper we could fit on a spiral and test out cover ideas.

However, before we started putting books together we needed to cut down the A3 paper into A5 sheets so we could bind these into accurate representations of the books we were aiming to make. So Damien showed us how to use the electric guillotine (which I hadn’t even seen since my first year of uni so I had no idea we even still had this!). It was a safe and easy machine to use however once we came to binding the books together we worked out it maybe wasn’t accurate enough to bind all 300 copies of our Anthology as the sheets weren’t all exactly A5.

Binding the sheets simply involved punching the holes to then put a plastic spiral through the holes. Oh, wait, no it wasn’t as simple as that at all! The process is time-consuming for one, which I think in a group of maybe 4 or 5, to begin with, would be fine. Me and Puro discussed one person punching the holes while another hands them the sections of the paper, another one realigning the sheets and putting a clip on them while the final person then threads the spirals through by hand. We found that because we would be using a lot of sheets the binding machine wouldn’t thread the spirals through and doing this by hand means there would be a production line going ahead and would, in the long run, take up less time.

After punching holes, we worked on a few different cover ideas and it was safe to say the pair of us had our favourite which we’re ready to pitch to the studio and client for the project!

  • Standard Wire-O: This type of binding is standard and in many respects the least thoughtful method of putting together the publication we both felt. It’s simply binding the loose sheets with a thicker stock either side and leaves the spirals exposed. Much of the studio didn’t like the idea of using the spiral binding for this project so I know that I’d personally like to avoid this cover idea because of the exposed spirals and the more DIY feel to the book this would imply.
  • Concealed Wire-O in soft cover: Safe to stay this was both of our favourite cover mock-ups because in many ways it was the most simple but that meant that the book looked really polished in comparison with the other dummies. This binding had a sheet glued to the back sheet of card which then folded over to the front which concealed the spirals and created a spine which for us is the selling point! 
  • Reverse fold standard Wire-O: This binding was really good for designing extra elements because as well as designing a front and back cover, inside front and back cover there would also be the design of a spine, inside spine? and another inside sheet which could be used for credits or acknowledgements. I felt putting this together was a little tricky when cutting the spirals down at the end but still doable with a bit of planning and teamwork!
  • Half Canadian Wire-O: I felt that this was the most difficult cover to put together and at the end when we compared all the covers I actually didn’t see the point in all the stress of making it… Basically, this cover produced a spine and covered the spirals on one side but left a small section of them exposed on the back. But for all the added stress of ensuring you score the correct measurements to get the spine and covers correct it just didn’t feel worth it as it looked ‘DIY’ still.

Producing dummy books was definitely a good idea because it gave us an insight into how we should think about the production and assembly of all the publications. At the end of the session, we made our own copies of the concealed Wire-O in a soft cover design which included a gatefold which I think were impressive (I impressed my step-dad with the finished book anyway!). Between us, we’ve thought about pros and cons to all the designs and I think it’ll help us to design covers to pitch to our clients in a couple of weeks. Our next step is discussing these findings with Angharad and the other production leads to make a decision.

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