Guest Lecture: Victoria Forrest – Design

Guest lecture – Victoria Forrest

12 June 2018, 1330 hrs

From contemporaneous notes


Forrest outlined five principles which she employs during the process of design:

1). Identify your audience


2). Choose a format appropriate to the audience

This could be a pdf, book, pamphlet, postcard – key point is appropriateness to the audience


3). Use the edit for the narrative

The edited narrative needs to fit with the chosen format

There is a difference between the story the photographer wants to tell, and the story the photographs are able to tell

Always print out, it enables you to see what you have to work with, it also highlights the difference between what the photographer wants to say, and what can be seen and is working

Wider edit – images which are not brilliant but really useful as hinges to use to make the narrative flow for the objective reader, these are brilliant for helping the reader understand the transition from one part of the story to another


4). Design to enhance the message

The overall design is not just an aesthetic, it has an important function of communication

The design is used communicate not only what is said but the order and the tone with which it is read and understood

Size, colour, etc. all allow you the reader to enter the narrative at different points

Case study: Remote Scottish Post Boxes (Parr, 2017)

The packaging for the publication is designed around the concept of the photography, i.e. the slip case is pillar box red and black, front and back respectively

A gloss lamination evokes a sense of the cast iron construction of post boxes

Typography emulates the typography found on post boxes

The series of books are designed to look like letters inside a post box

A postcard edition was packaged in a box modelled on a post box – underlining the very purpose of the post box

Two limited editions featured either two or four prints, with these being packaged in envelopes resembling letters for posting, the envelopes themselves featuring unused, unfranked second hand vintage stamps

Mechanics of page layouts – try to achieve consistency throughout

Don’t be afraid of a very simple page layout – vibrancy and message come from the images themselves and not how they are laid out

Subtleties should be in the photography, not the page layouts

Designs and layouts arising from collaboration between the photography and the publisher can be varied and complex

Designs from a publishing house can be more staid


5). Document and promote

General points

The evaluation process for interactive digital imaging is different to the evaluation process for prints

Books are linear, interactive books aren’t, however, the starting point needs to be the same

Self-publishing – there can be a quality issue

Should the work be published?

This comes down to editorial acumen

500 units for a publication is manageable, 5000 units is not

A common publishing pitfall is unit price – beware of hidden costs

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