A Life in Frocks

Murdoch Books
2010, 1, pp. 1 - 256
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'Visual writing' or 'hybrid books' is an emerging area of research within visual communication. Increasingly, both publishers and the book design community are recognizing that hybrid books are a powerful form of visually communicating content that traditionally has been presented as text-heavy. This project was a direct result of a public presentation about my doctoral research at the Sydney Writers' Festival (23 May 2010). The publisher, Colette Vella from Murdoch Books, approached me to design this book after seeing my presentation. Murdoch were looking for an innovative design approach for the presentation of an autobiography told through fashion. I worked closely with the publisher, editor and author to produce a 'hybrid book' - the design and illustrations are an integral part of the book as a whole. There are 32 original illustrations that pick up key themes or images from the writing, as well as an illustrated cover and French-fold dust jacket. I spent several days photographing the author's wardrobe and talking to her about the particulars of her outfits to communicate in an informed aesthetic way. I typeset the whole book to closely control the relationship between image and typography. This book won an Australian Publishers' Association award for the Best Design Non-Fiction book, 2010. Now in its 60th year, the APA Book Design Awards recognise excellence and innovation in Australian book design and are highly regarded by industry.
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