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Best practices for designing your cookbook

I attended the IFBC (International Food Blogger Conference) last fall, and sat in on a plethora of interesting and valuable sessions on how to cook for, write, photograph, and market my blog or cookbook, but I found a slight gap in the itinerary. There seems to be a lot of information out there on how to conceive of and publish your work, but very little on the process that falls in between: how to create a visually appealing product.

I love food as much as I do book design, so a good cookbook exemplifies both of these parts of me. But as much as I relish the medium, I am even more critical when a book is presented in poor design. Even if the recipes are sound, if the pages are not visually appealing—much like your finished recipes should be on the plate—then I am not hungry nor inspired.

Think about how often you notice the design of a book. Probably not very, unless something has gone awry—a typeface that is contradictory to the tone of the book; type that’s too small/large with poorly justified lines; low-quality photos and illustrations—any of these can detract from the beauty that is your prose.

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Dust, must, ink and sweat

 

Relishing Caldwell’s Carnegie Library

I can still remember the smell of the first library I ever visited. Caldwell’s Carnegie Library was built in 1913 by an undocumented architect. It’s brick facade and deep portico entrance is still iconic in Caldwell, as the building sits stately on the main street that goes out of town. My sole memory of this library is the children’s section in the basement. I remember making my way down the concrete steps to the outdoor, separate entrance on the side of the building. The offices and adult sections were on the main floor, and honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever been through the main entrance of the building. It was traded in the mid 70’s for the new building, and I was still so young, that the children’s section was all that was important at the time. My great-aunt gave me my first libary card, and would take me and my sister there after school for readings and puppet shows. The deal was that we never left with fewer than 3 books each. Read more

Design Love: Business Card-palooza at the IFBC

As a graphic designer, it’s in my nature to be drawn to good design, and I feel that business cards can be little works of art if done right. So in addition to meeting some fabulous people at the IFBC in Portland, I also collected a slew of creative cards that I’ll file away as inspiration for future designs. I especially love the ones with the photos on the back. Those may have to go up collage-style on my bulletin board in my office.

Tip of the weekend: don’t dismiss that badge hanging around your neck at your next conference. It most likely is a plastic sleeve, so store your own cards behind your badge so they’re close at hand. It took all of ten minutes for me to tire of diving into my bag to get a card, and this convenient trick made networking much more streamlined.