Proofs of ‘The Making of the Future: Now’ Book

I am very excited to see the proofs of The Making of the Future: Now, the book that I have been designing for the Edinburgh Art Festival 2017 commissions programme. The Making of the Future: Now 'invites artists to reflect on two important anniversaries for our city – the foundation of the first Edinburgh Festival in 1947, and the publication in 1917 of Patrick Geddes’ The Making of the Future: A Manifesto and a Project. Separated by a generation, both were born directly out of the experience of global conflict, and a strong belief that artists could play a critical role in helping societies to imagine new and better ways of living.

Presenting new projects by Scottish and international artists at sites in around Edinburgh’s Old Town, The Making of the Future: Now pays homage to the physical and intellectual legacy of Geddes and the festival in our city, and makes a claim for the continued relevance of their ideas today.’

Artists include: Bobby Niven, Zoë Walker and Neil Bromwich, Toby Paterson, and Shannon Te Ao with 'Garden Residencies’ from Neil Bickerton, Alison Scott, Daisy Lafarge, and Deirdre Nelson.

Whilst I was in the early stages of designing the book, I was very pleased to be invited to visit the Patrick Geddes archive at the Special Collections department at the University of Edinburgh Library to see at first hand some of the fascinating collection of archival material held there, including Gedde’s incredible photographic survey of Edinburgh. My typographic cues for the design of the book were taken from some of the printed material that I saw in the library, and from other printed material, including the 1917 pamphlet of The Making of the Future: A Manifesto and a Project held in the Archives and Special Collections of the University of Strathclyde Library. I was drawn to the unconventional space on either side of the colon on the title of the 1917 pamphlet and used this as a starting point for the typography of the book; the typographic rule that sits beneath the title was inspired by the design of book (see below) about Patrick Geddes in the University of Edinburgh Library (I was thrilled to see that this book carried a bookplate a that said it was from the library of Hugh MacDiarmid).

The cover image of the book is by Toby Paterson, and is a detail of a plan study for The Sociology of Autumn, his new project for The Making of the Future: Now, developed for Chessels Court, just off the Royal Mile. Paterson’s work takes its title from Geddes’ 1895 essay of the same name, in which Geddes finds ‘in Autumn its secret: that of survival yet initiative, of inheritance yet fresh variation’. I am very much looking forward to seeing Toby’s new project for the Festival as I am a big fan of his work and I am delighted that we are using his image on the cover.

I love the journey of the book: how it develops from initial ideas and sample layouts and spreads; how these designs are then populated with copy that, over time – via marked-up PDFs, notes, emails and conversations – is edited and proofed; how images are changed, re-positioned and refined; how from designs made on a screen the book slowly begins to take on a physical presence through paper proofs and printouts; and how through decisions made about paper stock and finishes the book begins to live. It's always exciting to get flat proofs back from the printers – I enjoy the unexpected juxtapositions of images that crop up when pages appear next to other unconnected pages on the same plate; it's always useful to see a bound digital proof (as in the wirebound example above) that shows the book at actual size with the pages in the correct order: as close to the final physical object as it gets.

The proofs have now been approved and the waiting begins. The book is being printed in Edinburgh by Allander and – if all goes well – the book will be delivered on 24 July ahead of the opening of the Art Festival on 27 July. Fingers crossed!

Click here to read more about The Making of The Future: Now
Click here to visit the Edinburgh Art Festival website 




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