Words in Focus

landscapes of Surrey

The Brief

Surrey County Council Library Service were running a competition calling for local photographers, poets and library users to enter their work with the winners work to be published in a book. The subject for the photography was Surrey landscapes whilst the poetry had an open brief.

Contact was made between the Library Service and Hurtwood Press and we worked together to create the book of the winning entries. Once completed, the book would showcase the work by going ‘on tour’ in Surrey’s libraries before reaching its final destination in the Surrey History Centre where it will have a permanent home in the archive.

The Challenge

As entries were to be submitted on-line we worked closely with the Library Service in advance to ensure both that the images were supplied at high enough resolution for good reproduction in the book and also that all the entries came to us in a recognised and usable format.

The flow of the book was important, as was the juxtaposition of the images and text on the page spreads. Images were placed by season, or by colour and tone so there is a narrative as you travel through the pages. The poetry had an open brief so did not necessarily correspond or ‘fit’ with a particular image. Our challenge was to pull out elements from the text that would link in some way to its neighbouring image.

We chose our landscape format, perfect for the images, but such a format can be more of a challenge for the poetry as verse is more usually typeset on a portrait page. However, as the photography was ‘leading’ there had to be an element of compromise and for the longer poems this meant we set in columns.

The details

‘Artisan Book’ landscape format of 235 x 300mm and 144 pages of text.

It is a hardback book, with pages sewn in sections and hand bound in ‘Tiber’ dark blue linen. It has a printed label set into a debossed panel on the front cover. It was printed on176gsm Mohawk Superfine Eggshell paper which is certified as archival by the US Library of Congress.


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