Final Major Project · Photo Books · Research

Book Design & Publishing

Today I have been researching potential book designers & printers in preparation for the photo book I want to produce as part of my FMP. There are loads of options out there, many of which now offer online book design or software you can download to design the books on your own PC. Here’s a quick overview of the 4 companies I have looked into so far…

1. Blurb

Blurb is an online book printing company and was the first one I thought of when I initially decided to make a photo book.

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They offer 3 types of cover options (image wrap, dust jacket, or soft cover) and a range of book sizes.

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They have a few different options for designing your book including Lightroom and InDesign plugins, a PDF to book option and downloadable design software. However, the one that appealed the most to me was the online design option. It saves me having to install new software on my system and seems to be pretty easy to use.

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Overall, I think Blurb is definitely a strong contender as they appear to be good quality, easy to design but above all they are very affordable! I am on quite a tight budget and want to get the best quality possible – with Blurbs books starting from £20.99 for the standard sized landscape format with 20 pages I think they are good quality for money. The downside of using Blurb is that there is no option for a custom sized book which would make it look more unique, and also there is the risk of something designed online not turning out how you expect it to.

2. G.F.Smith

The second company I have been investigating is G.F.Smith. I was first introduced to their work last month when we had a workshop with Chris from Textbook Studios. He brought in some sample books from G.F.Smith and they are extremely good quality with tons of paper, colour, cover and layout options.

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They have an online cost calculator and after quickly putting in some rough decisions on size, paper, and cover I was quoted approx £104. This is significantly more than Blurb but I feel there is more scope for creating something more unique with G.F.Smith. They offer a downloadable software called Make Book for the designing aspect which is really quick and easy to install and seems fairly easy to use…

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Although the books seem to be of very high quality and are all handmad, there is no custom size option again and I don’t think the sizes they are offering are what I had in mind for my own book. I will keep them in mind but at the moment I am not sure if this is the right company for me.

3. Loxely Colour

Loxely colour produce books, albums, framing services and personalised stationery for professional photographers. I first discovered them last year when searching for a company to produce wedding albums for my freelance work.

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They offer a wide range of different book styles, from premium albums to lay-flay books. I have never actually ordered from them yet regarding my wedding albums but they have some good reviews and appear to be of high quality.

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The book type that I have looked into is the Infinity Coffee Table Book – a hard cover book with lay-flat pages with a choice of sizing formats and paper types. The prices seem quite reasonable at approx £85 for a small landscape format with 30 spreads. Loxely also have a downloadable design software which I already have installed on my laptop which makes it very simple to design and order books from them.

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Loxely seem like a good option at the moment but I don’t know yet how many page spreads I will need. 30 spreads is the maximum you can have with the Infinity Coffee Table Book, so this may be a problem if I need more pages.

4. Jeremy Mills

Jeremy Mills is a publishing, design & print company based in Huddersfield. A few students who graduated last year have spoken about using them for their photo books and said how happy they were with the final products.

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The great thing about using a local printer is the fact you can physically go into their studio and talk face to face with designers to get exactly what you want. I feel like it will be really helpful to talk about my ideas to the people who will be making my book – it also allows me to be more creative and not restricted with sizing and layout. There isn’t much information on their website about costs so I think over the next few days I will email or call them and see what sort of price range I can expect from them.

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Using a local printer is a very appealing idea, but it depends on the costs and their availability as to whether I will decide to use them or not.

At the moment I think it is between Blurb, Loxely, and Jeremy Mills. I have ruled out G.F.Smith on the grounds that they are slightly above my budget and there is no custom size option. If I can work out how many page spreads I will need and it is no more than 30 then I will most likely rule out Blurb as well, leaving Loxley and Jeremy Mills. More research is needed and I will also see if there are any more potential companies that I could use…




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