A few months ago I was chatting to William Shaw, Web Editor for London Design Festival about an interview I had done for him. “You do know you’ve got a book on your hands, don’t you?” he said.

Interviews

I stared at him blankly. He went on to explain that he thought the collection of interviews I had on my blog, and in the pipeline, would made a book that people might  be interested in reading. This thought got me pretty excited. I’ve wanted to publish a book since I was about five years old. (My primary school teacher Mrs Green will vouch for that!)

Now, I am very lucky to have some very talented people in my life, so the the first thing I did was to speak to my lovely step-sister Clare Howdle, who runs Telltales, a monthly night in Falmouth ‘for readers, writers and listeners.’ She published The Parabola Project last year, a collection of writing from Telltales together with images from local image-makers. She was kind enough to explain the process she’d gone through. During that call, her other half, the equally lovely Zander Grinfeld, who runs Venn Creative  started bouncing up and down in the background, with excited offers of help. It turns out as well as being a fantastic web designer, he also designs books! I asked him the killer question. Could we have it ready in time for London Design Festival? Given that we were having this conversation in mid-July, it was going to be tight, but Zander was up for the challenge.

Piles of marked-up paper

 

He gave me until mid-August to get all the content to him, so I started pulling copy together and editing it, being careful not to edit too much, because I wanted the personality of the eighteen designers I had interviewed to come across. I also spent a lot of time making sure I had the right photography permissions (a massive thank you to everyone who helped me with that), before I supplied any images. I ordered the interviews and alphabetically and decided not to introduce the designers, but to just let the interviews stand alone. With such a range of designers from one who graduated this week to others who are usually introduced as “the Godfather of…” I felt that was more democratic – and more interesting.  Then in August, I went flying down to Cornwall to see the first designs and to the relief of all involved, including me, I absolutely loved them!

One spread of the first design

Early design - double page spread

So with designs approved, Zander got to work and soon had a whole book for me to approve. Lots and lots of proof reading and late nights later, we were ready to go to print. Zander used a local printer, R Booth Ltd who did an amazing job. Here are a few pictures of the printing process for the especially geeky…

One of the printing plates

Loading the plate into the printer

 

In the printer

And of course a book design, meant a blog redesign, a new logo, new business cards…

Pile of new business cards

Then the anxious wait until they arrived on the morning of the first day of the London Design Festival – the excitement was almost too much to bear!

The books in a box, just arrived

In the meantime of course I had been spending lots of time talking to bookshops, design shops and pop-up shops about whether they’d like to stock my book and I’m pleased to report that within 24 hours of the first 100 books arriving, 85 of them were safely deposited with Design Diversions, Lifestyle Bazaar, Dezeen Space, Today’s Specials, Theo & Friends Pop Up and the V&A book shop and V&A Reading Rooms.

Interviews at Dezeen Space

On a shelf at Lifestyle Bazaar

Interviews on Today's Specials stand

And more copies will be winging their way to Scene Shop x designjunction, Outline Editions, and the Design Museum Shop in the coming week.  And of course, you can buy them right here too.

It has all been very very exciting, and I’m looking forward to celebrating with all the contributors and everybody helped out on Wednesday at the launch party!