Q & A : Mark Askam (Designer)

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Q & A : Mark Askam (Designer)

1grifgon
maj 31, 2023, 12:31 pm

I thought it would be nice to start Q & A threads with the craftspeople who will be making The Tale of Sinuhe. While we can't hover over their shoulders as they do their work, we can ask them questions about it, and hopefully learn something about the process.

Mark Askam, who is designing and digitally typesetting The Tale of Sinuhe, has agreed!

So, members, if you have any questions for Mark, this is the place for them.

2Esoterics
Redigeret: maj 31, 2023, 8:14 pm

Is there a preferred software used for digital typesetting and design?

3ChestnutPress
jun 1, 2023, 1:11 am

>2 Esoterics: If the piece is short, then my preference is to use Adobe Illustrator, which is an unusual choice to some, but for me has some ‘finer point’ advantages. It is the most accurate way to do any design and setting, where I particularly love how I can go in and do the most microscopic of typographic edits with an ease not found in other programmes. When dealing with a long text, I use the industry standard Adobe InDesign.

4Shadekeep
jun 1, 2023, 11:48 am

Do you have a particular layout, such as the Van de Graaf Canon, that is your go-to? Or do you treat each book as a blank slate and design the layout from scratch based on the contents? Or something in-between?

5ChestnutPress
Redigeret: jun 1, 2023, 2:09 pm

>4 Shadekeep: Generally speaking, I work on a ‘blank slate’, treating any given design as I see fit for the contents. Believe it or not, I very rarely use any of the ‘classic’ layout formulas, but prefer instead to work by eye. I’d rather create something that comes naturally to my eyes rather than restricting what I do with a rigidly templated approach. And it must work fine as I still get asked to do stuff for people!

Having said that, this edition is being set based around one of the canons, as that was part of the original proposal outline given at the start. The rules of the setting will need to be bent a little, as the poem is a really awkward one with extreme variation of line lengths, including a good few ridiculously long lines. But, to honour the proposer’s intention, I shall aim at a very close visual approximation.

6Shadekeep
jun 1, 2023, 1:52 pm

>5 ChestnutPress: Good answer, thanks! My own design work tends to be bespoke as well, rather than fitting everything into a comfortable pattern. That being said, the classic designs are a classic for a reason, and I'll use them when they suit.

7ChestnutPress
Redigeret: jun 1, 2023, 2:07 pm

>6 Shadekeep: They are indeed classic for a reason, but they are far from the only viable answer to the presentation of text on a page. This is where I think I differ from several other typographic purists. I am extremely precious about typography and the aesthetics of the page, but over the last couple of decades of designing, I have learned that a fine setting does not have to rely on any of the canon rules.

8Shadekeep
jun 1, 2023, 2:41 pm

>7 ChestnutPress: I think in any field of endeavour, including the creative arts, there are mechanics and there are artists. Mechanics rely on the tried and true rules, and artists experiment and innovate. Most of us are a percentile of each, weighted more towards one end or the other, which is why pairing the right person with the right project makes magic happen.

9ultrarightist
jun 2, 2023, 11:05 am

Which typesetting methodology gives the typographer / designer more flexibility and freedom - hand-set type or digital typesetting?

10ChestnutPress
jun 2, 2023, 1:42 pm

>9 ultrarightist: Digital, without a doubt

11Glacierman
jun 2, 2023, 4:32 pm

>5 ChestnutPress: The rules of the setting will need to be bent a little, as the poem is a really awkward one with extreme variation of line lengths, including a good few ridiculously long lines. But, to honour the proposer’s intention, I shall aim at a very close visual approximation.

It does have some lucdicrously long lines! And as there are no hard and fast "rules" in typographic design, bend away!

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