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Monday, July 11, 2011

INTERVIEW: Emma Holder

One of the best things about having a Tumblr addition (and addiction?) for To Be Shelved is the awesome work and talent I've found through my followers. One of those awesome designers is Emma Holder, a recent graduate of Bradley University who has "the ability to have 20 ideas at once, a semi-reliance on coffee and a knack for taking things one step too far".

Emma recently created a nerd-friendly book collection for high school students called Thick Rim Books. I'm happy to share a small e-mail interview we did and some of her work.
 
To Be Shelved: How did you come up with the concept for Thick Rim Books?
Emma Holder: While finishing up my portfolio this past year, we were encouraged to revisit past projects and take them in any direction we wanted; since I hadn't had the opportunity to design book covers since my second year, I though I would give it another shot. I'm also very interested in identity design, so I wanted to work with a set of books which I would be able to brand as a unique, cohesive unit. I think it's kind of standard to look to the classics when designing book covers, and I was noticing that many of the titles I wanted to design for were ones I had first encountered in my high school English classes. This got me thinking about what I would have wanted in a book when I was reading them the first time around, not just for pleasure, but for the imminent tests, quizzes and papers that were sure to be in the future. And that is how I decided on a set of books for students like myself, who underline passages, scribble in the margins, and let's just say it - are kind of nerds.

TBS: Why did you choose to target AP English books?
EH: Like I mentioned, a lot of my favorites are books I read in high school, and I figured if anyone is likely to be a little nerdy over books in high school, it would be students preparing for AP English exams.
TBS: Can you tell me about the process you went through designing these covers?
EH: Because I was looking at the books as part of a set, I began by designing for the overall brand of Thick Rim Books (logo, etc), and moved on from there.
I thought the old-school academic feel of the tweed-y plaids and argyle would sit well with my audience, and I decided to keep the covers minimal, while still hinting at their content, by using a cut-out shape referencing the book (a pig for Animal Farm, Gatsby's car for The Great Gatsby, etc.). Honestly, once I had one of the set, the others fell in place pretty easily - the hardest part was that I had created too many patterns, and had to choose only three to use!

TBS: How did you find designing a book cover to be different than designing an advertising campaign or a poster?
EH: The nice thing about this particular project was that the target market was, essentially, myself. So I had a lot of freedom that way. In general, though, I think that books are very personal
in ways that advertising or posters aren't, usually. And since I already knew the books pretty thoroughly, a lot of elements came naturally; there are always so many different things to consider in design, already being familiar with the content and audience lightened the load a bit.

TBS: What's next for Emma Holder?
EH: I am a recent grad, so naturally I am on the prowl for gainful employment - which means the next thing for me is completely up in the air! To keep myself busy while I search, I have been setting myself imaginary briefs for local businesses, and giving them entirely new identities. I also read a lot.

To view more of Emma's work, CLICK HERE. She's done a lot of nice things outside of the book cover realm so I definitely encourage you to check those out as well.

1 comments:

Courtney Michele said...

Wow! I love her designs. I'd love to own these!

xox Courtney Michele
Breakfast in Wonderland

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