Creating Design Magic
"For the interior, I want to do justice to the text: I want it to be readable, with text and art in sync with each other," she says. A book's interior, notes Burger, is an intimate space "that needs to strike a balance, to enhance the subject without overwhelming the content or distracting the reader." The learning curve for the designer is slow, Burger notes, since a book's production cycle typically spans a year or more. When she finally sees the completed product, she may learn, for example, that a page design that was perfect as a single layout looks different in a trimmed, bound book. "A finished book is a three-dimensional object, and the design changes when viewed as a sequence of pages," Burger points out. "That's one of the reasons why making books is challenging--with each project ... I know that I can make a better book than the last time."
Design, Burger speculates, is a mix of inspiration ("When ideas come at random moments") and careful, hard work. Especially in the beginning of a project, she takes thorough notes so she can recall the details later. Although close to 2/3 of all of her daily communication is done via e-mail, a face-to-face conversation often works best, especially when a third party is involved. "Being in close communication ... helps us avoid mistakes, and gives flexibility," Burger explains. "For example, I might find that a deadline for a certain design stage can be negotiated ... which it almost always can be. And if it can't, I need to know that, too."
In Burger's opinion, technological advances have redefined the role of designer, and in the process made books a more desirable commodity. "The range of book design in stores these days is truly exciting. The computer brings a lot more people into the field," she states. "It's made the process more immediate."