I was asked to take part in a book design creative pitch in April for a joint venture business, Balfour Beatty Mott MacDonald (BBMM). This particular joint venture, part owned by Balfour Beatty, was based in Kent and was responsible for managing and maintaining the road network known as Area 4 for Highways England in and around Kent. The purpose of the book was to celebrate their achievements over the last 13 years. The book had to be designed, printed and delivered before then.
I’ve worked closely for various divisions of Balfour Beatty over the year. In particular the current marketing manager of Balfour Beatty, Patrick, so upon arrival I presented my creative solutions to Patrick as well as the project director Christine and communications manager Donna.
The brief for the pitch was a simple one. Demonstrate how two pieces example of content could be shown in two different design styles. Along wth the example content I was also given ideas of content they thought they would like to include.
The creative concept presented was ‘Our journey’. To tell their stories of their incredible journey over the last 13 years. One of the key ideas of the design was to conduct interviews with various colleagues within the business. The design style took inspiration from the visual language of roads and motorways. With sample photographic styles and colours presented, I also specified two typefaces to compliment each other. One for headlines and quotes… a lovely sans serif stencil style typeface that implied road lines, plus the font Transport, used on road signs throughout England for everything else.
I’m a great believer in showing how a book design could work across various spread types. This gives the client a much better idea of how the design could work. So using these ideas, and extensive research I decided to present 6 examples of design, not just the two required.
I was delighted when I was informed I had been successful, and the next step was a meeting in London to discuss the content.
Planning and producing the book design
I love planning design projects like this. I have been fortunate to have designed a number of these over the years for various small to FTSE 100 companies.
The meeting was held over a number of hours at Balfour Beatty in Euston Road, London.
Donna, Patrick and myself mapped out the best articles from the list they had provided and we had a plan. The next step was to arrange the interviews, which were conducted by my copywriter Elizabeth.
With the book design largely untouched from the creative pitch the next stage was to collate and generate as many of the visual assets required to complete the design. This included scouring Flickr for some photography by some exceptionally talented people. Once the copy had been completed, the design was rolled out across the rest of the book.
I’m passionate about making sure all the aspects of any design project as as good as they can be. Usually the photography would be art directed by the designer. But as a commissioned photographer I was able to provide this as I have done to many more to clients. This involved two trips to Kent. One to the head office at Kings Hill, another to a motorway depot. It’s great being able meet the people behind the scenes.
Printing the book
The book was printed on a 100% FSC accredited recycled paper (to satisfy Balfour Beatty’s sustainability criteria). But Christine and Donna wanted a matt feel, so in discussion with the printer (Galloways Printers in Poynton, Cheshire), we applied a matt seal to the print, giving it a luxurious finish. Printed 5 colour throughout, using a Pantone that matched the high visibility jackets they wore, the book was also section sewn. The final flourish was the digitally varnished translucent paper used for the dust jacket, which featured a stylistic map of the roads managed by Area 4.
A superb project to work on and a great end product delivered on time and on brief.