The First 10 Days

 Books become liquid.

That is all I feel after the first 10 days of the specialized design classes at the Seagull School of Publishing.

Books have always fascinated me, like they have everyone else here. They impressed me with their sort of finality in approach, as if they have the power of stating something ultimate. That is how I have always seen books. The printed pages, the designed covers, illustrations and the page layouts have always given me a sense of awe, but I was never quite able to solve the mystery that they hold.

How do you design the pages? How you make a cover attractive? What should be the binding? What other rules do you have to follow?—questions were endless, but I never knew where to find the answers. I often dreamt of making something special between the covers, but never realized where to begin.

The very day we sat in the school’s design lab (entirely MAC), these concrete mysteries started to dissolve. Like Hogwarts students, suddenly, we have all become equipped with things that you actually call a ‘magic wand’ or a ‘magic eraser’, with which you can twist a text, turn a picture into something else, make a picture-box with a letter and do many other things that I never even realized happen regularly in book design!

I was most excited to see the layers. The moment the layers become visible, you get a whole new vision about book designing, and possibilities open up inside your head like never before! When you see through these layers, books look different, not as ultimate as their final version that we see from outside and you feel more powerful.

Well, rather than powerful, may be ‘playful’ is the more appropriate expression. And I am waiting eagerly to ‘play’ more!

Amritah Sen

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