Playing with Possibilities

Possibilities. A word that in essence encapsulates the realm of creativity. It is a word that struck me on crossing the threshold of the Seagull School of Publishing, and is reinforced in me everyday while I soak in the experience of aestheticism, among other things here.

I enrolled for the Book Design module of this course because of my interest in graphics and my fascination for the illustrative representation of something that exists in the written form—an idea, theme or story. However, within the first couple of weeks of the Design classes under the tutelage of Sunandini Banerjee, my interest and fascination have given way to a sense of wonder at the creative possibilities that are present in the everyday. Though I must also confess that working on the Macs for the very first time has contributed to the excitement. These classes have rekindled certain sensibilities, made me look at the mundane in a new light and initiated the process of exploring art in and at every possibility.

After the overview classes (for students of both the Editing and the Designing module) on the processes and roles in publishing and book production, a visit to the CDC press and the Apeejay Kolkata Literary festival at St John’s church, we were divided into our respective batches. In the first couple of the Design classes, we learnt the fundamentals of designing a book cover or page in terms of page size, measurements, margins and image format, while being guided around the usage of design software—QuarkXpress and Adobe Photoshop. The design classes have been interspersed with master classes that combine the Book Designing and Book Editing students in order for us to interact with authors, translators, book-buyers and literary agents. Each of these joint sessions has directly or indirectly provided me with new perspectives on the aesthetics of the book and the importance of the designer in the book-production process has been reinforced time and again.

Our very first assignment was to redesign a given Tintin book cover. Each of us had a different book cover to redesign. On completion, each of us got important insights from Sunandini on the book cover from perspectives of aesthetics as well as marketing, and got our doubts cleared concerning the software or the design. Text, images, shapes, colours, typeface gain free rein, to the point of being chaotic as they yield themselves to a variety of possibilities while ideas are generated, negated and reinvented using the design software. Yet, there is a significant lesson that I learnt amid the rush of possibilities that I have been confronted with. It is important that the frenzied rush be controlled and channelized to the formation of a work of art.

Free of jargon, the uniqueness of these classes has been that they bring to light the often unnoticed aesthetic in routine everyday activities. Attending and being a part of these classes has opened my mind and helped me embark on a journey that is rejuvenating and enriching to the point that I am left with wonder at the immensity of the untapped. I look forward to the remaining classes filled with anticipation and excitement, as I am constantly reminded of that word—possibilities.

 Darshana Ghose

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