Culture by Design
Cuban culture is put into focus by Stratis Print Communications
Whittling down thousands of photographs into a 139-page book that depicts a compelling, focused journey through Cuba is no small feat. But Rick Lewis, president of Stratis Print Communications, Long Beach, Calif., and staff graphic designer Louis Nidorf accomplished just such a challenging task in designing Cuba: Framing Time.
Comprised of photographs taken in Cuba by 18 students and two professors from Brooks Institute of Photography, Santa Barbara, Calif., the book captured Best of Show in BFL&S' 2003 Top Design contest.
Where did Lewis and Nidorf begin their design process?
"We started with deciding what we wanted readers to feel and experience when they read the book," said Lewis. "After the students returned from Cuba, I developed design guidelines and explained the purpose of flow and the importance of the book telling a story. The students selected their top photos and submitted them to us. Then, we had to go through stacks of photos and decide how we would work them into a specific number of pages."
According to Lewis, the most difficult phase of this project was deciding the order, placement and size of the photographs on each page to cohesively depict the whole story. "This book needed flow, which meant arranging the photos in a manner that would touch the reader emotionally in varied ways," he explained.
After the photographs' order was determined, the next challenge for Lewis and Nidorf was how to best reproduce the photos, including figuring out how many should be displayed on a page, whether a photograph should be large or small and whether or not it should have bleeds.
"Fantastic photographs are a great start, but to have a compelling book, it needed to take the reader on a journey through Cuba," said Lewis. "Our goal was to have readers feel they had been to Cuba or wanted to go."