For this blog post, I will be looking at some of the changes I have made to the design, and also to the structure of the book since my last blog post, where I was very concerned about the timeframe of the project slipping away.
Removing the book’s third chapter
Losing two pages, saving time, replaced with star charts, which will be looked at later on.
I also chose to re-name the second sections from ‘Constellations’ to ‘Stars & Constellations’ as I felt this would be a more accurate representation of its content.
Removing ‘Chapter 2’ and replacing it with ‘Part 2’, meant I had to revisit the Solar System introduction spread and change ‘Chapter 1’ to ‘Part 1’ to ensure consistency throughout.
Introduction to second part
I realised that I still hadn’t done anything with the introduction to the second section since the first test-print, and that I really needed to develop it or risk it holding back the book being sent off to print.
I realised what had been holding me back was the complexity of the information regarding the classification of stars that needed to be presented on the page. Stars can be classified in different ways, and my research showed that classifying them by their spectral type was the best, and most common way.
I was really struggling with how to make this information accessible as there was no handy guide I could find, which was really surprising, but I did managed to find an image while searching on Google that classified main sequence stars by spectral type, and separated them from white dwarfs, giants and supergiants. I found this massively useful, and used the data from this in my text.
I was still needing a bit of help though with understanding it, and if I could not understand it, I could not expect my audience to, so I decided to continue my research. I suddenly wondered if a simple explanation could be sourced from the DK Encyclopedia of Space book I used in my research. It could thankfully, and this provided the means from which I could get this piece of information understood.
This allowed me to be able to design the right page and get everything correct. I found that it was very difficult to position the text in an understandable way and give space to the central column of stars. I had thought about running them in a row across both pages, but decided against it because it would be such an inefficient use of space.
I also had to leave out graphical representations of white dwarfs, as these were too small to be visible on the page, as well as giant and supergiant stars as these were over twice the size of the book if the scale was followed through accurately! Therefore I made the scale to best suit the ‘main sequence’ stars.
Star Magnitude Key
As for the left page, I wanted a star magnitude key, so I made one of those to fit across the bottom of the page. Underneath that, I split them into three sections depending on how easy they were to see in the night sky.
Astrology and the Zodiac
I included a section for astrology in the introduction so the audience have an idea about what the zodiac is, which is important given some of the text in the ‘History & Meaning’ section refers to the Zodiac. I decided to stop it just being a big block of text I would create a big zodiac illustration, as I had all the zodiacal illustrations already completed for that section.
It was rather easy to create the illustration, but when I placed it into InDesign, it did not preview right when exported to a PDF file as the text and lines looked slightly blurry because they were too thin to be shown correctly. In the end I decided to delete the structure, export the grouped zodiacal illustrations as a PNG file, and create the surrounding structure in InDesign to ensure it came out correctly.
I then created the shapes in InDesign, which was tiring, and not as quick as in Illustrator, but at least I know it will print properly.
Once I placed the zodiacal illustrations into the centre, it was complete. I am very happy with the way this has turned out.
Text for the page
To fill the top section of the left page, I decided to place some text in explaining what constellations are and why they are named as such.
I also wrote a short section for the star charts at the back of the book, where I explained how it is a basic guide and for the best results, a digital planetarium app or website should be used.
A small, but meaningful change to the constellation pages within the book is the colour of the headings and sub-headings. As can be seen from the first test-print, they were white. However, I thought it made perfect sense based on the rest of the book to contrast them, using the colours in the illustration in the bottom half of the page.
Simplifying the star names
As can be seen in the rough image below, some constellations, such as Scorpius have a lot of stars. When placed on the page, I could see it was just going to overwhelm the illustrations. So I took some time to think whether it mattered that all the stars were listed, and asked some people for their opinions. Interestingly their views matched the ones I was beginning to have, that it didn’t really matter. Who wants to know the name of every star? was a common point raised.
So I decided I would only list the stars talked about in the text for ‘The Stars’, which would be between 2 and 4 stars. This made an enormous difference (and had the benefit of saving me a lot of time!) as the illustration once again could dominate the page, which was pleasing to me and what I wanted.
Development on credits page
Below is how the credits page looked. I decided to finish it because it needed doing and was a relatively simple task. As can be seen the pink text follows the development made earlier in this blog post and matches some of the colours in the text. I chose a bold image because I did not want a wasted page in the book that no one wanted to look at, because no one really picks up a book to read the credits…
However, when I started placing text over it, the white swirls and yellow-white centre played havoc with the text, and I could not find a common colour for the text that made it work. There was always some part of the text that became illegible, which was not suitable.
So I had to change the image. I still wanted a bold, high-quality image that would make people look at the page, but now needed something that did not contain much white in it. The first thing that came to mind was one of the most famous images that has been associated with space, the Helix Nebula.
Applying text to the page worked well, as can be seen in the screenshot below, and it is now all legible.
The next step in this project will be to go into college and conduct a test-print of the entire second part of the book, as well as any other section that has recently changed.