My inspiration for this book has come from many different examples. I have not just been inspired by the design of one book, I have taken areas and techniques that I like from many examples as well as using my own creative intuition to come up with a design that I am happy with.
When I began to first put together this design, there was not one photo from the project that I immediately thought would be suitable for the front cover. So I began by just keeping it simple, and using the title in a black font against a white page. The font was the font that InDesign automatically started with, however I think it worked really well with the military theme.
I thought it looked too bare, and so I went through some of the images Jo had took herself. There was a shot of her husband that I really liked, however it was a full body image and showed his identity. I experimented with cropping, and despite it being such a harsh crop, cutting out his head, I thought it worked as the whole point is that his identity is hidden. In any other case I do not think it would be acceptable. I changed the font colour to white so that it showed up better on top of the image. I think aesthetically it is really effective, however there are also some issues.
It may be seen that as he is wearing wellies it ruins the feel of the image, he is dressed in his formal uniform and then this perfect image is juxtaposed by his muddy wellies. However, I think it has quite a comical effect, and it also portrays their current cotswold lifestyle. The stone wall and watering can also adds to this so I think although the pristine image of the uniform is ruined, it actually works really well. However, this project is meant to be focused on Jo and not her husband, so although he is an important factor, it does not make sense for him to be on the front cover.
I then realised how the title objectify’s Jo and makes her an accessory of her husband, as if her story only exists because of him. I was encouraged by my tutor to change it and make it more personal, from ‘The Military Wife’ to ‘Jo – Life as a Military Wife’. However I found this difficult to design and place on the front cover.
I then experimented with the image above, I thought it was a good establishing shot for the front cover as it hints at the narrative. It shows Jo directly, and as she holds up the uniform it reflects her husbands role but still keeps Jo centre of the story. I positioned the title so that the ‘W’ ran parallel with the collar of the jacket. I kept the title as ‘Life as a Military Wife’ as I could not find a way to incorporate Jo’s name to the front page. However, on the opening page I used the full title as you can see below.
The next page is my introduction. I have set it so the text reads in a perfect block, I think this reflects the military theme. All of the text in the book will read this way, and be positioned in the centre of the page. I think it works really effectively as it reflects the square format of the whole book. I have taken inspiration from Stuart Griffith’s book ‘The Myth of the Airborne Warrior’ here as his text is portrayed similarly, and I think it is really effective in reflecting the structure of the military.
I then use a double page spread for the two maps of the UK and Germany. I first thought of placing them on the page in the correct size and positions as if they were on a map of Europe, however they looked oddly positioned on the page and it was not very successful. Instead I placed them both large on a page each, it is clear I have used artistic license here and it is not correct but it is clear what I am trying to portray.
On the next pages I wanted to introduce the readers to Jo herself, showing portraits I have taken of her. I tried out two shots in the design, I think the second picture works better as it links to the second photo of her hands, it was taken on the same day and so it flows better.
The next double page spread starts off the main narrative of the book. I am using Jo’s archive family images to tell the main story of each of the places she has lived. Alongside these I have also scanned in her brief written captions. The images below are of her first house in Lossiemouth, Scotland.
Then on the following page I wrote up the extended captions Jo had written for me, going in to more detail about her experiences of that time. On the opposite page I have used one of my own images. The layout of these two double pages will stay much the same throughout the book now, with other pages in between of my own photography.
The following pages follow the same structure, this time about their home in Prestwick.
The following pages are all my own images.
Below is the archive page for their home in Cranwell. I am yet to get a written caption from Jo for this page.
Inspired by Paul Grahams book ‘Paris’, these are the centre pages of the book portraying shots of Jo’s husband in his uniform that Jo took her self. The use of them being in the centre of the book suggests
The following pages are, again, all my own photography. The text on the second double page is Jo’s extended caption about their home in Cranwell.
Again, the following double page spreads follow the same previous structure. The larger image is my own, and the smaller ones are the archive shots.
These two shots are my own images. I do not know if I will keep these shots in, however I like the one of the hat on the bed. The mix of a beautiful cotswold home with the military.
These final pages are all my own images, except from the page with the text on Cheltenham.
I have used the same image on the front cover for the back cover too. However I do not know how effective this would look if it were actually printed.