The making of A Pattern Language. Towns. Buildings. Construction by Christopher Alexander

Overview   Process  

Receiving the translated text. Starting to search for the style of the text elements: headlines, photographs, introductory text, problem descriptions, main text, conclusions and links.

One of the features of the book is that all patterns are interconnected and there are many references in the text. To make it easier to navigate between chapters we decide to show on the margins the page number of the chapter referenced in the text.

Once the styles are chosen and tested on some of the chapters, it’s time to start assembling the book.

When the assembled book is being checked by the editors, it is discovered that the resulting number of pages is beyond any possible limits: the print shop tells us that there is no way to bind such a thick book. Searching for a solution: should we use thinner paper, divide the book into a number of volumes or change the format? Using thin paper could save the day, but when the print shop shows us a mock-up of the result, it is evident that it is still too thick.

The art director makes the decision to retypeset the book in a larger format which would allow to decrease the number of pages by half. Starting from scratch. Choosing the best grid and layout. We have to recreate all the styles and adjust them for the new format.

All photographs in the book are toned. We make a color proof to choose the best proportion of colors for toning. Simultaneously checking other style elements.

Meanwhile, the work on the endpaper is well under way. The illustrator suggests different options to the art director.

Art director: No, it looks like kindergarten drawings. It is a serious edition after all.

Maybe like this? Only there will be more different houses.

Art director: Nope.

Maybe something about a city transforming into a village and smaller cities? Would such style work?

Art director: It won’t. This illustration celebrates the style of a residential neighborhood and it’s not what the book is about.

Art director: It’s all wrong.

Another illustrator joins in.

Once the block is typeset and the endpaper is ready, we start to work on the cover and the dust jacket. Making a few sketches, printing, evaluating the result and showing it to the art director.

The art director chooses the first draft. Drawing the pictures. Trying to use photographs as well.

Art director: Let’s return to the illustrations.

Finalizing the pictures and getting the cover ready to print.




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