Sybren Kuiper is a contemporary Dutch graphic designer who specialises in narrating stories through images and text. His ten rules below are written from the perspective of a graphic designer when working with a photographer on a photobook project.
#1. Never forget the basics: a photo book has two defining qualities: 1. it is a book; 2. it is full of photographs.
#2. When you start designing don’t listen to the photographer. Listen to the photos, then to the photographer.
#3. Design with your heart. Check with your head. Or the other way around.
#4. A book is not an exhibition. A page is not a wall. A book has specific physical qualities you have to use.
#5. ‘Time; and therefore ‘timing’ are defining factors of a book. Because of the turning of the pages, books become almost inevitably narratives. Stories.
#6. A good edit is key. A good edit is essential. A good edit is crucial. A good edit is vital. A good edit is fundamental. A good edit is critical etc.
#7. Designing a photo book is often a matter of problem solving. Don’t just solve the problems. Try to make your solutions the backbone of your ‘narrative.’
#8. A good book is built on just a few design ideas. Stick to them relentlessly, despite the darling you may have to kill along the way. It can be a massacre (trust me).
#9. Designing a photo book is not about showing off your graphic design skills. It is about your ability to bring out the photo’s full potential.
#10. When your client is not really, really, really, really, really happy … start over.
Learn more from Sybren Kuiper at sybontwerp.tumblr.com.