Tag Archives: creative

The changing face of book design

Publishing in the UK is developing rapidly and so it is vital that our workforce develops too. As digital innovation continues to drive growth and as publishers gain access to increasing amounts of data, the skills required are changing and new job functions and departments are springing up across all forms of publishing.

(snippet from The London Book Fair website)



Modern book design dates back to the early 1890s and William Morris’s Kelmscott Press. The books were expensive but beautiful. Morris designed his own typefaces, made his own paper and printed the books by hand. They were designed to be read slowly, to be appreciated and treasured, making an implicit statement about the ideal relationships between reader, text and author.

A century later and the next invention to change the design world so dramatically was the Macintosh computer. Introduced in 1983 it was the first mass market computer specifically made with the creative person in mind. With its graphical user interface, integrated graphics software (MacWrite & MacPaint) and postscript fonts they allowed a designer to not only typeset copy but to lay out pages ready for print, marking the end of Exacto knives, hot wax and galley type. HL Studios was there from these early beginnings and is proud to be amongst the first UK studios to use them as standard.

As the internet evolved from the early 1990’s increased speed and bandwidth has given designers a whole new media platform to create for. The bulk of a professional designer’s work is now either for the web or application UI elements, all of which will be viewed and experienced through a variety of media devices giving designers ever more creative opportunities.

For the millions of people browsing bookshops and websites today in search of the perfect read and the years of research into design and emotional response, the age old adage ‘never judge a book by its cover’ has never been so irrelevant!


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Posted by on May 15, 2014 in design news


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When your heart stops beating, you’ll keep tweeting

Controversial app that updates your Twitter feed from beyond the grave

LivesOn is a new Twitter service which will allow users to carry on their stream of consciousness in 140 characters or less from beyond the grave. It will analyse users’ Twitter feeds to learn their ‘likes, tastes and syntax’ to continue posting similar messages, updates and links after they’ve passed.

The service, due to launch in March, promises: ‘When your heart stops beating, you’ll keep tweeting.’

Your social afterlife: LivesOn will analyse users' Twitter feeds to learn their 'likes, tastes, [and] syntax' to continue posting similar messages, updates and links after they've passed
LivesOn is being developed by London-based advertising agency Lean Mean Fighting Machine.

Dave Bedwood, a creative partner at the firm, told the Guardian he was ready for negative responses to the service.

‘It divides people on a gut level, before you even get to the philosophical and ethical arguments,’ he said.

‘It offends some, and delights others. Imagine if people started to see it as a legitimate but small way to live on.

‘Cryogenics costs a fortune; this is free and I’d bet it will work better than a frozen head.’

LivesOn uses artificial intelligence algorithms to analyse users’ online behaviour and their style of writing.

This allows it to scour the internet to post the kinds of links its users like, as well as mimic their manner of communicating and favourite appropriate tweets to create a personal digital afterlife.

An early post on the LivesOn Twitter feed pronounces: ‘God doesn’t exist, servers do. Sign up to the real after life.’

But as bizarre as it might seem, LivesOn is only the latest service to offer to continue your social media life after death.

DeadSocial, launched last April, and If I Die, launched in January 2012, offer users the ability to send predetermined messages from beyond the grave to selected Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.

DeadSocial can be scheduled to post social media updates for long after users have passed away, while If I Die posts a single video or text message to the Facebook wall of any user after three friends confirm their death.

LivesOn is the first service to offer to automatically continue posting in the style of the dead user, however.

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Posted by on February 20, 2013 in design news


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Exciting new webpage!

Check out the ‘Goodies’ page on the HL Studios website…

Lots of lovely designy things to visit and an absolute must play game for typesetting nerds, KERNING!

Picture 1

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Posted by on December 13, 2012 in design news


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Why choose HL Studios?

As a creative design company HL Studios has established a name for itself by delivering solutions that really work. We provide quality design that gets the message across and brings real-life innovative results.

Aren’t all graphic designers the same?

We don’t think so, and in fact we genuinely believe that we are different from other companies offering similar services and here’s why:

We have established ourselves in our sector and now provide our many services to a range of clients throughout the UK and beyond. You can be assured that when you deal with us you will get great value, high quality work and outstanding service.

Indeed, client satisfaction is very important to us, as is our focus on helping clients meet their objectives and needs. Whether creating a new corporate brand or designing a book layout, we have the solutions.

Our studio philosophy is simple.

We produce great work and we achieve results by listening to what our clients want and then we deliver it to them. We have all the capabilities and experience you’d expect, but we don’t have the hierarchy of account management that often leads to slow response times and confused briefs.

You get direct access to the design team doing the work, meaning that working with us is a truly hands-on experience. Be that over the phone, site visits or simply popping in for a cup of tea. We are approachable, upfront and honest, have a real ‘can do’ attitude and a never ending supply of biscuits.

We are always looking for fresh new challenges. So scan the code, visit the website or simply pick up the phone and chat to one of our friendly peeps today…

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Posted by on November 15, 2012 in design news, illustration news


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Quick 10 step guide to commissioning illustration

1.     Include the type of illustration, font details, line weight, colour and shading preferences.

It sounds obvious but it is the simplest details that can often get forgotten!

2.     Assume the illustrator has little or no knowledge of the subject you are writing about.

Although our illustrators at HL Studios have a wealth of experience, it is not possible (even for us) to be expert in every area. By adopting this attitude when creating the briefs the author can avoid many pitfalls; it is much better if the illustrator spends their time creating the artwork rather than twiddling their thumbs whilst the PM queries the author, trying to clarify the instructions. Remember, the Devil makes work for idle thumbs!

3.     Don’t assume the illustrator will have the manuscript in front of them when they create the artwork.

Although at HL Studios we have an integrated workflow system allowing files to be available to various departments, when artwork is separated from the manuscript or is to be produced before the completion of the manuscript, the context in which the artwork is to appear is lost. Therefore all relevant information should be present on the artwork brief.

4.     Include appropriate references and style guides, including level of detail and view required.

Most illustrators would say that visual references are preferable to written instructions (remember these are delicate arty creatures who’s greatest strengths do not usually lie in The Three R’s). The internet is a fantastic resource for quickly finding an image for the illustrator to use as a reference that can then be included on the brief. Alternatively, a weblink can be provided. Be aware that weblinks can be broken; a copy of the actual reference image is usually the best option. If you are unsure of what style you need, HL Studios are always happy to provide examples to help you establish a style.

5.     Make sure it’s legible!

An author may be able to read his or her own handwriting, but (like a Dr’s) can anyone else? An Excel spreadsheet or WordDoc is an excellent alternative and image references can be added in to one document.

6.     The final size and orientation – landscape or portrait. 

Remember sizing instructions. A highly complex diagram of the inner workings of the heart will be next to useless if the only place available on the page to position it is in the gutter!

 7.     Consider the future uses of your illustrations.

At HL Studios we always layer our files so that your illustrations can be used in digital books.  However, it is worth spending a little time considering if an illustration will work well animated in the future. If you are unsure our animation team can give you advice.

8.     The deadline by which the illustration is required.

Once again, it sounds obvious but it is the simplest details that can often get forgotten!

9.     A little time and attention spent at the start really pays off.

Ensuring these simple rules are followed can make the difference between a fraught and frustrating process and a smooth and successful one. Hopefully, at HL Studios, we can make the commissioning and production of illustrations a happy experience for everyone concerned.

10.  We’re always more than happy to talk through any questions or to give advice before briefs are submitted + 44 (0) 1993 706 273.

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Posted by on May 31, 2012 in illustration news


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