Tag Archives: design

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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Creation Requires Inspiration!


‘Stimulation of the mind or emotions to a high level of feeling or activity’

We’re a creative bunch here at HL Studios, and for today’s blog post, we thought it best to give you an insight into what inspires us on a daily basis when it comes to our work…with a twist.

Each set of images has been chosen by one of our members of staff, see if you can guess who’s is who’s. The images are linked back to the HL Studios ‘about us’ page.

This person chose artists that fall into a realm of what can only be described as ‘prog modern fantasy’ as their inspiration, in their words…”M C Escher, Chris Foss (wow!), Roger Dean, Theo Aartsma (Big wow!).”


This member of staff is clearly inspired by more traditional high fantasy artists, they have chosen Eyvind Earle, Hidemi Kubo, Brian Froud and John William Waterhouse.


Next up is a creative who finds joy in the bold and the brave, in their words “My inspiration comes from the flow and form found in design. I admire structured design, especially corporate identity. My influences are: Designers Republic, Banksy, Phillippe Starck and the wonderful world that is deviantart”.


Our next entry is from someone who takes their inspiration from the wonderful world of media as a whole…”design to me is the colors and shapes used in graphic effects for tv, web and print”.


The next entry has rather a lot of inspiration, they have listed them all here…”Sin City, 300 and graphic novel style art – not that awful manga sh*t. Coraline, Nightmare before Christmas, Morph and anything animated with models. Mexican Day of the dead celebrations and paraphernalia (am I sounding like a serial killer yet…?!).
Packaging. I’m an absolute sucker for great packaging design. Mobile phone boxes, the little hole in Maltesers boxes, Cadbury’s egg n spoon desserts, Mikado sticks… am guessing I should add food here… FOOOOOD!
The English countryside & the seasons. Photography and photo manipulation apps, take my phone everywhere and take pics of everything. And oooh I love a good sign as well…”.


Our last entry draws their inspiration from both modern and vintage forms of artwork, their list includes Lucian Freud, vintage movie posters and books from the 1950’s and 1960’s, and the clean cut designs we find on the world wide web.


We hope you have enjoyed looking at our inspirations as much as we have enjoyed collating them!

How many did you guess right…?!

Love, the HL Studios Creative Team.

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Posted by on February 24, 2014 in design news


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Project in focus


The second installment in the Grubson Pug series hit the shelves this week to much excitement in the HL Studios office (and not just because a Benny Factor bought us chocolates)! 

Picking up the story a few days after the dramatic climax to book one, we join Banzai on his unusual nautical quest.

It’s New Year and a time for resolutions. Under the watchful eye of Horatio Fox, Banzai is persuaded to face the secrets of his closely-guarded carpet bag. Then he promptly vanishes from St Benfro.

Grubson Pug sets off in pursuit of his missing ship’s cat in a chase across Europe to Venice. Meanwhile, Banzai finally resolves his biggest burden – only to find himself in the middle of a new catastrophe!

Caught up in the confusion of Carnival, Banzai learns to accept help from friends when the situation is too much for one proud and trouble-prone cat.

As well as the familiar faces on board The Beagle, there are lots of new characters to meet in this second book: ‘Les Grubsons’ the French part of the family – Captain Dogmael and his cat aboard The Resolve – the water-dwellers in Venice (including gondoliers and the mayor) – and someone no one was expecting to see …


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Posted by on October 25, 2013 in design news


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e-book piracy grows


According to NetNames, an online data monitoring company,  students are the biggest culprits when it comes to e-book piracy. Investigators looked at the availability of 50 popular textbooks across five different disciplines in the UK. In total 76% of the titles were available to download free in pirated form on one e-book sharing site. Science and engineering were the most pirated academic textbooks.

NetNames’ director of piracy analysis, David Price, thinks the expense of educational books could be the problem.

“We talk to all content owners about this sort of thing. The best way to beat piracy is to get your content out there, to give it to people in some way or make them buy it in some simple, cheap, easy way.”

Two textbooks for pharmacology and physiology cost in excess of £180, about a fifth of a student finance loan.

The research has been released as the Publishers Association admitted that e-book piracy was a growing problem. The organisation’s chief executive, Robert Mollet, says it’s not all the students’ fault.

“We’re seeing more infringement of e-books as the digital market grows,”

“About a quarter of all novels bought in the UK are bought as e-books, so as that digital market grows, we’re bound to see a little bit of piracy alongside it.”

“But I have to say, it’s a very small issue compared with the sort of levels we see in film and music. E-books are nowhere near that.”

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Posted by on October 17, 2013 in design news


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Bookmachine everywhere!

Bookmachine Everywhere took place last night in
London, Oxford, Brighton, New York & Toronto.

Much to my own personal disappointment there was no Eurovision style link up, so no chance to wave (slightly off cue) and to hold up banners for our friends and Bookmachine colleagues across the pond.

There was however, at the Oxford event, a chance to eat delicious corporate branded cupcakes supplied by this months sponsor and winner of the banner image competition, yours truly, HL Studios.

The following images are what happens when an event that would clearly benefit from a buffet has cakes (you were warned!):

DSC_0356DSC_0355DSC_0362DSC_0360DSC_0357DSC_0359DSC_0366DSC_0358DSC_0361DSC_0365BM Logo

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Posted by on September 26, 2013 in duck tales


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HL Studios are proud to be once again sponsoring Bookmachine, Oxford.

BM Logo

Come and meet us at the House Bar, Blue Boar Street, Oxford, OX1 4EE 
Wednesday 25th September from 6pm.
Tickets are available from bookmachine tickets

Who goes to Bookmachine?

The idea of Bookmachine is that people working in and around the book publishing industry meet up in an informal environment to develop ideas and make new contacts. You’ll find designers, editors, publishers, marketeers, sales professionals. Then there’s book lovers and writers. And not to forget, a few app developers, games designers and publishing students.

What happens there?

There are free drinks for early-birds, so people tend to show up on time and mingle with each other before the talk starts. Event host Charly Ford is there to introduce people to each other, so let Charly know beforehand or on the evening if there’s anyone specific you’d like to meet.

The talk itself will be by Emma Barnes, and it last for about 20 minutes, followed by a 10 minute Q&A with the speaker and plenty of time to meet others afterwards.

As a creative graphic 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 to our many and varied clients. Samples of our work can be found at

We look forward to hopefully seeing you on Wednesday 25th September!

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Posted by on September 20, 2013 in design news


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Project in focus

Osprey has just launched a new digital magazine charting the dramatic history of the Second World War – with cover & feature articles designed by none other than the fabulous team here at HL Studios! 


Available now for £2.99/$4.99 a month at the iTunes App store

The World War II Military History Magazine is an exciting way to bring military history to a new audience through the iTunes Newstand, providing the perfect illustrated introduction to the subject and to Osprey books in general.

At the heart of every monthly issue is a full, illustrated Campaign book, outlining the tactics, forces and narrative of some of the most iconic and important battles of a world at war. In addition, you can enjoy a plethora of articles drawn from the extensive Osprey archive, detailing the course of key battles, experiences of soldiers, and the evolution of battlefield technologies. Then round off the magazine with a quiz.

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Posted by on July 25, 2013 in design news


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