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Urban Outfitters Books: A Research Study

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The following are books found in Urban Outfitters, they all in some way reminded me of my own book. The alternative apparel store prides itself on the wacky and weird, and the books fully embrace this as well. I could easily see a version of my book being sold on these shelves – it’s tongue and cheek, minimal reading, and an original idea.

Many of the books invite the reader to use their imagination, fill in sections. draw pictures, learn a new skill, or simply better their perspective on life. This in some ways is what I have been striving for. I want people to want to change the way they see litter. I want us to admit that we are all the problem, that there are many different types of litterbugs, and that we can choose to help save our environment.

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Titles that have humour in mind, relating to popular culture. All caps everywhere is not my cup of tea
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‘One Sketch a Day’ – Make a drawing everyday – very minimlaistic, and small text, but still clear and good looking.
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Comedic illustrations, check boxes and plenty of room for the reader to unload their imagination as well inspired me.
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Beautiful book design. Contrasting vibrant orange really screams use me, enjoy your life, let’s have fun.

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Shop Design: Creating Tiny Litter

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I had a great idea of presenting the books in a fun way, using miniaturised litter. At first I thought perhaps real litter could work, however I was in the shop ‘Tiger’ in spitalfields market where I spotted a mini shopping trolley and basket. I thought creating a tiny little trash dump would really engage viewers and make them interested in the theme of my book.

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Blowing up a balloon, writing on it with sharpie, then deflating creates tiny writing. These don’t look realistic enough though so I won’t include them.
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Really happy with this set up. Trying to make it look realistic and pretty gross.
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I might present my books within this shopping basket, however the scale is different to the other models.
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Pretending as if people have attempted to stuff their rubbish in the top of the bin
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I may well rest one book on top of the up[turned shopping trolley as a kind of viewing podium.
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Tiny magazine made by cutting out words from existing printed media I had.

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Final critique and final alterations

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Printing at uni was cheaper than I thought. £4 for the 32 page A6 booklet. I used 130gsm cartridge paper, It’s got a nice texture, but perhaps too much texture. I went with the same weight for cover as inside which I think does make it easier to flick through.

I am really happy with how it all feels. If I decide to bind them all myself I would need to change the direction I fold the paper – the grain was going against me for this copy.

Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 19.45.24Above is the quote from a national ‘courier delivery’ printers called Stuprint (15 copies). HOWEVER I have been promised 25% off this price because I struck up a sponsorship deal with the company. Which would come to approx £2.50 each if I do standard print, or £2.97 if I do green print. Amazingly good price.

I have a few final amendments to make to the book before the final printing:

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This text will be changed to regular style to match the front cover subtitles
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I incorrectly bound this with the grain of the paper going the wrong way – which causes these creases. Also the dots are too faint.
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Background colour too faint.
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Background colour too faint.
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Background colour too faint.
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Just being pedantic but the writing on his shirt is too straight for me, I will slightly rotate it in photoshop.
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The gap of colour in the gutter is a bit nasty. Might have to google a solution to this problem.
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The footer is too faint. It has a texture to it which is interesting but not intentional.
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The creep settings mean that theres a nasty white gap down the spine. Will look into adjusting the bleed of the illustrations to counter this.
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The pains of saddlestitch. Annoyingly splits itself so easily down the middle. Paper weight could change this.
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The best way to crop a booklet – when it is folded

Inspiration: Ricky Gervais’ Flanimals

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One of the inspirations to Know Your Litterbugs was Ricky Gervais’ Flanimals. It’s a book all about strange and wonderful creatures that have come into existence through Ricky’s crazy mind.

The illustrations are hilarious, the writing is even funnier. This was the same concept I wanted to ring true for my book, but focusing on a a cultural issue. There are several books in the series, including Flanimals of the deep, and recently Flanimals – A Complete Natural History. With my book I imagine there could be a similar series – Litterbugs in University, Litterbugs of the future etc.

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Spotter’s guide was a term I have used in my book as well. There is something funny about pretending that people could actually be on the look-out for these creatures outside their homes.
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I’m not actually that big a fan of the illustration style, but it really is vivid and certainly amusing.
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The book involves several groups of species with other names.

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The books make me think that maybe for the text I might have changed it into a single paragraph about each Litterbug, instead of sections. This would perhaps give more scope for being funny. That being said, I think my style of writing is easier to have a quick read, to dip in and out, as opposed to have to read an entire paragraph.

Responding to feedback

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I created a prototype of my book in the right (ish) size

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I was given some really helpful feedback from my tutor Phil, who advised I change the layout of the typography a bit. I am moving the titles over to the right, adjusting the latin title, and simplifying the punctuation. Also the ‘Know your litterbugs’ header has been changed to a footer on the bottom right hand side of the page.

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I am also re-writing some of the copy to give it even more personality. I couldn’t decide whether there should be a coloured background on the left hand page like so:

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I like it but depending on the quality of my paper it may not show up very well.

I have got quotes from ABC imaging of approx £9 plus VAT which seems high for an A6 booklet. I may well bring in my own paper to try and bring down costs. I am still trying to source recycled paper.

Discovering New Species!

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It’s honestly been so much fun thinking about all the different types of people who drop litter. I’m starting to discover that this is exactly the kind of thing I love ‘creating’. Something that makes me laugh, let’s me draw, and something I can hold in my hands at the end. Below you can see the various ‘species’ of litterbug I have come up with.

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My initial ideas sketched out
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the fitness freak
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the fly tipper
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the predrink prat
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the busy-ness man
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the candy devil
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the sneak dropper
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the rushed parent
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the secret eater
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the drive-by dumper
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the butt flicker

I am trying to decide whether to still include any real litter in my book, or perhaps photos of litter. I feel it would give it another level of ‘reality’ and tactility, especially if photos were printed on gloss. I can’t work out how to fit this in at the moment. My current layout is like the following:

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Each species has one spread
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Then this so people can create their own litterbug species, which my prototype crit thought was a good idea.
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And finally I’ve got this spread so people can go out and do ‘detective work’ and find and dispose of litter. It’s a fun way to clean up the streets a bit.

I’m thinking at the moment that the spreads all look a bit bland. The illustrations are highlights but the other ‘fill in’ pages lack any real drama or attention grabbing elements. Will have to work on this. Maybe it could be more like an old school ‘filofax’ style book with lame hole punching, brown paper, string, paper clips etc. Spy-File-Organizer-FunFax-9780789407405

Maybe not.

So Many Ideas

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I love coming up with ideas. I like to think about all the daily things that happen to me that could be improved in some way.

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As we were being briefed on this project I wrote down keywords that inspired me.

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A booklet featuring real London litter, and accompanying stories.

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There would be pages where the owner could attach their own litter they’ve found.
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I aslo thought of a bottle of water that could be velcro’ed onto the outside of your backpack. I used to have a backpack with a pocket on either side but now I don’t and I miss them.