We have a large set of shelves in our office that we call our library. It contains an arrangement of books organised informally by size and sectioned into:
• Old reference books.
• Treasured design, art and architecture books.
• Multiple copies of lovely books that we have designed ourselves. (These ones get the most space and are kept together like a trophy cabinet).
As well as all that there’s a section crammed with all shapes and sizes of blank dummies. A blank dummy, for anyone who doesn’t know, is a set of unprinted pages made up to show the size, paper, binding and general appearance of a book or publication. This is an essential stage in the design process, for without a blank dummy we can only guess how the printed piece will feel in our hands and if we get this wrong then the job’s ruined. This somewhat surreal short film by Michael Harvey and John Morgan gives an insight into the life of a blank dummy.
The blank dummy section is my favourite section of our library. I’ll choose a dummy, open it up and take in a page, turn over to the next and the next. My imagination is open to what could be printed on each page without any requirements of a brief or commitment of any detail. It’s the opportunity that’s exciting… like Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day, or the imaginary character in a book rather than the real character in the film. Imagination comes up trumps every time.