Week 12 Lecture & Resources
New York Public Library – “Insta Novels”
The case study on New York city’s public library was really striking – in part because the library is obviously not for profit, so they aren’t quite “selling” anything, but rather attempting to promote reading books, under their self-described remit of encouraging lifelong learning.
I love the way they clearly sought to delight and entertain their existing audience, as well as using dynamic visual designs, modern typography and animation to engage new readers.
Above: Five novels reimagined as Instagram Stories by New York Public Library.
An innovative concept by all means, the Insta Novels project was created in partnership with the independent advertising & creative agency Mother. The library brought a selection of classic novels to life with bold graphics ideally suited to sharing via Instagram, by harnessing the Stories feature on the social platform, with its built-in “shareability.” You can actually read the full text of the books directly on Instagram.
It seems to have been a highly successful project, in the sense that it garnered a lot of positive press (I’m sure it helped that it is very easy on the eye!) and appears to have achieved its key aim of seeking to encourage people to read more. It’s an incredibly interactive, immersive way to experience literature.
I discovered Newspaper Club, a specialist service that offers printing for newspapers, comics and zines. This could be one option for the printed version of my zine.
They offer a digitally printed mini zine (full colour, with options for different paper stock) which would work well for a small print run of around 100 copies and is a relatively cost-effective option.
If I wanted to do a much larger print run, they also offer a more traditionally printed web offset newspaper as an alternative.
Zine Design Concepts
Double page spread designs (zine inner pages).
Design Development: Page Layout/Design
Design Development: Visual Elements
Reflection on the week
One thing that has become clear to me over the years is that having high quality visuals (as far as possible) for any creative project can really make a huge difference. Evidently Michael Lester knew this was important when he put together “The World’s Smallest Portfolio“! During my studies so far, I have also started to document the making stage of my own projects in much greater detail – partly to show their development, but I also see it can be extremely useful when it comes to promoting and talking about them once they have been resolved or reached a key stage of the process. I realise too that people are generally curious and showing an insight to how you work is of interest, particularly when the onlooker may not have a design background – everyone loves a look “behind the scenes” after all.
Social media can be a powerful tool in promoting, marketing and even selling work, particularly if you know how to harness the nuances of the different platforms. I know there are people who also use it to build up a sense of momentum with an engaged audience, where they can effectively create anticipation about new products about to be launched.
Behance. ‘The World’s Smallest Portfolio.’ Available at https://www.behance.net/gallery/27389981/The-Worlds-Smallest-Portfolio [accessed 13/08/2021]
Mother. 2021. ‘New York Public Library: Insta Novels.’ Available at
https://mothernewyork.com/work/insta-novels/ [accessed 15/08/2021]
New York Public Library. 2018. ‘Insta Novels: Bringing Classic Literature to Instagram Stories.’ Available at https://www.nypl.org/blog/2018/08/22/instanovels [accessed 15/08/2021]
Newspaper Club. Available at https://www.newspaperclub.com/ [accessed 16/08/2021]
YATES, Derek and PRICE, Jessie. 2015. Communication design: Insights from the creative industries. London: Fairchild Books.