Peter Blaiwas and Brian Hotchkiss joined forces to produce illustrated books for trade publishers in 1994. Although much has changed—our client base, genres, even our company’s name—the promise to making beautiful, high-quality illustrated books on budget and within schedule remains just as unshakeable as it was nearly 25 years ago. This commitment to our clients is evident in every project we undertake, whether it's an index compilation, a design-and-layout job, or a full-package contract for a 700-page exhibition catalogue. When Wordesign Services supplanted Vern Associates as our business’s name, nothing else changed when it comes to our insistence upon delivering quality bookmaking predicated on careful planning and direction.
Publications’ personalities and challenges
One of Wordesign’s core beliefs is that every publication has its own personality. Each project we take on, regardless of length, complexity, or design specifications is expected to follow its own trajectory and to offer a unique set of challenges. Illustrated books—our forte—are highly resistant to template-based preparation. When a publication relies on pictures as well as text to make its point, a whole new set of rules comes into play. For example, it is crucial that each image be positioned where it best supports the dialogue between picture and text, but each image’s placement affects everything that follows. Working within these parameters alleviates the potential need to redo the layout several times. Even when we are commissioned to prepare a single piece of this puzzle—the design concept, for example—our unerring sensitivity to the special demands of an image-driven publication assists in making the printed, bound publication superior to its competitors. Unfortunately, the availability of the specialized skills and expertise upon which multi-image illustrated publications rely has been in steep decline over the past couple of decades.
Why print? Why not digital?
When it comes to digital presentation, Illustrated books remain behind their text-only counterparts. Even our projects that include digital components start out on a print-focused foundation, but when clients ask us to prepare a digital version of their book, we urge them to work on it from the outset—in tandem with the print edition— which reduces duplication (or triplication) of effort and costs. It also permits each platform—print or digital—to do what it does best. After all, what's the point of mere replication when you can have two equally strong products that offer similar material in very different ways?