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Adrian Searle Freight Books

It’s a total pleasure and privilege to be involved in designing the programme for Aye Write! I’ve been attending the festival for years and it’s a real jewel in the city’s cultural crown. I run a design company, Freight, based in Glasgow city centre, and we also publish books – which we hope gives us a particular insight into what works best for a book festival. 

Last year we led a major redesign of the Aye Write programme, returning it to an A4 size. The main focus was cleaning up the layout, to maximise the space available and to make sure as many events as possible included photographs of the authors and their books – because this helps the reader select the events they want to attend. Programme design is about order, structure and consistency. There’s a lot of information packed into a small space and it’s the designer’s job to help the reader navigate their way around. 

This year, we adjusted the layout a little, based on feedback. But the main job was the cover – which sets the tone for the overall campaign to promote the Festival. The key issue for 2017 was that the festival, for the first time, would be spread across three venues. So we suggested to the committee that we commission the illustrator Helen Stark, who recently created the colouring book Colouring Edinburgh, to draw the three venues, the Mitchell Library, the Royal Concert Hall and the CCA on Sauchiehall Street, in her own style. We spent quite some time finding the best way to present these on the cover.

The job of assembling a programme of this scale in significant. There’s a huge amount of work involved, both for us and the Aye Write team who gather the content. In the run-up to Christmas many emails were sent with images and words for each of the 200 plus events. The programme goes through around ten drafts as the content is checked and checked again. It all went remarkably smoothly. 

We’re really proud of the programme and proud to be part of it, both as designers and publishers. Have seen the great array of authors on offer, I’m sure the book lovers of Glasgow will have a great time. 

Freight Books authors attending the festival are listed here.​

Adrian Searle, Director Freight Design and Publisher at Freight Books

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