WHAT, HOW & WHY.
Jordi Teixidó is a consultant for KION Management, a consultancy company. Through contacts I found out he intended to make a book preparing eventual consultants to take the PMPBOK® test, one of the most difficult and lengthy exams I had knowledge of. Essentially, 'Curso de Preparación para la Certificación PMP®' (Preparation Course for PMP Certification), or PMP for short, is a guide for the test, explaining in 47 chapters how to get the best result possible.
This is the longest project I've been a part of. It took almost 18 months for the book to be completed, as the author was still writing most chapters by the time I started the layout. Also, as it is a nearly 500 page book with hundreds of exercises, some sections required heavy revisions in hopes of not overwhelming the reader. I used InDesign for the layout of all pages, and Illustrator for the graphs that were too complex for the first one to handle.
I took this project because it was so far away from my skillset, that I knew I'd need to face editorial and book design in general head on eventually. Also, I know first hand how a guide can make or break a test result, so I wanted to at least have some fault in the marks of the students that decided to buy the book. Ultimately, dealing with editors and publishers was also a great insight into the literary market, helping me draw conclusions I couldn't before.
NEW EDITORIAL, NEW GUIDELINES
At first, the book was going to be published independently, with the client taking a huge blow in costs but also keeping virtually all profits. That changed when the book kept getting longer and closer to the 500 page mark, making the production prohibitively expensive.
This forced a changed in publishers, or rather the inclusion of one. Thankfully, a Spanish enterprise called Profit Editorial was up to the task of handling production and distribution, as business related texts are one of their specialities.
This didn't come without its core changes, as the size of the book was altered. Justification too, and font size as well. This meant changing about two thirds of the book midway edition, and rearranging the previous layout.
THE LONG PATH
Towards the end of the process, we kept running into more and better ways to solve certain aspects of the book. I recall the solutions to the problems inside each chapters changing places at least 4 times, from the beginning of the text, to the end, to after each exercise.
It also helped that Jordi was very prone to meet and print, forcing us to see if it was too tiring to go one way or another. After a few weeks, the last couple of months to be specific, we were checking and correcting on paper at least once every seven days, which lead to a very compact but still breathable result.
THE DEVIL IS IN THE LAYERS
Technically speaking, it's a surprisingly complex product. Four fonts, three of them used in almost every weight available. About 30 shades of black (the book is grayscale) were used for differentiating certain sections.
Multiple systems had to be created in order to make the book editable by one person, as having each exercise have its own style would have probably taken an entire year working full-time.
Additionally, it is actually a legitimately useful read, as it talks about processes and how to properly apply certain management techniques in order to bring the working group to the best result possible. That helped me understand why graphs and tables were made, not just copy them and apply the style.
In this kind of book it's easy to get lost as it isn't a novel nor story to read in a few sittings; it takes dozens of hours to go through it, and a few more to correct and revise. The somewhat slow pace of 'writing whilst editing' permitted me to do a thorough read of each chapter, catching typos and marginal inconsistencies along the way.
A SECOND VERSION, A SECOND BOOK
As it is the longest project I've ever done, I was a bit melancholic when I saw it printed and in every book store I've encountered in the last year.
I was 19 when we started it, and it was published when I was almost 22, so to me it felt like something I just did every week for a very long time. I believe the client was very comfortable with me as well, as we are currently about to publish a second book in late 2017, albeit a much shorter one and with another designer on board.
I really felt lucky to have worked with such creative leisure and competent management.
Certainly, having an InDesign file I spent hundreds of hours looking at, and tweaking bit by bit every week, printed and online, and happy customers leaving great reviews is something to be proud of.
CLIENT: KION MANAGEMENT (JORDI TEIXIDÓ). SPECIAL THANKS: MARÍA BONO.