Meeting Project Goals — The goal of this project was to redesign the OpenStax math series for added readability and visual aesthetic. I also met our goal of decreasing the page count of each book by 10-15%.
Meeting Production Specs — I designed the interior of all 11 books, managed the production of the print ready files. They were output in print in color, black and white, high resolution pdfs that educators could print and photocopy, and screen resolution pdfs with internal hyperlinks optimized for online learning. I created these books with 600-1200 pages each, sourced and credited all photographs used, drew and edited thousands of illustrations and mathematical graphs, managed several subcontractors during their work, and oversaw the entire project from initial conception through final deliverable form.
High Volume Versioning — Eventually these “base files” were used to create over 20 custom paperback books for 12 different universities and colleges to use in their math classrooms. They were updated, reprinted, and sometimes completely rearranged quarterly. In total, all of these books have been used by over 100,000 educators and students.
Preflighting and Technical Skills — Most clients required additional resources such as workbooks, homework worksheets, handouts, or lecture slides, so my designs needed to be adaptable to a variety of uses. These additional materials needed to blend the overall aesthetic and interior design of our books with customization for each individual college or university. I needed to either type them from scratch, repurpose previous files, or edit and prep files generated by clients for eventual print or online publication.
My experience in pre-press proved invaluable for this task because I could very quickly assess client provided files for appropriate color spaces, file set up, and resolution checks. I also recognized transparency and blending issues that can lead to rip errors on a digital press, and preflight files on my end so by the time our jobs were scheduled to be run there were minimal hiccups on the printer’s end.
Multitasking and Time Management — XYZ Homework produces custom ebooks and ancillary materials as well as provides any file management and publication editing needed for our clients quarterly which required tremendous amounts of organization to keep track of hundreds of change requests and the ability to switch between many different projects for a variety of clients daily. It also required time management and a knowledge of production timelines in order to make requested changes in time for our print partners to print, bind, and ship books, and for book stores to receive and process and sell these books to students before the start of each quarter or semester with every school having a different start date. I also had to work independently to prioritize my tasks so I could manage the quarterly rush with ease, then switch back to longer term projects in the lulls between quarters.
Problem-Solving — Of course all of this wasn’t without some error. One small emergency happened when the printer printed a previous version of a cover with the new guts files. We were able to print the correct barcode on a batch of large white labels in our office and overnight ship them to the bookstore where the old barcodes were then covered up and corrected.
I also developed a small versioning system on the last page of each book after the bindery failed to include a couple of signatures in the back of one set of books and they were spiral bound missing a large chunk of the end pages. The versioning system could subtly signal to the bindery which page was last and gave our company an additional way to reference each print version.
Software Used: Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat Pro, PitStop, Barcode Producer, Movemen MathTools, and Google Workspace