Jenn Michkowski

I create clean and legible design, but fun and eye-catching. Design that intrigues, is thoughtful or open eyes to new things.

About

I have been very creative all my life. I try to incorporate other art forms into my designs. My favourite areas of design that I like to work in are; book, packaging, typeface and motion graphics design. Also I am an avid chainmail jewelry artist.

What is the most useful piece of design advice that you have received?

The best way to approach a project is just start making stuff.

What is your favourite typeface?

Gibson by Canadian Type

If you could learn any new skill or talent, what would it be?

Super speed so I can complete design work faster and more of it.

How would you describe the colour yellow to someone who has never seen it?

Yellow is warm, is the embodiment of fuzzy, friendly, playful, makes you feel happy.

Design Interests

Editorial and Book Design
Packaging Design
Motion Design
Typeface Design

Book Arts & It’s History in Canada

A Knowledge Gap

Early on in this project, I wanted to do something involving the topic of books, book design, and book arts. I had already decided early on I wanted to focus on book arts as not a lot of attention is given towards book arts. After talking to a few people with knowledge in the field I came to a conclusion that there was a knowledge gap in terms of what people knew about book arts, its history or have even heard of book arts. Through my research and from the people I interviewed there wasn’t really even anything written on book arts particularly its history and more specifically its history in Canada, I couldn’t find anything at all specifically talking about it. After talking with a few more people in the field I became aware that there is stuff written but not a lot and you have to really read between the lines on book and book design history and development to determine and figure out book arts history and development, more so for Canada’s history and development of book arts.

Gathering Resources

So from that point forward, I wanted to focus the project on educating and filling the knowledge gap on what book arts is, its history and its Canadian history. Over the next few months I worked on figuring out what exactly else I was putting in the book, I wanted Canadian book arts and history to be the main focus of the book. So I thought it would be engaging and helpful to include Canadian book artists and their works in the book to use as examples to give people a visual idea of what books from the book arts field can look like. I thought it would also be good to interview the artists I was putting in the and include in the book their responses on their process, how they got their start, influences things like that pertaining to book arts. It gives the reader an idea on the thoughts and views of those working in the realm of book arts. Once that was decided I spent alot of time photographing many pieces of work of the various artists that were going in the book.

Some Foreseen Problems

During the process of the book, I came across some problems that I had foreseen might come up. One thing that made itself known early on was I wouldn’t readily find available to me some artists’ works, a couple artists didn’t have anything in a collection within or around Toronto or even in Ontario. Since travelling would not be an option I had to rely on the photos the artists would send me. Other issues that arose was that due to library restrictions I had to rely on digital scanners limiting the view and angle of a book to being viewed from above. So to keep it from looking odd or jumbled I had to construct a layout that was consistent for the images so the viewer’s eye would train and know what to expect for layout so everything stayed uniform and didn’t look out of place.

The Design

For the book design and layout I had wanted to initially make the book look and feel like an artist book itself. However, I realized I couldn’t do anything crazy as this was still first and foremost a book to educate on book arts. So if I went too crazy it might lose its consistency and coherency. The best thing was to keep it clean and simple, so I played around with the layout. This resulted in the final design of the book which was wide margins, generous spacing between lines, body of text and images. The final book includes the what is book arts, its history and Canadian history, Canadian book artists’ responses from the interviews and examples of their works. Which coincidently fits in with it being Canada’s 150th.

See more of my work at the graduate showcase