Just wanted to tell you before-head that I learned all I know about graphic design, design of the book and user research from working here.
Ok, so what takes the book from some draft on Google Docs to real book you buy in a store? I would argue it's identity and details. Identity is a bit like a human identity - you won't meet a person dressed like a goth, but caring unicorn bag, listening to pop and eating mini-carrots from their pocket (well, you might, I would love to meet this person, but you get what I mean). Be consistent. otherwise you will only confuse people. And don't try to be someone you are not - people read it subconsciously very quickly :)
As for details, do your research:
- watch a lot of videos like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xp3DVhld6o
- Look through your favorite photobooks (if you have none, what are you doing creating one yourself?)
- Look through all your friends libraries: which books you like? Which books you hate? Why?
Then start the layout. Please, please do it in InDesign, not in one of the Blurb's or Printique's predefined layouts. Create a grid, think about gutter and margins. Also remember, your book should breath, it's not a furniture catalog! Think long and hard about typography, pick no more than 2 typefaces, one fancy, one readable.
Finally, be consistent. If you use references in this format "Model: Name" at the beginning, you should use it same way throughout the book, never: "Model - Name". Buy the way - use right dashes and right quotation marks - it will make your book look more professional.
Now as we finished with design, here's a task that took several months for me: how to pair my pictures. I put them all on the wall and I wanted to have pairs where you have both similarity and contrast between left and right image. I managed to have around 15 really strong couples, and the others were less strong (I will tell you how I solved that later)
Most important thing: after you have anything resembling the first prototype, show it to people. I ended up spending weeks on stuff that I changed completely after showing the work to viewers. Also don't pick the people who are closest to you - even if they would want to be objective, they can't be. But don't pick random people - they might not like your style all together, they are not your audience for the book. Most info I actually gained from couple of my collaborators as well as from posting an announce to my fb page asking who won't mind to review my book.
(to be continued) https://alionakuznetsova.com/photobook-tutorial-user-research/