Q & A with Kim Lock
From the unique position of both an author and book designer, Kim Lock enjoys designing her own and other writer’s books. She’s been the lead designer for MidnightSun Publishing since 2013.
Did you mean to end up as a book designer? What was your trajectory?
I didn’t! I started in the art-room of a magazine in 1998, and eventually moved to a design studio. From there I’ve always been a commercial print designer – marketing materials, annual reports, corporate branding, etc – and admired book design from afar. But working with a small press, MidnightSun Publishing, on my own debut novel in 2013 meant I was offered the unique opportunity of also designing the cover. Once my novel was out, the publisher said, ‘Would you like to work on another cover?’ And off we went.
Does art — gallery, museum art — inspire you? Or film, tv etc? If so, what do you like?
Other than books, I source most of my inspiration online, as well as from the outside world. I enjoy working with natural textures and colour schemes, and there’s a tonne of that type of creative inspiration in my garden and further abroad.
What do you listen to when you work?
Usually, the sounds of my kids – playing, bickering, chasing the cats. It’s not overly soothing, but it’s better than when they’re quiet…because that often means they’re up to something, and I have to stop work to investigate.
What question do you least enjoy from people when they discover you design books?
I don’t think as a designer I’ve been asked anything too challenging yet, but as an author…that’s a whole other story.
What is your favourite tool on the computer? (Not just a program but within a program or OS)
Command-Z. (Which, in my head, I still refer to as ‘Apple-Z’.) Often big long strings of it.
Best or favourite situation for getting creative.
For me it’s a good brief. Is that boring?! A good brief that offers creative freedom yet sets clear parameters inspires my creativity and confidence. Following a brief I usually browse royalty free imagery for ideas and grab a heap of composites in a kind of electronic mood board. Also essential are a cleared-out inbox and multiple cups of tea.
Which creative person/identity/professional would you most want to impress?
Here’s where my commercial background pipes up and says, ‘the client!’. If the publisher, author and myself as the designer all love a concept, I do feel really chuffed.
Which book would you like to design the cover for?
That’s a good question. I tend to lean towards historical fiction for covers that I love; these covers always seem so moody and evocative. So perhaps any historical fiction cover is an opportunity I’d enjoy.
Who is one of your favourite book designers and why?
I am still getting to know Australian book designers by name, but taking books off my shelf, some of my absolute favourite covers are by Allison Colpoys (Hope Farm by Peggy Frew), Imogen Stubbs (Skin by Ilka Tampke) and Sandy Cull (Salt Creek by Lucy Treloar). I also like many of the covers the imprint Picador brings out. (I imagine they supply good briefs.)
Your favourite place (store, library, blog etc) to look at books?
Definitely book stores – both the bricks-and-mortar and online variety. Also ‘best of’ book cover lists are great. My favourite bookstore is an independent seller called The Raven’s Parlour Bookstore here in the Barossa Valley. It’s a little store crammed floor-to-ceiling with books, and the store owners are discerning book-lovers and have fantastic taste.