An eBook all about the film of the same name (full title: A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III). The movie is the brainchild of writer and director Roman Coppola, who also penned the behind-the-scenes section in this striking eBook. We had a chat with Metrodigi Design Director Kristi Koistinen to get all the details.
If this Q&A piques your interest in Charles Swan you can download the eBook for free on iTunes. And while you're at it, check out the movie that inspired it.
Q&A with Kristi Koistinen [Design Director, Metrodigi]
Q: The movie is quite a visual smorgasbord—did it give you a lot to work with in terms of design elements?
A: Indeed. The movie is chock-full of bright color and pop art. It communicates the goings-on between the ears of its protagonist, Charles Swan III, in extremely creative and unique ways. I felt like a kid in a candy store when selecting the imagery from the movie that I used in the book. The hardest part was narrowing down my selects.
Q: Did the fact that the character Charles Swan is a graphic designer influence the book?
A: Charles Swan's profession, and his particular aesthetic, had a direct influence on the design of the book. His perspective is very fanciful, and the visuals I used were designed to communicate that. In addition to all of the advertising art seen in his work, his taste for beauty is seen in other areas of his life—his car, his home, and his relationships. All of these things contributed to the mood, look, and feel of the book.
Q: How about the fim's 1970s setting?
A: The art and typography are 1970s through and through.
Q: Did you create the design for Charles Swan entirely in iBooks Author or did you use InDesign as well?
A: I used iBooks Author, Photoshop, and Illustrator for this book.
Q: Would you say that the book is a good example of the creative freedom of iBooks Author?
A: Yes. The creative freedom I had designing and building this book in iBooks Author was awesome. I did not feel limited in the slightest—much like Charles Swan, I let my imagination run wild! iBooks Author allows for complex layout grids, strong control over typography, and other design and page layout goodies. On top of that, it has wonderful widget capabilities. I love that this book has interactivity on nearly every page—including image galleries, video clips, and popovers.
Q: One design element that stands out in the eBook is the use of oversized pull quotes—either from Roman Coppola or from the film itself. Was that a nod to advertising taglines?
A: Not entirely. The primary reason I used very stylized pull quotes was to call out pivotal moments in the film. Within the stylized quotes, I brought focus to specific words that I felt helped tell the story. That said, the oversized pull quotes are indeed a design element that reinforces the graphic design/advertising agency world of the protagonist.
Q: Finally, can you tell us a bit about your creative process? Does it begin with a Swan-esque flight of fancy, or do you prefer a more grounded approach?
A: After an initial kick-off meeting, I hunkered down and studied the movie. Once I could recite it in my sleep (I must have watched it 4 or 5 times!), I mapped out a plan of action to make the book an extension of the movie and another inlet into Charles's head. Armed with a plan, I selected fonts, imagery and film clips, and began to build the book. I suppose this is the usual creative process and therefore grounded. On the other hand, I had a blast with this book and have to say a lot of "fancy" was involved...