Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Everything Matters, Now Compromise

Compromise is in the air. I can't pretend otherwise; let's see how it applies. Here I am moving along, creating something, and without warning I have to put on the brakes. Decision time. I have to make a choice which may be miniscule or enormous—either way it will affect my progress and the piece as a whole. It's a bit confusing to think that everything matters, that I may have to compromise, let something go, give something up.

Let's look at a visual chart of choices to consider while designing a book. Hang in there with me a minute.
Original desires are in yellow.
Problems are in red.
Decisions are in blue.

Let's say I want to make multiple copies of a handmade book on yellow paper and it has some kind of text. Now, notice how the original concept changes depending on the choices. These are hypothetical problems, examples to show what might happen. The green boxes exhibit four different outcomes.

Possible outcomes:
Left: sidebound book with thin paper, doubled, printed as I wanted it, but it won't open flat. 
Right: accordion fold book with thick paper, printed as I wanted it, but it won't be yellow. 
Bottom Left: one handmade copy, and multiple facsimiles, available at a lower cost to the readers. 
Bottom Right: one handmade book or very small edition of handmade books, higher priced.

So you can see that all of the choices matter, but I may end up making a book that is different from the book I had in mind. In some way, it just might be better.

Another possibility is that I spend the time and make a large edition by hand.

A framework by Eli Goldratt that is used in business and engineering, known as the "triple constraint," involves problemsolving, and through it, compromise. One example is: "Good, fast, cheap: pick two." If you examine what we have looked at, you can see that our choices lead to those as well: binding (how the book handles/quality), labor (production time), cost of materials. Quality, time, cost. Still, we only get two. Something's gotta give. The choices all matter; they just aren't always easy.


moreidlethoughts said...

Snap! Pretty much what I faced recently, in making books for an exchange.( a link, if you're interested

As in life, we must sometimes step aside from our intentions.
Thanks for the nice clear graph.

ersi marina said...

I hate compromising and yet it is a stubborn companion to my life. It follows me close behind and often taps on my shoulder. Quite an impertinence, I know, but I've learned to keep calm :) As a newbie in handmade books, I face tough decisions (and make silly mistakes) all the time. I'm very pleased that your blog and books now follow me closely too, they make everything easier -and much more enjoyable.