Ben Cracknell Studios is a small experienced team of book designers and support staff. We aim to be highly organised and we work efficiently, taking a careful and methodical approach to all our projects.
We offer comprehensive design and typesetting services for many types of publishers. This website will tell you a little about us and what we do for our our current clients.
Royal Mail Timeplates
Who designs all the timeplates that you see on the front of the postboxes? How many postboxes are there? All your Postbox-timeplate queries can now be answered – and more!
We designed the timeplates – carefully keeping to Royal Mail guidelines of course. We then developed an automated system to convert a spreadsheet of data into 118,000 pieces of artwork – it took three days to run!
In April 2012 we were asked to produce a new system so the client could trigger the process by email – damaged plates and those that need updating can be ordered directly and plate artwork is automatically returned within the hour. The process currently produces between three and five thousand pieces of artwork a month.
For over ten years we have been creating fonts to help in the production of the books we produce and for other designers.
Recently we created a complete font of a book designer’s handwriting. She couldn’t find a suitable one in her collection and decided that as she had such neat writing she could use her own. She realised it would be easier to have a font than to have to write out, scan and place every instance in which it was needed. The font was used for the recipe headings in the cookery book with great success.
It was a great opportunity to design Jonny’s autobiography for Headline. I am a keen rugby spectator and remember well the excitement of his world-cup-winning kick in 2003. I also managed to get credibility points with my son, a rare occurrence – particularly as Jonny sent him a signed copy! What a gent.
As ever Jonny had an eye for detail and was worried that he was being too picky in his corrections – not so. We were more than happy to help him get his book right. We are used to this as we know a few editors who have... ‘a keen eye for detail’ shall we say!
We’ve built strong relationships with major publishers and have worked on a wide range of material from complex Primary and Secondary ELT to celebrity biographies, and most things in between.
Able to provide text designs and mark-ups, we pride ourselves in our typesetting and page make-up skills and are equally at home working in Quark or InDesign.
We are happy creating all kinds of text designs, ranging from straightforward novels to very complex technical reference books. We also design book covers and plate sections.
Working on both fiction and non-fiction titles allows us to flex our creative muscles and produce designs that balance current market trends with the needs of our clients.
As careful typesetters, we are extremely proficient at the preparation of text for import to page. We always re-read corrections made in-house and happily liaise with editors and authors to resolve problems and to keep projects moving.
We positively relish the challenge of designing and setting complex, encyclopaedic reference books, listings and directories.
Taking pride in being adaptable, we’ve also successfully tackled some big data-driven projects, converting information from complex databases to final typeset pages.
We are happy to research and source artists and commission artwork, projects range from a single piece to a complete series of books.
We are regularly trusted with the art buying for big projects. As a result over the past few years we’ve built good working relationships with a number of illustration agencies and artists around the world.
We get very positive feedback from our clients, who include:
- A&C Black
- Anova Books, Collins & Brown
- Atlantic Books
- Hachette UK
- Isobel Gillan
- Macmillan, PanMacmillan
- Oxford University Press
- Thames & Hudson
- Virgin Books
Ben started out as a full-time designer for Thames & Hudson. He was then tempted away by the position of Design Manager for the Cassell Group and managed the Blandford and Ward Lock imprints. In 1994 he left that position to pursue a freelance career and teamed up with Ruth shortly afterwards. Ben has always been computer-literate and occasionally works as a software trainer for a London-based company and is a short-course lecturer on book design for Book House.
Ruth was educated to degree level at Southampton University. She worked for ten years in an NHS Medical Illustration Department, as a Medical Photographer before joining the studio full-time in November 1994. She is now an expert layout technician with a particular interest in careful text preparation and the editorial side of things. In 2011 Ruth went freelance but is still a great support when text needs dealing with!
Deb joined the studio in 2002. In 2011 she left the studio but still helps out when we need her particular skills in page layout.
David’s skill as an illustrator (and web-designer) – is a great resource to call upon, especially when deadlines are tight!
Fiona is an illustrator and book designer. The book design experience gained at Dorling Kindersley combined with her illustration degree give her an excellent skillset for ELT books.
Ben Cracknell Studios
11a Park Road