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Creating the design for ‘Armenia and Karabakh: The Stone Garden Travel Guide’ was a team effort by Matthew Karanian, the book’s author, and by Harut Art Genjoyan, the book’s creative designer. The author discusses their collaborative effort in this post.

As any author knows, writing a book is only the first step of a long process.

The ultimate objective is not merely to write a book, but to also get the book in front of people, and to get them to read it. In order to do this, it is essential for the book to have a compelling cover design that will catch the attention of a potential reader. And the interior design must also be attractive and user friendly, in order to create sales and to lead to satisfied readers.

The designer and I accomplished this objective by working collaboratively. We recognized that the best way to achieve this goal of a compelling design would be if the designer and author worked together. This is because the author knows what he wants to emphasize. Since I am also the book’s photographer, I knew what images I wanted to use to illustrate particular story lines. The designer, meanwhile, knows how to present the material in a compelling and fresh manner.

We were not shackled together during the design process. The designer worked on several design ideas, and presented them to me as alternative treatments. But when it came time to layout the text, the two of us worked together.

The result was a far better design, and a far more compelling book, than could have been produced if we had each worked solitary. This is something that I think is unique about the way Harut approaches his design work. He is eager to collaborate and to work as a team, even when this slows down the process.

The result was an award winning book. Sales have been strong, and the book has already won two awards for overall design and content. The book has several chapters, but throughout the book there is one consistent design theme that links everything together.

After seeing one or two chapters, the reader understands exactly where to look for maps, charts, and listings throughout the rest of the book. And since this is a reference guide that will be viewed many times, at many different sittings, we used color coded tabs to make it easy for the reader to locate each chapter. All of this makes the book pleasant to look at, and easy to use. When these attributes are combined with the strong textual matter, it becomes evident why the book has been so popular.

Books today have to compete with the Internet for the attention of readers. To compete effectively, books must be more convenient and user friendly than the internet. The designer and I accomplished this with the design for ‘Armenia and Karabakh.”