A vibrant, colourful and refreshing looking cocktail book. Each recipe features rum as the main ingredient, and was tasted, tested, and photographed for the book.
With bars closed during lockdown, going out for cocktails wasn't an option. With most cocktail books being dull to look at, something needed to be created to bring summer fun back to summer.
Create a vibrant and interesting cocktail book that's fun to flip through, where instead of just ingredients to imagine a drink, the drinks and what they look like are front and centre.
From the beginning I wanted the pictures of the drinks to be in focus, and decided that each drink would get either its own separate spread, or would share a spread with just one other; no matter what though, there would always be a large photo of a drink on each spread.
The first concept I pursued featured a bright colour scheme with lime greens and bright blues, and a photo on the right page. It was nice, but felt too conservative and safe. I did end up using a similar colour scheme later though.
The second concept is the spread I eventually ended up styling the rest of my book after. While I was concerned about how I'd stage the photos, I really loved the look of the recipe and text being placed over a wide shot of the drink on a backdrop. It looks classy and cool, and each drink would be in the spotlight.
The final concept was an attempt at something retro. It would have required more photo editing than the time permitted though, and it felt too busy compared to the simple style of concept 2.
Initial Cover Concepts
Here is where I made most of the decisions about the visual style that I wanted my book to have. Taking the colour scheme used in the first layout concept I tried to connect it to the very open layouts of the second, while still having a distinct front and back cover. Ultimately, I decided upon having a yellow to lime green gradient running across the book and ending on the spine, with dotted lines accenting the spine and running off the title.
The second concept was inspired by short dust jackets found on some books, but the white looked strange, too much of the photo on the front cover was covered.
The third concept was an attempt at an illustrative cover, depicting a rum running boat using the chosen colour scheme. It was a fun idea, but was too far away from the photography-focused book I wanted to make.
The Final Book
With the creation of the final book, a few changes were made to the initial layout mockup and the cover. The primary direction of the gradient was changed to be horizontal, and I substituted my own photography in where I was previously using filler pictures.
The dotted line motif from the cover was used throughout the book to bring emphasis to titles, and alternated between either the green-yellow gradient, or the soft white of the wood.
For the actual photography, this was my first time ever staging any kind of food and I had minimal experience with professional photography. The stage for the photographs was a piece of loose wood as the base and a detached piece of some dark wooden shelves in the background, to provide a suitable backdrop for text. All of this was resting on top of a precarious set of sawhorses placed outside in the driveway.
I photographed the drinks outside to take advantage of the bright sunlight, which I felt would add bright summery vibes to the book. This resulted in stark shadows and interesting reflections in the ice that I really enjoyed.
The one major downside to using natural light was trying to keep the lighting consistent between pictures, which resulted in me only being able to take a couple photos a day, at a specific time of day. Despite that, some photos are lit a little differently from others.
Ultimately I'm quite happy with how it turned out. I couldn't get it printed because of issues with shipping, but I am hoping to get that done at some point.