What are Look Books?

I found your entries on line sheets, and the one you worked with Danielle on so much help. I think it was in the original posts of those that look books were brought up- in any case I know that I read about them on your blog. Until then I didn’t even realise there was such a thing. I attended Magic last year, and was in hopes of seeing some, but actually didn’t get much of a chance. So this where I reveal how ignorant I am. Are they just photographs or sketches of the line in more detail in a book format? I’ve formed this picture in my mind of a 3 ring binder with the sketches and colorways in it. Except that doesn’t sound all too professional to me. Am I way off base?

You’ve defined “look book” just fine as far as I’m concerned. Look books can be considered to be like portfolios, except they represent a product line rather than providing visual samples of one’s work history. I don’t know where the term comes from, it’s relatively new. I think it came out of the colleges.

Perhaps a 3-ring binder doesn’t seem professional but you don’t need -and should not have- a consumer level “professional” presentation package. Don’t forget that some retailers (and the people who work for you) will resent an expensive print project at that stage of the game because they’ll be subsidizing the cost of it. If you were a big huge company with oodles to spend, you wouldn’t even be asking me this question because you’d have a catalog and a whole art department.

A 3 ring binder with a selection of photos, sketches and swatches can be tastefully done (if needed, consider hiring an art student or somebody who’s into scrapbooking). Me, I throw all my photos into plastic sleeves of a 3 ring binder and call it good. What I don’t understand is why someone needs a look book if it’s a new line and they’re showing the samples right there because look books show past products or previous lines. I could see using a look book as a portfolio for a line, which could give a new account a feel for the design evolution of a company.

I worry if DEs get too wrapped up in trappings like this. You’re not going to fail at market for lack of a look book.

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