book design : e.s. poland
At the end of May, I completed a big design project in collaboration with Joanna Zaranska, Founder of the Early Stage School in Poland. The project, a Fotoplay-style book and accompanying CD, commemorates the 20 Year Anniversary of the English language school (which now serves more than 4,000 students) that Joanna built, with the help of her daughters and many excellent teachers and administrators.
Because our collaboration (back and forth across the ocean, from Belfast, Maine to Warsaw, Poland), was done via Skype and email, I was especially excited to receive a real-life package in the mail
which was filled with the real, printed book and packaged CD.
To create the 46 page book, Joanna had sent me more than one hundred photographs,
to design pages that would be drawing prompts, in the style of the Fotoplay pages the students have been using in their classes all year.
But first, she wrote all of the Polish text, in both prose and poetry, to tell the story of the history of the school, and the theatrical art-filled home where she was raised in the town of Wyszkow. (Which, by the strangest, chills-up-my-spine-when-I-learned-of-it coincidence, is the town where my ancestors lived many years ago!)
Joanna’s prose (first box on the left part of each right-hand page) and her poems (in the center of each right hand page) tell the story of the roots of her creative spirit, her time living in England, and how the English language opened doors in her life…
Each left-hand page is a Fotoplay page, with an English prompt that builds on the Polish story/poem on the right. Below is a page for Joanna and her daughters, who have played an important part in the creation of the school. Tonia (Antonina), on the left, is a longtime teacher and currently the Director of Early Stage. Aga, on the right, is a jazz singer and teacher/composer in charge of the many musical productions at the school.
There’s a page for the Palace of Culture, an important Polish cultural icon known to every Polish child.
But here in the book, students are given the opportunity to design their own city around it…
There are a number of pages to honor the teachers, designed as games with instructions
to reflect the inventiveness and playful humor teachers use to teach the English language.
There are pages to showcase the theater, a big part of the Early Stage school (thus the name, Early Stage which has double meaning: theater and first phase of learning).
There are also pages to highlight the special international projects that Early Stage is involved with,
where they team up/communicate with children in other countries via Skype,
We ended the book by challenging the students to participate in a competition, a project to complete during their summer vacation: They are invited to create their very own Fotoplay pages, using their own photographs.
I loved working on this project (here’s the back cover of the book),
and as Joanna said when we finished the last edits, I look forward to our next collaboration…