‘Tis the season to be jolly indeed! Meet Tellwell design-team member Gerardo Basilio. Read on to hear about his approach to book-cover and interior designs and how he adds whimsical or colourful touches to them!
Tell us about yourself.
I am Gerardo Basilio “GB” Faelnar. I have lived in Zamboanga City for almost 20 years and decided to become independent by going to Cebu after working in a startup in Zamboanga for a year. I graduated from Ateneo de Zamboanga University, where I was given a basic introduction to InDesign. The IT courses were more about web design and computer animation, so I put my feet in deep water when I applied and got hired by Tellwell.
I am really thankful to the design team for giving useful tips on solving certain obstacles I encountered since day one. Also, just throwing this out here, I have a twin!
What did you do before joining the Tellwell team?
I was an in-house web designer for a US-based company before joining Tellwell. Every design my employer needed was done by me, but no books. My first book-designing experience was with Tellwell, and I still find it fascinating to read the unique ideas that authors want to incorporate into their designs. I look forward to reading more creative briefs with out-of-this-world ideas.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I enjoy creating cover designs and hitting the right expectations as requested by the author. I also enjoy creating creatures or characters for illustrations that are not common (putting life into something that is not yet discovered, imaginatively speaking).
I enjoy the times when an author asks me to if they can put my name on the book cover or interior. But most importantly, I enjoy making authors happy.
Where do you draw creative inspiration from?
When I go out on errands or buy groceries, I try to find time to go to bookstores and look at the trending books. I browse through the internet to look for inspirations, too. I visit Pinterest, Dribbble, and Canva, and search for the top cover designs of a specific year/style. Also, re-reading the book description and author biography gives me outside-of-the-box ideas.
What type of book covers do you absolutely love doing?
I am still looking for a genre to focus on, but I keep in mind that using only one specific hat will hinder me from growing. By adapting to other genres I am able to create a variety of covers, which is a must-have skill for any designer. This skill can be applied to other mediums as well.
So, to answer the question specifically, I like doing photo-manipulated covers, as it helps sharpen my Photoshop skills.
Why is it important for an author to take their time to consider and review the interior of their book?
Even though the interior may look perfect now, there will always be a tiny error (it may be an extra period or space, or a missing comma) that the designer or editor might have missed. Taking your time at every step of the process will definitely be worthwhile, as you learn new things about book publishing and in return help Tellwell staff better understand the story behind your book.
What advice do you have for authors working with a book designer?
- Keep instructions/description short and concise
- Expect colours to be different from your original file submission
- If you have a detailed costume for a character on your cover with a specific pose, a creature that no one has seen yet and so on, then its an illustrated cover
- Properly plot corrections/instructions on revision PDFs
How does interior design help elevate a book?
A well laid out interior can help readers understand the content of a book better. Even small details when added on plain text, like an image or icon, will greatly help readers visualize an object or character better. Using different font sizes and styles will give hierarchy and help with flow for the readers. The striking effect that the author wants to exhibit will still be there even if there are no pictures.
What are some of the favourite projects you have worked on?
- Premium covers: I can create my own designs while honouring the author’s requests, so hopefully they’ll like my idea better than the original concept.
- Illustrations projects, especially my first illustrated book, entitled Cheeky Dog Duke.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
- Collecting Funko Pops collectibles
- Playing Pokemon games (and hunting shinies)