For the vast majority of companies and brands, digital policies have become an increasingly important issue – particularly following the introduction of the long-dreaded GDPR regulation in Europe. Panic has also been spread by news reports of critical data breaches committed by high-profile companies including Facebook and Linkedin.
Knowing about Digital Policy is liberating. It is an opportunity to be creative inside specific limits.
Kristina Podnar, writer and consultant
Kristina Podnar is a successful digital consultant, who completed her first book, The Power of Digital Policy, in 2018.
She has been involved in digital policy for many years, working as a consultant for diverse companies and organisations around the world.
It seemed to her that everybody was searching for answers about digital policy and best practices.
From this, Kristina sensed that the time was right to release a book that could share her vast knowledge and experience with the world.
At the beginning of our collaboration, my exposure to digital policy was limited to the GDPR regulation.
But I found Kristina so passionate about her work, and about the subject itself, that I didn't hesitate to ask if she could try explaining digital policy as though she was speaking to a nine year-old!
Kristina immediately gave a simple example, of her son playing in their backyard. She had warned him not to go outside the fence, and found that by imposing this rule, she had created an opportunity for her son to become very creative with whatever he had in his reach, inside the specific limits she had set for him. I truly loved that metaphor, and I perfectly understood her point.
I immediately began to think how the story about Kristina's son playing in their backyard could be applied to the book’s visual language.
Inspiration came unexpectedly, from the classic children’s adventure story The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
I imagined the online world as a walled, secret garden waiting to be discovered. Inside these walls are wild flowers that could seriously harm the visitor (a company, a small business owner, the marketing team, etc...).
Kristina Podnar's book would become the key to this wild world. Instead of experiencing harm there, the visitor could tame and transform it into a beautiful place, in which businesses can thrive and grow.
Based on my initial analysis, I then developed the book’s cover as a wild and unusual garden.
The colour choice was another very important part of the design process. I challenged myself to use just three colours to avoid the book appearing too playful, losing its strength and credibility in the process.
Using the cover as a guide, I developed a series of illustrations for the internal pages, which would represent specific ideas taken from each chapter.
I also asked Kristina to indicate which concepts she wanted to represent as infographics, so these could be easy to understand and digest for the reader.
Once the visual language was in place, I started to think about the way the book would be read and referenced by the reader.
I designed a map of the book, to illustrate how the chapters relate to one-another. I then transformed the same sketch into an eye-catching graphic that would be placed at the very beginning of the book, to help the reader understand the big picture even before starting their journey.
While organising the map content, I also began to organise the hierarchy of the single chapters.
Once all the connections between chapters and pages were clearly defined, it was very easy to move into the book’s layout design, in what I refer to as its micro-hierarchy: titles, subtitles, paragraphs, footnotes and callouts.
At this point, I started researching screen-friendly typefaces that would also look graceful in print. In fact, my scope was also to design the epub3 version of the book!
After four months of intense work, the book was successfully launched in March 2019.
Kristina and I collaborated on every aspect of the book, and her knowledge was crucial in turning this title into a masterpiece.
When we started, we knew that we were going to do something groundbreaking – and we did.