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How did brainstorming and doodles turn into the book, Naughty x Nice: Ideas and Recipes from Kings Cross? At the end of every year, our team takes the opportunity to collaborate and create something beautiful for the people who support us and for ourselves. Over a delicious meal at a restaurant in Kings Cross in early October, the team threw around ideas of what the new project could be. We walked out with the silliest smiles on our faces, with an ambitious goal in mind: create a cookbook that positively impacts and inspires our local community. Here are the lessons we learnt as designers, the biggest challenges we encountered and the best surprises to come out of the Naughty x Nice project.

The Equilibrium team proofing the book

The biggest lessons we learnt:

 

  • 1. How to self-publish a book: we did a lot of research into production, including visits to printers and publishers. We saw first hand what kind of materials and methods were available and sustainable before deciding on size, stock and binding.

 

  • 2. Strategy is key: dividing different kinds of work and delegating efficiently was a big part of the book being successful.

 

  • 3. Trust our creative director: Bec’s experience was invaluable to the creative process. Bec pushed what was a ‘good’ concept into something great and memorable.
Strength Weakness Opportunity and Threat analysis

The biggest challenge was time – finding a time with busy restaurant, cafe and bar business owners to connect and gather material, time to write edit and illustrate in order to meet our print deadline and time to distribute the book around end of year craziness! Not to mention, we are a full service design studio first! Delivering client work is our highest priority.

 

Our amazing team dealt with the time challenges by banding together, dividing and conquering and going above and beyond over late nights and weekends to make sure the book was of a calibre we could be proud of and that would do the recipes and stories inside justice.

The Equilibrium team brainstorming

Visually representing 25 different recipes was a great creative challenge. We realised that liaising with business owners and art directing 25 food photography shoots was not a practical or unique approach. Our team experimented with lifestyle photography, collaging real ingredients such as spices from the recipes, using hand generated type and explored illustration styles. We tested combining these mediums in different ways before determining that illustration supplemented with lifestyle photography would give us the best visual outcome.

The Equilibrium team mocking up the book

People’s reaction to the concept and actual book have been overwhelmingly positive. The community was ready to celebrate the positives and were super generous with their time, ideas, recipes and stories.

It wasn’t just the contributors that were generous. Our supporters and readers were too. We received a lovely email from a long time local Frank, who kindly shared his memories and personal stories of Kings Cross after reading the book.

“Reading it brought back so many memories, I had forgotten how Kings Cross played such an important part of my growing up… I think The Cross lost its bohemian and creative spirit, and I am pleased it is finding that creativity again. Creativity in food and in urban living. Your Naughty x Nice book reflects that new creative spirit. Well done to the team.”

You can purchase a copy of Naughty x Nice here. We would love to hear your thoughts on the book and your stories of Kings Cross.

What we would do differently for our next book project?

1. Collaborate with a cutting edge printer and binder: Although we are happy with the outcome, it would have been amazing to partner with a printer and binder who wanted to push the limits of sustainable book publishing with us.

2. Allow more time: We embarked on a huge project with a three month window – many books take years to write! For our next book, we would allocate extra time for editing and tweaking.

 

3. Not use a crowd-funding campaign: This may not have been the best platform for us because of how niche the product is. We also learnt that crowd-funding remains a foreign concept for a lot of people.

 

4. Have a different strategy for postage and handling: We didn’t anticipate just how busy the post office would be around Christmas!

 

5. Collaborate with a gorgeous photographer: Photographs help bring the stories to life and capture the essence of the places these stories come from.

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