Childrens heritage book design for Portmoak Primary School | David MacKenzie

Childrens book design for
A Cottage Full of Dreams

Client: Portmoak Primary School

Portmoak Primary School is a small, friendly school of five classes overlooking Loch Leven in Kinross-shire. As part of a recent school-wide project to encourage pupils to investigate their local heritage and teach them about publishing, the school launched publishing company PPS Publishing.

Their first publication was to be a history of local poet Michael Bruce, most famous for his poems ‘Elegy Written in Spring’ and ‘Ode to the Cuckoo’, and whose 18th Century cottage still exists in the village as a museum of his life. After the children had written and illustrated a variety of content for the book they invited me to come in and lay out the book and take it to its finished form.

Front cover of the childrens book 'A Cottage Full of Dreams'.
Inner pages of the childrens book 'A Cottage Full of Dreams'.

During the design process I endeavoured to retain the children’s fingerprints on the design of the book, making sure the focus was on showing off their colourful, lively creations to tell Michael Bruce’s story. Special care was also taken to ensure the content was pitched at a level that was neither too simplified, or too complex, to ensure the book was accessible for all ages.

My involvement in the project also gave me a great opportunity to meet with the pupils and talk to them about the role of a graphic designer in the publishing process and discuss with them their requirements for the book.

Working with the children was a fantastic experience and their engagement in the pitching and feedback process made my job a pleasure. The final result was a clear and colourful history, easily readable by adults and children alike and designed and printed on a tight budget and launched to great feedback from the local community.
My involvement in the project also gave me a great opportunity to meet with the pupils and talk to them about the role of a graphic designer in the publishing process and discuss with them their requirements for the book.

Working with the children was a fantastic experience and their engagement in the pitching and feedback process made my job a pleasure. The final result was a clear and colourful history, easily readable by adults and children alike and designed and printed on a tight budget and launched to great feedback from the local community.

David MacKenzie giving a presentation to a Portmoak Primary School class.
A spread from the childrens book covering Michael Bruce's Education.
 spread from the childrens book covering his house on the Cobbles.
 spread from the childrens book covering occupations in the 18th century.
 spread from the childrens book covering his inspirations and creations.