Letterhead + Logo Design 12 is our first book, so it’s inevitable that we’d make a few mistakes. If there’s ever a second book (check back with us late next year to see if that’s something we’d ever consider”¦ ever again), we’re already making notes on how we’d improve the process.

While most of the book is under the control of Rockport (LL12‘s publisher), this list only includes the things that were solely our responsibility. I could dodge these bullets with an excuse about how quickly all of this came together – but after looking at this list, that’s a pretty lame excuse.

1. We should have added form fields directly to the PDF

This one is pretty embarrassing. We’ve entered enough design contests ourselves to know exactly how tedious the form can be. Through our work on the New York State voter registration form, we even have some very specific experience in creating PDF forms. Even more embarrassing, fewer entrants filled out the form by hand than ripped it into a design program and filled it out digitally.

2. We should have explicitly asked entrants to protect their letterhead submissions

We assumed that this was understood, and we actually were very clear that the samples provided would be photographed for the book. Nonetheless, we received plenty of letterhead sheets that USPS had some fun with. And in a few cases, entrants folded their submissions into a #10 envelope. Yow.

3. We should have asked for business cards and envelopes with every letterhead

I don’t really know why this one slipped through the cracks. Given the title of the book, it’s logical to assume that the book will only feature letterhead sheets. But this series has always featured full sets of business papers. And truth be told, the people who took some initiative and sent everything were much more likely to get selected.

Several letterhead sheets were strong enough to get selected on their own, and in most of those cases, we asked for (and received) business cards and envelopes after the fact. But really, we’ll never know if we missed some opportunities here.

4. We should have worked even harder to contact design firms we wanted in the book

Here’s the long and short of it: although we’re really happy with the number and quality of work in the book, we really wish we had more of the big names. It didn’t occur to us that all of the great design firms would not enter LL12. That’s kind of na¯ve, but (and I say this with pride) Oxide enters most of these competitions. We like seeing our work in print, but it’s clear now that our idols don’t have the time for (or just aren’t interested in) our little book. We actually did send emails to many of these firms, but that didn’t get us as far as we thought it would.

As suggested, this is just the first part of this ongoing story. We’re well into the design of the cover and some interior pages, but all of the layout is still on the horizon. Every state of this process is a first for us, so there will certainly be many more lessons to learn.

View the project page for Letterhead + Logo Design 12.