Designing, editing and printing a beautiful book is as much a labour of love as writing it is. The history of St David’s Marist Inanda has been just such a project for Flow.
We were commissioned to produce A Courageous Journey 1941-2016 for St David’s, which wanted to mark its 75th anniversary in a special way.
While it had humble beginnings on what was then farmland (but is now part of the economic powerhouse of Sandton), St David’s has grown into one of South Africa’s leading boys’ schools, producing achievers in business, sport, the sciences and many other arenas.
From the Marist brothers who established and taught at the school for decades to the boys who were educated there, the St David’s history is replete with colourful characters and fascinating stories.
Writers Alastair Smurthwaite and Julie Egenrieder spent many months researching and drafting the manuscript, digging out photographs, and interviewing old boys, past and present staff, Marist brothers, parents and the school’s board of governors.
Then it was over to Flow to take Alastair and Julie’s content, and present it in a fresh, engaging and memorable way.
The result is A Courageous Journey, filled with the events, the triumphs and the tribulations of St David’s history, told in the voices of many, many people who’ve lived, taught and been educated there. Two versions were produced: a standard edition and a special limited edition.
In the book’s foreword, St David’s executive headmaster Mike Thiel writes, “Our Jubilee [75th] year called on us to remember the past, to celebrate the present and to look to the future – this commemoration of a special school does all of these things, and I have no doubt you will find yourself captivated by every page.”
St David’s advancement manager Lara Klement, who managed the project from the school’s side, says the book has gone down well with its audience.
“Flow’s talented design and editing team took the thoroughly researched and beautifully written content provided by Alastair and Julie, and created a hard-copy book that takes the readers on a walk down the St David’s memory lane.
“The book is engaging as it is filled with personal stories and anecdotes of those who walked the journey, be it as pupils, staff, old boys, management, parents or others. We’ve had a warm and positive reaction from those who have purchased and read A Courageous Journey,” Lara says.
Julie, too, is very pleased with how the book turned out, saying, “Certainly Flow Communications and the staff I interacted with were very professional, and without their advice and experience A Courageous Journey would not be the impressive book it is. I am very proud to have been involved with the process, having learnt a great deal from the individuals I worked with at Flow.”
In fact, such was her experience that she presented on it to the Forum for School Museums and Archives Conference, where she shared advice Flow had given her:
- Ideally, a school should have a plan for at least two years’ lead-in time and have a concept meeting with the professionals
- Preferably there should be a researcher, writer (a professional full-time writer) and one person at the school in control – the more senior that person, the better for decision-making
- A good editor, who is consistent with a style policy (regarding use of capital letters, spellings, etc.), is important
- A good designer is needed for laying out and structuring the material
- And, finally, a project leader is necessary to bring everyone and everything together