As with writing, I try to fill the daunting white rectangle as quickly as possible, throwing the necessary text on there and pushing it around just to get rid of the void. Getting an idea of the shapes the words make – sometimes the titles can be rather cumbersome – then suggests certain compositions, which I’ll then sketch out on paper. Just lots of rough little thumbnails filled with scribbles.
Anything with a historical slant to it, I’ll get searching for images – ideally creative commons ones – in the hope that there’s something relevant or striking that can be used. Between the words and images and sketching, it’s then just a case of churning stuff in my head and on paper until things start to stick together. Which is possibly the dumbest description of the design process imaginable. For me, it’s all about finding the sweet spot between rational and instinctive.