Book design


Almost 100% of the time when I show someone a book that I have designed, I get the response, ‟So, you designed the cover?” When I then tell them that I designed the whole book, I get a deer-caught-in-the-headlights kinda stare. Let me explain.

Here are some book design decisions to be made for a simple, text-only book:

  • Page size
  • Paper weight and type
  • Type of binding
  • Size of margins
  • Position of running heads
  • Position of folios (page numbers)
  • Font choice, size, & position for headings
  • Ditto for all text
  • Possible drop cap for first line
  • Space between letters, words, & lines
  • Colour of all elements
  • Table of contents and index design
  • Dedication design

Then the whole shebang has to be laid out from a manuscript supplied by the publisher. This entails all of the above plus fine-tuning the typography, i.e.: changing 1/2 to ½. etc. It goes back for proofing and revisions are made. And then more revisions are made again and again. A final high resolution PDF is made by the designer, yes, moi, to be sent to the printer. Printer’s proofs need to be checked to make sure that all is in order and then the book goes to print.

Oh, I forgot. And I design the cover (& spine & back cover) too. But that’s another story.