The Right Design
A book's design gives the reader an idea of its intentions, its spirit, and the quality of its content. The designer's function is to give a manuscript a typographic and visual identity in harmony with the book's intent or function. Some publishers use the same designer for each of their books to maintain a consistent look, or to preserve the look of a series. Others hire different designers in order to create a more diverse image.
Shopping for a designer is an important undertaking, and involves the following:
In the book's layout, it is most important to give focus to the primary element. If the writing is central, for example, the artwork should not distract from it.
A book's typeface should be virtually invisible. Eccentric typography draws attention to itself and breaks the spell of reading. A good book designer will listen to an editor's sense of the book's function and tone, then translate this information into an appropriate typeface and design.
A book's interior is almost always organized into the following order (some items are optional, of course):
A cover design serves several marketing purposes:
Before the designing a cover, a publisher needs to ask several budgetary, aesthetic, and marketing questions:
With these questions answered, an experienced book or graphic designer can work within budget to serve both aesthetic and marketing objectives.
The designer works with the publisher's edited manuscript in digital and hard copy form. This material also contains the editor's instructions for the designer. Titles, heads, sub-heads, text, illustrations, and captions are clearly marked. The designer uses a desktop publishing program to generate several prospective designs for the title page and text pages. The publisher and/or staff and designer review the various designs and decide which one is appropriate for the title.
The designer then creates a mock-up of the book. The editorial staff checks the page order, heads, subheads, and other elements for consistency. The book is then typeset and sent back to the editorial staff for a final proofread.
The corrected typeset manuscript, including the designer's instructions, is transmitted to the printer either in pages ("camera-ready copy") or in digital form. Digital form is preferred, and generally accompanied by a hard copy to avoid any confusion.
If you are using publishing software to do your own design, learn as much as you can by sharing your work in progress with friendly designers. An unprofessional-looking design will hurt sales.