INTERIOR BOOK DESIGN
Most people have no idea that someone designs the inside of a book. They think it’s just what happens when you use Microsoft Word. Clearly, a well-designed cover has a lot to do with your decision to buy and read a book. But what keeps you reading is your brain. If the print on the page is not easy to read, your brain will tell you to do something better with your time. Even perfect grammar and great story telling may not overcome a poorly designed interior.
So what makes a great interior? Here are a few checkpoints.
- Is the typeface the right choice for the content?
- Were serif and sans serif used correctly?
- Are there reasonable margins that allow space for your thumbs? Or to read type in the gutter?
- Is the layout hierarchy consistent and predictable?
- Are the placements of illustrations, photos, charts, and sidebars reasonable?
- Does their location and usage reinforce the content? Or do they make the reader think about things being in the wrong place?
- Does the choice of type support the publishing choice of print-on-demand vs. offset?
- Is the leading appropriate or artificial?
The answers to these represent some of the expertise that goes into designing a book interior layout. Those answers could make the difference between an award-winning book and a good one. Between a book that’s easy to read and one my brother would throw against the wall in disgust.
Believe me. I’ve seen him do that.
Below you will find a few pages from some of our books. I hope you can see that they represent good design decisions. Decisions based on how the brain chooses to read or not, instead of on some artificial construct of a designer that sounds like this: “I was going for a light and airy feel, so I used the sans serif for its clean un-fussy look and then I doubled the leading so the page was open and accessible.”
Honestly, I’ve heard designers say those words. That’s when I figuratively throw the book against the wall. And then, hopefully, I get the chance to turn someone else’s design decisions into something of which the author can truly be proud.