Print or digital, your book’s appearance can make a huge difference. Before you send your manuscript out into the world, you have to think about how it will look to the reader.
Book design is about much more than just typesetting and making sure all the chapter headings are in the same font size (although those are pretty important too). The design of your book is about ensuring that every aspect of its appearance is consistent with the contents that you’ve worked so hard on.
Have a look at our book project samples and read on to find out more about the process.
Book design process:
1. Design concept
As with any creative design project, we start with the concept. This is when we sit down together (face to face or virtually) and discuss your requirements, your target readers, and all the other important factors we’ll weave into the design process.
You may be crystal-clear on what you want or maybe you want to explore a number of options, in which case, we’ll prepare more than one concept design so you can see how the same set of requirements can be met in different ways. See the samples below for two very different uses of the same colour palette to create a choice of concepts for the client.
- Concept on the left: the colour and layered effects will give the reader a sense of history and rich European culture.
- Concept on the right: a stronger contrast and bolder approach for a more modern ‘look and feel’.
The concept stage is where you immediately see the benefits of dealing with a professional designer. We’ll come up with options and choices that you otherwise wouldn’t consider. This is the foundation of your book’s design; everything else flows from here.
2. Typography and Font Pairing testing
Typography and fonts are all about the visual appearance of your words. Fundamentally, lettering has to be legible and comfortable to read, but there are also aesthetic considerations to making choices that fit your overall design concept. The key issues that we take into account are:
- Size of the book
- Your target market (e.g. age makes a big difference to how people read).
- Print or digital media (fonts don’t behave the same on-screen as in print).
- Cultural background of your target audience.
At Soul Space Design, we understand how a book’s typeface can affect the way it communicates with the reader.
One particular design issue is ‘font pairing’. It’s a rare book that has the same font all the way through: chapter headings, captions, subtitles, they’re all usually in a different font to the rest of the text. But not all fonts work well together and mixing them is something of an art. This is where we come in. We know from experience what works and what doesn’t. And more than that, we care about making sure your book has beautiful fonts that work together.
3. Layout & Typesetting
The layout stage is all about taking the agreed elements of your design and putting them together on the page. The typography, illustrations, photos, charts and tables are all put into a grid system.
By combining international best design practices (including kerning and leading, hyphenation and justification and weeding out ‘widows’ and ‘orphans’) once you approve the design concept, we’ll craft the structure of each and every page: margins, flowlines, spatial zones, markers, modules and columns, resulting in a consistent, clear and readable book.
4. Design revisions until approval
It’s incredibly important to us that you love your finished book, and a natural part of the design process is making revisions based on your feedback. We don’t set a limit on the number of revisions (within reason), instead we prefer to work until the book is just as you want it!
5. Pre-press files for commercial print or Print on Demand.
At this stage, you are completely happy with the look and feel of your finished book, and production (print or digital) can begin.
6. Digital files ready for distribution.
We send your finished files to your chosen print and digital suppliers.