Elements of Book Design

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    Book Size

    • A page from Gutenberg's Bible.Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images

      A significant amount of planning and forethought should go into the size of your book. More than any other element of book design, a book's size has repercussions for everyone involved in the book's life cycle. The size of the book determines how many pages are needed to place words and pictures on the interior and how the book cover must be designed. In addition, the size of the book determines how it will be used by readers. Large books can be heavy and cumbersome, making them difficult to carry on the go. Smaller books don't show off images optimally, so they may not be ideal for cookbooks or fashion books.

    Typographic Palette

    • The typographic palette refers to the manner that blocks of text are represented on a book page. Book designers make decisions concerning the text grid: how deep a paragraph spans from the top line to the bottom and the horizontal width of the passage. Text justification is used by designers to flow identical widths of text from line to line (as opposed to jagged, "rag right" edges). Associated considerations are the width of the margins surrounding blocks of text, which are also used to place items such as captions and supporting material, depending on the book. Designers consider how content is best communicated to readers and replicate the design across the entire book.

    Book Covers and Spine

    • All books produced for market have some form of graphical element. Designers create an experience for readers with compelling graphics and text that begin to tell the book's story. Front covers use design to pique a viewer's interest, while back covers may continue imagery (wraparound) while also providing book blurbs, including synopsis and reviews. This is also where you can find the title's ISBN. Between the front and back cover you will find the book spine, which carries design elements in typography and color palettes from the cover to represent them on the bookshelf angle of the book.


    • The designer carefully considers the fonts in a title to convey a consistent and artistic representation of the book's content. The cover pages and heading and titles throughout the book may feature stylized fonts. These are matched with sans and sans serif fonts -- the standard for book text -- on internal book pages. Designers also consider subtleties of typeface such as whether italic fonts are distinct enough from the primary font.

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