Why you require professional book design
Are you thinking of publishing a book? If you are, and want to be successful at it, keep book design in mind. Many authors in Kenya try to cut the costs of publishing their books by eliminating graphic designers and laying out the book themselves and make a remarkable mess of their otherwise good books.
The goal of a professional designer in book design is to make the book appealing and comfortable for the reader. Because design covers all the parts of the book, from the cover to details like spacing, it can make or break a book, hence the need to pay careful attention to the otherwise easy to ignore details.
The following are 10 reasons why you need to hire a designer to layout your book for you:
- They will have the right tools
A professional and experienced designer will have the appropriate software suite to ensure professional results. While Microsoft office may do the job, it will not be the same at any level, when compared to a book designed on the relevant design software.
- The Cover design is your selling point
Professional designers understand how crucial the book cover is and the role that it plays in the marketing & sales process. They will know to make it simple but catchy, take into account essentials like readability, typography selection and size as well as the image to use in order to invoke interest and curiosity in a reader.
- Margins and spacing
Professional designers know all about spacing and its relevance in making a book an easy read or a messy collection of words. Tight margins will make your margins intimidating and cramped. In some cases, part of the text can be lost in the inside edge or “gutter”, which gives the reader a hard time reading. Your book will appear more inviting with roomy and nice margins around the text. The reader can hold such a book comfortably, and even have space for marks or notes. The inside margin should be larger to ensure words do not fall into the inside edge.
- The right typeface
A readable font is a typeface that is easy on a reader’s eyes, one that is not only attractive, but also comfortable, no squint and appropriate for the larger age bracket. Livelier fonts can be used for book covers, chapter titles and the title page.
- Use of appropriate font size and leading
Selecting the right font size is imperative, If you make it too big, you risk having a large print edition. If you make it too small, you might as well provide your readers with magnifying glasses. While there is no rule to this, the 11-point type is used in many modern books. Some fonts may look larger or smaller with different letter shapes. A professional designer will know to count the number of words or letters that can fit on one line.
Leading is the space between lines, or the distance from the bottom of one line to the bottom of the next line. Using an experienced designer means they are likely using professional tools like Adobe® InDesign® which ensures they will keep this consistent.
- Text justification
Text justification, as used in typography, means setting it so your text runs right up both the left and right-hand margin, making an even rectangle. All layout platforms and word processors have this feature. The idea is that straight margins make long chunks of readable. The uneven edge will not distract readers’ eye, allowing them to focus on word flow.
- Indenting the first lines of paragraphs
The beginning of a new paragraph should be easy to notice on a book page. If not, your text will look like a run on of a block of words. For book design, it is better to indent the first line of the paragraph.
- Use of running heads or footers
While running heads are optional, they are the details that make the design of the book appear complete. These are little headings appearing above the text block on each page. The heads anchor text and assist readers to navigate books. They typically contain mainly the author’s name and book title. There are times when chapter titles might be used instead. Headers are different on left-hand and right-hand pages.
- Marking scene breaks with blank lines
Changes of scene are common in chapters. The designer will show this using a single blank line between the paragraphs. This will assist readers to understand change in perspective. Alternatively, small ornaments may be created & placed at the center, widening the break. They will know to keep the breaks simple and fun to reinforce the theme and mood of the book.
With these steps, you can appreciate the need to have an experienced graphic designer lay out your book in a clear and consistent manner that will make your book a ‘grab and read’.