Complete Guide to Book Design!
Are you taking your book design seriously? It could mean the difference between a four-star review and a five-star review!
Book design is one of the most essential components of your book formatting or book layout. You may not realize it, but professional design elements implemented in your book design can make the difference between a good book and a great book. In the following article, we’re going to be taking a look at some of the different elements of book design and how you can incorporate them into your books or upcoming projects!
If you don’t have the time, experience, or equipment necessary to perfect your book design, then don’t panic. Author Services Australia works with a team of formatting specialists that are experienced in children’s book design, fiction book design, and a variety of different non-fiction book designs. Don’t hesitate to contact us for any book design or formatting quotes.
What Does Book Design Mean?
According to Wikipedia, book design is the art of implementing content, design, format, and the sequence of your novel into a coherent unit. In other words, book design pulls the entire book together and presents it to the reader in one easy to read and cohesive unit.
World-famous typographer Jan Tschichold said book design was “though largely forgotten today, relies upon methods and rules upon which it is impossible to improve, and which have been developed over centuries. To produce perfect books, these rules have to be brought back to life and applied.”
The Chicago Manual of Style is exclusively used by most book design experts and governs the overall ‘rules of book design’ and how your formatting will flow through your book. There is a variety of different styles and book design elements that are considered ‘rules’ in the Chicago Manual and Style. Your book designer or formatter should follow these rules to format your book successfully.
What Are Some of the Elements Involved In Professional Book Design? Let’s Check Out the Front Matter!
The first part of the book design is the front matter. Your book is going to incorporate many of these different front matter options, but not necessarily all of them. Some front matter is required, but not all authors will choose to you every aspect of the below front matter options in every book they write.
In the table below, we have a brief explanation of some of the front matter than you can incorporate into your book design:
|Name of Front Matter||Voice||Its Purpose|
|Half Title||Publisher||A plain page that proceeds your title page and displays only the title of your book.|
|Frontispiece||Author or Publisher||Either a decorative illustration or image opposite the title page. It’s usually related to the theme of the book, but most authors have replaced this with a list of previous works.|
|Title Page||Publisher||Repeats the title and author from the cover and usually incorporates elements of the cover or book design. You can also add publisher details, location of publication, and date of publication.|
|Colophon||Publisher and Printer||They are otherwise known as the copyright page. It can be on the verso (left) of the title page or placed at the back of the book. Should contain all relevant copyright information, print dates, author, printer, and publisher information.|
|Dedication Page||Author||Your dedication page should appear before your main body of the text. It’s not compulsory but an excellent way to thank people that have contributed to your book.|
|Epigraph||Author||This could be a poem, quotation, or phrase and can serve as your preface or summary.|
|Table of Contents||Publisher||Your table of contents will include chapter headings, and sometimes nested subheading and the appropriate corresponding page number.|
|Foreword||Someone other than the author||Your foreword is usually an introduction to the book or story written by someone other than the author. It could explain what’s going to happen in the book or the relevance of the book compared to other subject matter.|
|Preface||Author||Your preface is usually written as a story of how the book came to be or how the idea for the book came about. It’s sometimes followed by thanks to contributors.|
|Acknowledgments||Author||These are sometimes part of the preface or placed in the back of the book. It’s another way to acknowledge people that contributed to the creation of the book.|
|Introduction||Author||Your introduction page should state the goals and purpose of your book for the readers.|
|Prologue||The narrator or a character from the book||They are mostly used in fiction and narrative non-fiction books. A good prologue will establish the setting for the book, any background details, and ties the theme of the book together.|
The Next Part of Book Design is the Body Matter or Body Text
The following definitions will help to explain the book design process of the body text or body matter:
- Volumes – A volume is a set of pages that are bound together. Therefore, every book is a volume or divided into several volumes to form one volume.
- Books & Parts – Single-volume books account for most of the non-academic books that you’re going to see or read. Books can consist of multiple volumes or parts to create one large series.
- Chapters & Sections – Most books are made up of multiple chapters or sections. Sections are usually found within chapters, not the other way around.
- Modules & Units – In some books that you read; you’ll find chapters that are grouped to form modules. In educational books and textbooks, you’ll most likely encounter chapters that are called units.
Your first page is known as the opening page. Many authors choose to incorporate special book design elements on their opening page or the first page in every chapter. This is known as décor. You usually choose décor that suits the theme of your book or matches previous books in the same series.
The Final Part of Your Book Design is the Back Matter
Sometimes referred to as end matter, the back matter of your book or manuscript may incorporate some or all of these different elements:
|Name of Back Matter||Voice||Its Purpose|
|Epilogue||The Narrator or Character from the Book||Usually found at the end of fiction books, the epilogue is a summary of the book written by one of the characters or the narrator.|
|Outro or Extro||Author||The opposite of an introduction, the conclusion of the book.|
|Afterword||Author||The afterword usually contains how the story came to be, or how the idea for the book was developed.|
|Conclusion||Author||The conclusion of your book. It should summarize what was covered in the book.|
|Appendix or Addendum||Author||The appendix may explain further details from parts of the book or explain any and correct any errors.|
|Glossary||Author||A list of definitions or words that are important to the work. Most commonly alphabetized. It could contain characters, places, or terms.|
|Bibliography||Author||Mostly found in research and non-fiction books, the bibliography is a list of other works that were cited when writing the book.|
|Index||Publisher||Mostly used in non-fiction books, the index is a list of terms found in the books.|
|Colophon||Publisher||Otherwise known as the copyright page. It can be on the verso (left) of the title page or placed at the back of the book. Should contain all relevant copyright information, print dates, author, printer, and publisher information.|
We hope this helps breakdown and explain a little more about the book design process and some of the elements which make up professional book design. Incorporating these elements, especially décor, into your printed books can be quite difficult, but they’re definitely worthwhile. When it comes to eBooks and paperback, they each have their own rules, and not all elements from paperback books can be incorporated into eBooks.
Book Design References