The design department in a publishing press is absolutely one of the most important aspects in the publication process. Design furthers the production of a book by working on its interior as well as its exterior—the book’s cover or, in some cases, a jacket. The cover is the very first thing readers will see as they browse their favorite bookstores in search of their next binge. Although no one should judge a book by its cover, it’s okay (and completely human) to be guilty of this at one point or another. Unfortunately, this can make a designer’s job a little more strenuous as they want to ensure the book’s success and maximum potential—not only for the author, but also for the press. In order for the designers to create a successful exterior, they will need to take into account various characteristics of the written piece.
Questions asked in the process of writing a cover brief for Sleeping in My Jeans: How should the cover of a young adult/suspense novel look? What should be on the cover to represent homelessness, hope, and the bond of sisters? Is the design going to be realistic or abstract?
What makes your favorite book your favorite? Most answers focused on content will include positive story elements related to characters, language, etc. These effective books and our interactions with them rely on the communication of a story, experience, or information through the “text” of the inside, the interior design. Along with the contents of a book, it is important that readers shape meaning, glean information, or immerse themselves in a text. If the text and interior elements do not have a familiar and clear structure separating different chapters or ingredients from steps, the product runs afoul of difficulty and confusion and invites criticism. By orienting the text to fit the market, reader, and content in the clearest way possible, books are memorable because of the choices made through interior design.
For a book to stand out in the marketplace, the typography element must be as important as all other aspects of the cover. All of the pieces must work together to cultivate a feeling or message about what one can expect inside the book.
It was the ’80s, and desktop publishing was just starting to take off. Bringhurst felt the sudden availability of digital fonts would overwhelm any inclination toward rational design and cause typographical chaos. He did what any perfectionist would do: write a book.
One of the most important aspects of design is knowing if it will be presented digitally or in print. Knowing how a design will be presented affects several design elements, so it is crucial to be aware of your options. In today’s digital world, a lot of designs are created to be displayed on a screen. Those who like to create digital art and manipulate images for online use tend to be more familiar with things such as aspect ratios, RGB (Red, Green, Blue), and pixels. These are concepts that are useful in the computer world, but they have different counterparts in the printed world. When designing for printed projects, designers need to be familiar with bleeds, CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black), and trim size. While it is possible to create a design without deciding whether it will be used online or in print, it will save a lot of time and energy if this decision is made before beginning a design project.