Professional Design for Books
Design by Nancy Starkman, author of Book Design: Simple and Professional. She is the expert in coffee table book design.
We’re designing books for authors & self-publishers.
Great book design is important to book sales, particularly coffee table book design. Nancy Starkman, Star Print Brokers president, is expert in the design field, designing books for decades. In fact, she wrote the book!
Professionals use Adobe InDesign.
All coffee table books should be designed with Adobe InDesign. Nancy works exclusively in InDesign. Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator are quite useful for brochures, but are a not meant to be the work horse for the design of books. The industry standard for book production is Adobe InDesign. However, Microsoft Word is most often in use by self-publishers for novels or any book with text flowing from page to page.
Graphic artist vs. book designer.
Books are a different beast altogether and setting up a book to print requires more than great design skills. It requires specific knowledge about book layout and book construction … that is, if you want a professional looking book. Graphic designers who routinely do production work for brochures, sell sheets and the like, and often are not far enough down the learning curve to design an entire book.
Separating the wheat from the chaff.
An author might not know the difference between professional design, layout and amateur work. But, many savvy book buyers do, or at the very least they see something that is not quite right when evaluating a book to buy. This is true of an individual buying a book, or a bookstore book buyer.
With so many authors self-publishing these days; have the professional looking book. Please consider using Nancy and her team to design your book, and we routinely do high-end coffee table book design.
Why use Star Print Brokers and Nancy Starkman for your book design?
Nancy Starkman literally wrote the book om book design! You can buy it on Amazon or simply hire Nancy Starkman. See her personal book design website. Few schools teach design specifically for books, which prompted her to write a book on the subject. It is not a book about how to become proficient in InDesign, but instead is a compilation of many years of knowledge and training that is needed in order to design a professional looking book … even coffee table book design.
A professional book design is about more than graphic design style.
It is also about the construction of a book and not how to put together a brochure. Books are a different beast. What goes in the front matter? Which elements or sections go on a right or left-hand page? For instance, a book designer needs to understand the parts of a book, where the different sections can go, like the foreword and introduction. They need to know what goes on the copyright page and where is is placed in the book.
Suggestions for professional looking books.
We will provide suggestions to prepare files for prepress. If you are doing a photography book or any book with high-quality photography, you will want to use a professional designer of books. You need a cover that sells in addition to well-designed text pages. See some sample pricing.
Here are some of the things one needs to know:
- Book layout including use of correct title page, copyright page, page placement (recto versus verso), page numbering, indexing, acknowledgements, table of contents, foreword, and preface.
- Color reproduction as it appears on a monitor versus color booth, digital proof, press proof or printed signature.
- Cover design that sells.
- Interior text page design that is appealing to the reader.
- Process color versus spot color and when they are used, and how it affects the printing quote.
- CMYK mode versus RGB and when to use either.
- File formats and which is best for book printing versus monitor viewing.
- Resolution and why we can’t use your 1 inch x 1 inch 300 pixels per inch photo on a full-page.
- Typography and why a quick read on typefaces is not a substitute for knowledge and experience specifically with typography and type pairs.
- Color theory and how to incorporate it successfully into a quality book.
- Indexing is best when expertly done by a professional indexer.
Following the prepress guide.
While she and her team provide great design, but if you are taking on a book yourself or using another designer, please see our prepress guide. The prepress guide gives you all the information you need to make sure your files are ready to print.
However, this is for Star Print Brokers and does not necessarily apply to other printers. Another printer or print on-demand provider may have different or additional instructions. It is best to check with the service provider that you choose, in order to make sure the book is setup properly to print, either on offset press, or output via on-demand.
Numbering, punctuation and type for proper design.
It is accepted practice to have the front matter numbered with lowercase Roman numerals, and then for the numbering to start over with Arabic numbers starting with 1. Page 1 is the first page of the book, whether it is chapter one or the introduction, it is always a right-hand page.
Mistakes like not starting on book with a right-hand page that is numbered 1, are not that uncommon. We even see “foreword” misspelled as “forward.” When is a hyphen used, an em space or an en space? What typefaces pair or go together, and why? What is the difference between a typeface and a font?