Thoughts on Book Design and Layout

I’ve been designing and typesetting text and trade book interiors for almost 30 years. In my opinion, it’s all about making the text “readable” and easy for the reader to distinguish the main elements such as the hierarchy of the titles and headings.

I almost always use a simple and popular font with serifs for the main text, such as a Garamond, Caslon, or Goudy. I want to use a font that is “familiar” to the reader, which will hopefully make the book more appealing and easier to read.

It’s usually good to use a sans serif or more distinctive or unusual font for titles and headings, but not always necessary depending on the type of book. Sans serif headings work great for most topics, but I just finished the design for a book about the American Revolution, and didn’t use any sans serif or modern-looking fonts or design elements.

When in doubt, I think simpler is usually better. I try to use a lot of white space and generous margins to enhance readability. I think of book design as a “conservative” art form, unlike other types of art or design, which are trying to capture your attention. Readers will stay with a book for a long time and you already have their attention. I don’t want to waste their time or distract readers with unnecessary design elements or overly elaborate formatting.

Andrea

 

Approaching downtown Los Angeles at night.

lalights2a_3x175

 

Downtown Los Angeles at night.

lalights6_3x175

 

Copyright © 2014 Andrea Reider. All rights reserved.