Typesetting vs. Page Layout

Although I use the terms “typesetting” and “page layout” interchangeably, they are actually two separate functions.

Typesetting involves creating or setting all of the text elements for a publication. The text (type) is styled and sized according to the font (typeface), size, and positions specified by the designer. Books almost always arrive in my office as Microsoft Word files that were supplied by the author and then edited and prepared by the publisher. I’ve only been asked to actually type books on four occasions, always under unusual circumstances, and before everyone had access to a personal computer.

Page layout is the act of putting together or “layout out” the pages as they will appear in the final printed book or other publication. One of the reasons, among many, that desktop publishing was such a revolution is that it merged the function of typesetting with page layout, enabling a single person to produce a greater volume of work than two or three people could do in the past. I am able to provide an equal or superior product in less time and for a fraction of what it used to cost.