As we have previously seen, designing the cover is an important aspect of the book. The cover is what grabs the reader’s eye and without it, potentially no books would be read. However, once you have grabbed their attention, into the story they go. No matter how good the story is, if the typesetting is clunky, it makes the story feel clunky. If pictures are used but do not reflect the story, instead of enhancing the story it can bring the reader out and disrupt the story perhaps leading to a bad review. For this reason, typesetting is as important as the cover design.

Typesetting is done in InDesign. You have to set your document up to  match the brief given. Once you have your document, you need to import your text. Before you even change font etc, you need to make sure you have no mistakes in the text. This could include double/triple spaces, hyphens or en/em dashes used incorrectly or general mistakes. Using InDesign these can be found and changed quickly through the “find” option.

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 23.16.01Once done, we can then set up baseline grids which are invisible lines that align our text. We can see on the picture to the left, the blue lines — similar to that of old school textbooks — are the baseline grids and our Row, row, row your boat stay to that line.

After this, you need to style your text. This is done via the Paragraph Styles and Character Styles. Paragraph Styles enable you to change the entire paragraph and character styles enable you to change odd words/characters in that paragraph. Similar to Word in that you can choose size, font-type, weight and colour it also enables you to add drop characters to every new paragraph, change leading, kerning and other things as standard.

Within InDesign you can also add things to ‘Master Pages’. This means, whatever you put here can apply to the rest of the pages. You can now add running heads and page numbers to this master page and it will add it to all of the recto or verso pages you want. Important for if you want to add chapter titles to each page of that chapter.


Cover Design

This week we had a look at cover design. Becky informed us that to get the cover design that everyone wanted, it takes a lot of time. Sometimes, it can take ages for editor, design, production and author to agree on a design of the book cover. A the end of the day, the designer gets last say on whether the proposed idea is good enough or how to change it. It is part of the designer’s job to get illustrators and to IMAG0823_1_1make sure the brief is easy enough to understand. Somewhere where people show their illustrations is the website http://www.hireanillustrator.com/i/. Here you can look through people’s illustrations, request portfolios and submit pieces of work to be seen.

Becky showed us her work on “I Capture the Castle” by Dodie Smith. We can see the multiple versions that this book went through. All similar but all different. The Great Gatsby was the influence for this book. It took many, many changes and tweaks before the final edition of the book was agreed on.


After this we discussed cover grids. This is done using InDesign. You start with the measurements of the book needed, add a 5mm bleed around the entire book. It is easier to do any illustration changes andScreen Shot 2015-05-11 at 09.42.48 assembly in Photoshop. The publishing house will give you the dimensions needed but you must stick to them. In Photoshop, you need to include the bleed into your page dimensions so that when you put it into InDesign it fills out to the bleed line. This is so the colour is continuous to the very edge of the book cover, allowing for any extra paper the cutter might put on. Similarly, this is why we need to make sure that nothing important is near the edge of the cover as this could be cut off if the cutter is slightly off. The image shown is one for a picture book.

From this you need to add in grids. These are just the edge of the cover (without bleed), the spines and (if a hardback) the flaps. Wherever the cover is to fold, you have to add fold marks. These are just little straight lines of dots that you place on the grid lines (N.B: Grid lines do not appear on the exported and printed version of the cover but fold marks do).

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 10.00.33Once all this is done, then you can get to the fun part of designing the cover.




Typography is the appearance of printed matter. Type can influence how someone feels and thinks about what they are reading. However, thef84d20b5-fd8f-41e3-9786-d3c2cc659aac colour, size and ‘jazziness’ of the type can influence it too. The type ‘Trajan’ is used for both Game of Thrones and Sex and the City. Both totally different products and genres but due to how the type is coloured, it changes how the reader sees the type. We can see that the points, kerning and tracking are all different between the two, giving it a different feel.

We then discussed the different terminologies use within typography ( can be found in the Glossary). Within the book, typography plays a very important part, not just for the reader but for the publisher too. Typography can reduce or increase the number of pages needed and the cost of printing. For the reader, if type has been arranged and made to flow, it makes for a much easier reading experience and means the reader might be more inclined  to enjoy the book and recommend to a friend — massive incentive for a publisher to get a good typesetter.

This is where copy editing and production cross. The typesetter have to correct the suggestions made by the copy-editor. It might also be where they differ in opinion. Bad copy-editors and proof marks make for an unhappy typesetter. To learn a little about copy-editing, please have a look at the copy-editing tags!

Becky talked us through the differences in quotation marks too. Many people just press the standard keys on the keyboard for both apostrophe’s and quotation marks; ‘ “. Whilst for the rest of the world this is acceptable, for a typesetter, having to use the correct marks in important. The standard marks on the key board are inch and feet marks. The true quotation marks are to be found by using either insert symbol or using these short cuts:

Apostrophe = alt + ] = ‘

     = alt + shift + ] = ’

Quotation Marks = alt + [ = “

                 = alt + shift  + [ = ”


As well as the usual fonts that every Mac and PC have, there are font websites where you can find a different font and download it to use in your text. Some are paid for, some are free and the best free font website is fontsquirrel. Here we can find new text that has been designed by people for public use.

We finished by receiving different items and trying to create our own fonts. Mine was a coat hanger — have a go!


Design and Production

IMAG0731_1_1So today we were introduced to our Design and Production lecturer, Becky Chilcott. She is a freelance book designer and her most famous work includes Jacqueline Wilson and the new Harry Potter covers. Her work is scattered throughout every genre of book and every publisher. To have her as a lecturer is a great privilege and pleasure.


Our first lecture covered the basics of design and production. No, you don’t have to be a good illustrator to be a good designer, just have imagination. Becky gave us a blurb of books, some we knew, some we didn’t and then showed us the cover and this was seeing if we thought the cover reflected the story or not. The new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory cover has caused a divide in opinion and it certainly did this in the class. Whilst discussing it, we said the cover didn’t tell you anything about the book and took away from the brilliant union of Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake.

A few other blurbs were shown as well as their covers and then we were shown what brief the designer gives to the illustrator. It has to be open enough for creative freedom but closed enough that you get what you want from the illustrator and so it ties into the book. Most illustrators and many designers don’t actually read the book before hand so the brief is really important to get the tone of the cover right.

Following this, we saw how many changes a cover goes through before the publishers all agree on one. Becky literally creates a hundred different versions of the same thing but slightly tweaked until everyone is happy.

Seeing the amount of work that goes into the design of a cover really brought home how much time goes into one book. It gave me a greater appreciation for traditionally published work. I shall be adding a glossary page to this blog for all the new words I shall be learning in this module so check it out.