Typesetting

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.

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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.

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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.