There are some harsh rumours swirling out there in the big wide world about books and good book design… Let’s shine the clear light of truth on a few of them.
1. Print books are yesterday’s news – just like printed newspapers!
It’s true that the digital revolution of eBooks and the internet has made it easier than ever to access books in a soft-copy electronic format, rather than a hard-copy printed book. However, a gorgeous, truly glorious printed book will never be fully superseded by text on a screen. The sheen of the ink, the subtle glow of a stunning satin paper stock, the sound of the pages as you turn them one by one… And how do you replace the unadulterated sensual joy of opening a new book, burying your face in the pages, and inhaling deep? The new book smell is irreplaceable!
2. It’s all done on the computer these days. Good book design is EASY!
Unlike days gone by, when books were typeset with a proprietary machine (try Googling the Linotype… it’ll blow your mind!) or even further back, handset with metal or wooden type, books are pretty much designed and laid out on computers today. Excluding artisan presses, of course! BUT… just because book designers use a computer, this does not mean that skill and experience are not required. Quite the opposite, in fact. It’s not like we press the button marked “Book” on our keyboard and everything jumps into place. A quality book design is a major and highly skilled job that takes real-world experience and true dedication. And sheer stamina! If you don’t ADORE the art and craft of book design, you will find it difficult to complete a book design yourself.
3. Book designers are stuffy bookworms, dinosaurs from the past!
The world of book design, like just about every other craft out there, needs to move forward to thrive, not just survive. And that is exactly what is happening now! If you take a look at some of the book designs currently being produced, there are more traditional styles, for sure. But there are also contemporary, cutting edge, HOT book layouts coming from designers, both young and mature. We’re not stuck in times gone by even if our work has a huge history and legacy from the past. Good book design is a part of our present and our future!
4. I can do it myself, I have a computer!
You are certainly free to do your book design yourself. Maybe your budget doesn’t allow for a professional designer, or perhaps you are intrigued by the challenge of creating a book layout. HOWEVER… pitfalls lie ahead if you do so. The technicalities of the printing process require a skilled and experienced hand. Otherwise, mistakes can be very costly and will make your printing firm frustrated and angry. A job going belly-up on a digital or offset press due to layout errors can be a big deal! If you want to have sole design input, then absolutely, go for it – this book is YOUR baby. But, at the very least, consider hiring a designer to do the layout or “putting-together” of your book.
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