Numbers are SO important in book design. Units of measurement differ around the world as the standard for various countries can be very different indeed.

The US is well-known to use imperial measurements – inches, feet, and yards and so on. Whereas in Britain, Europe, Australia and here in New Zealand, we use the metric system – millimetres, centimetres, and metres.

FYI, an inch equals approximately 2.5 centimetres or roughly 25 millimetres.

The software that a book designer uses gives the option to easily switch between all the different units. They can even choose to measure in picas or pixels if they choose!

​My word of advice when working with a designer in another country that uses different units of measurement to your own is this…

Be VERY clear when sending your brief (or initial specifications) for your book to that designer. Plainly state what units of measurement you will be using. And then ONLY refer to those units of measurement throughout the entire job. Switching back and forth as you go is a recipe for disaster.

You will save yourself heartache, hassle, and hard cash if you set up some defined rules that you communicate to your book designer at the beginning of your book project. Such as what units of measurement to use.

Quite often, the choice of measurement system comes down to what is easiest for your book printing firm to understand.

If you’re using a US-based print shop, they may prefer imperial measurements. 

Smaller print shops tend to like the measurement system of their particular country. Bigger printers will be fine either way as international clients are the norm for them.

Make a call, be clear, and stick to your decision – you’ll be a lot happier with the end result if you do!

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