Book typesetting and layout tips are usually about the small stuff—fixing awkward hyphenation, using special characters for symbols, and so on—but most of the questions we get are about the BIG issues. How can I balance the number of text lines on facing pages? What if the last page of my chapter only has two lines? If my chapter has to end on a right-hand page, can I leave it blank? These issues arise all the time during book typesetting. We’ll explain the best ways to resolve them. [Read more…]
Get started with Part I of Book Design Made Simple, where you’ll learn how to lease and install Adobe InDesign, create a document, and import your manuscript from Word. Download Part I for free by subscribing to our blog—simply use the form below.
Excerpts from Book Design Made Simple
- Running heads — what to include in your novel or nonfiction book
- Typeface vs font: what’s the difference?
- Hyphenation and justification settings: make your text look fabulous
- Baseline grid: aligns the text on all pages throughout your book
- Unequal column widths: how to set up a page layout with unequal column widths
Below are all the blog posts in the Typesetting tag, starting with the most recent post.
Want to design a workbook? Who uses those any more?
Lots of folks, actually. Even though there are apps for practically everything these days, children still enjoy workbooks for mazes or drawing or learning practically anything. Adults can use them for recording their latest bird find or geocaching location, or for word or number puzzles, for instance. A coloring book can be considered a workbook, too.
We’ll help you design a workbook that will work well for your audience.
Combining serif and sans serif fonts successfully can be a challenge, but it’s much easier once you know a few simple rules. It’s worth learning, as combining two fonts can really make your book design look professional. So don’t be daunted by the thousands of fonts available! The font-combining basics explained here will help to get you going quickly and easily. [Read more…]
Why, you might ask, is the coauthor of a book about InDesign reviewing a direct competitor, Affinity Publisher?
Because it’s new and I wanted to check it out.
And because it’s so much more affordable than Adobe’s Creative Cloud: $600 a year for the Adobe suite vs. a one-time total of $150 for the full line of Serif’s products: Publisher, Photo, and Designer (all at half price until May 20). We both bought the Affinity software for desktop, and I must say that for the most part, we love it.
The Affinity Publisher app is for desktop use on PCs and Macs. Photo and Designer can also now be used on iPads, so check back on Publisher to see when the iPad version becomes available.
Children’s picture books are fun to design! They’re colorful, full of images, and everything is packed into a small number of words and pages.
To design a children’s picture book, you’ll need to consider lots of factors: book size, page count, quality of images, flow of text, color, and more. Let’s take a look at those factors. [Read more…]
You can save a lot of time using InDesign keyboard shortcuts. Many users find that they work faster on their keyboard than with their mouse or trackpad. Does that sound like you? Read on to learn how to use this very handy function for applying styles in InDesign. [Read more…]
If you’re importing a Word index into InDesign, chances are good that the index will import just fine. But what if you get the dreaded “index entries contain invalid characters” error? This happened to one of our readers recently. It’s a tricky issue to resolve since InDesign doesn’t specify which characters are invalid. With a Word index containing hundreds (or thousands!) of entries, how can you find the specific characters causing the issue? [Read more…]
What the heck is a text variable, anyway? It’s copy that you can add anywhere in your document—but it varies depending on the context. For instance, you could set up your document to automatically insert the current date in a header. Or if you need to send readers to the last page, a text variable will automatically update the page number reference if you add or delete pages later.
Now think how useful text variables could be as navigational tools (i.e., running heads) in a nonfiction book. They can make the current chapter number and chapter title appear—presto!—on verso pages and the most recent internal heading appear on recto pages. And that’s exactly what I’m going to demonstrate in this article. Adobe’s official user guide instructions on the topic of text variables are a bit sketchy, so I’ve developed a detailed lesson for you. [Read more…]
Some InDesign functions have names that you would never be able to guess, and that makes them really tough to discover and learn. One of these is Optical Margin Alignment (I’m calling it OMA), which is InDesign’s formal name for hanging punctuation. I used to see this effect in other people’s work and then try to imitate it, but I couldn’t because I had no idea what it was called. So this article explains what it is and how to do it. [Read more…]
Ask any book designer about their collection of reference books and you’ll get a long list of the usual suspects: books about design, typography, layout, and grids; dictionaries and style guides; software manuals; and lots of books and magazines kept for inspiration. But which books are indispensable to a book designer?