Some More Thoughts on Book Layout

The next few weeks will be particularly exciting ones for The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota. We have a book release tomorrow and then another on September 1. 

But over the last week or so, I’ve been focused on a book that will come out on November 1. I’ve just started design work and layout and have had the fun of working closely with authors who have clear ideas of how they want their book to work. It was also my first opportunity to produce an archaeological catalogue, which has turned out to be a bit of a learning experience. 

As a result, the basic page design went through a few iterations that I thought that I’d share.

The initial page design was set in 11 point Miller Text which the authors felt was just a bit too big. The also felt like the catalogue organization was not hierarchical enough and that the indent after the various subheadings made the text too narrow.

Test Template Chapter 3 2Conc pdf  page 6 of 37 2020 08 17 07 27 33

Test Template Chapter 3 2Conc pdf  page 8 of 37 2020 08 17 07 28 03

I didn’t disagree with this and thought maybe that they’d prefer a text set in Chaparral rather than the more open Miller Text.

Test Template Chapter 3 2Chap pdf  page 6 of 26 2020 08 17 07 30 56

Test Template Chapter 3 2Chap pdf  page 8 of 26 2020 08 17 07 31 16

I really like Chaparral and thought that it gave the text block a bit more of a buttoned down and traditional feeling. Alas, my authors did not feel the same way and still felt that the catalogue lacked a bit of visual ordering.

I went back to Miller but dropped the size to 10 point and carried the style of headings from the rest of the text into the catalogue to create more clear divisions between the various parts of the catalogue entries. I also made the line spacing a bit denser to make the text feel a bit more serious.

Test Template Chapter 3 2 10Miller pdf  page 6 of 10 2020 08 17 07 35 07

Test Template Chapter 3 2 10Miller pdf  page 8 of 10 2020 08 17 07 35 27

I also added one of the 3D models to the catalogue so it would be a bit more clear how this would look. I also made the hyperlinks a dark, royal blue largely because I hate the “hyperlink blue.” It makes them a bit less obvious in the book, but to my mind, that’s fine. They’re visible if you’re looking for them and not obtrusive if you’re not.

Most of the hyperlinks will be joined by an endnote that will include permanent urls for each link in the text.

While I’m up to my eyeballs in design and layout, my cover designer, Dan Coslett (get his new book!) has prepared an almost final draft of the cover which I’ll share here.

VVP cover final

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