View Full Version : Anyone Here Do Book Design?

Sep 12, 2007, 10:23 PM
I'm wondering if you have any tips for breaking into this field. From what I've read it isn't the easiest to get into, but it seems like it might be my cup of tea. I've been doing web & print freelance for about a year and a half and I've designed one book for a small press, but that was a lucky one-time thing and it was my first real design work so it only came out okay.

I was thinking lately that I should maybe just design some theoretical books to build a portfolio of book design work. Does that make sense or would I be wasting my time?

Any books to recommend? I've read a couple like "On Book Design" by Richard Hendel which was quite good. Is "Designing Books: Practice and Theory" any good? Others?

Fleetwood Mac
Sep 12, 2007, 11:14 PM
My only advice is to make sure you have the right dimensions from the get-go...This has cost me much money and time.

I never read up on book design, mostly I learned from trial and error. This wasn't fun. You're definitely taking the right approach by studying the field and asking questions.

Sep 14, 2007, 12:45 PM
So I take it I should just stick with what I am thinking?

Fleetwood Mac do you do freelance work or work for someone?

Fleetwood Mac
Sep 14, 2007, 06:01 PM
So I take it I should just stick with what I am thinking?

Fleetwood Mac do you do freelance work or work for someone?
Freelance. And yes, I would stick with what you're doing now. Of course, experience is the best teacher. Start off with smaller projects and move up as you feel more comfortable.

Sep 14, 2007, 06:31 PM
Book design is a tough one...
My best advice is to talk to a book printer and get their horror stories about bad book design.

Give big margins for your inside pages and work out what will be chopped for a perfect bound book (only 3 sides are trimmed).
Get the spine width right, print the book out of the same paper that it's going to be printed on and measure that to get a better idea of what the spine width will be.

When I'm doing a book I charge $4.00 NZD per page for the formatting of their supplied files (then charge per hour for any alterations) and about 2 hours for the design of the cover, if I'm inserting images I charge $5.00 per photo.

Sep 14, 2007, 11:25 PM
Thanks for the info you two. I'm starting to develop my own aesthetic just by reading and observing design, I guess now it is a matter of learning to execute that aesthetic and letting it evolve.

I appreciate the input.