Why Use a Graphic Designer for Your Book?

In this special guest blog post, Rosanne Schloss, owner of Pro Production Graphic Services, discusses the importance of working with a professional book designer.

You’ve written a book, a newsletter, a company brochure, or a magazine article. You know what your message is, and you have the information to back it up. You believe that your work will be well received by its intended audience. You’re all set, right? Not yet.

To attract your readers, your ideas must be presented in an inviting and confident format. The visual image of your message will reach your audience before they read the first word. The overall appearance of your work can be as important as the content.

In addition to looking attractive and finished and making the reader confident in what he is reading, the layout of the design can lead the reader to certain areas and involve the reader in the message. After your masterpiece is written, the graphic designer begins her job!

What Does the Graphic Designer Do?

The designer must first form an overall concept of the project, which involves determining many aspects. Is it fiction or nonfiction? Who is the audience—infants to whom parents will read, children, adolescents, teenagers, adults, older adults? What is the theme? Science fiction, modern fiction, or nonfiction? Medical or technical?

Consider the Harry Potter series. The front cover art, colors, and type font style tell the viewer what to expect. The book size was designed to appeal to both young readers and adults. The chapter illustrations and type font convey the “magical” feeling. The entire book concept carries a belief in the project and a feeling of “completeness,” showing that the designer was immersed in the story.

Consider a scientific study on a new pharmaceutical. This presentation should also convey confidence but the format and style should instill confidence. The product should look traditional and like others in the field. This is not the time for magical or ethereal design.

And consider a textbook for medical assistants. Many different color and design elements must be used to show consistency among concepts and to keep the reader’s attention.

How Does the Designer Transform Your Ideas into the Finished Product?

It’s a creative process that involves concrete steps.

  1. After the overall project is discussed including a review of the subject matter and the proposed physical characteristics of your book or cover, a design brief is created.
  2. During concept development and design research, a focus and graphic elements are honed.
  3. A rough layout is created for the client.
  4. After the rough layout has been evaluated, a comprehensive layout is developed. This has incorporated the final design elements.
  5. A final proof is prepared incorporating any revisions or corrections.
  6. The project is prepared for printing and electronic file submission to check that all images and fonts are present.
  7. A prepress copy is obtained from the printer to ensure the project was completed to specifications.

Who Else Is Involved with the Project?

In addition to the author or group of authors, the designer works with editors, copyeditors, proofreaders, printers, illustrators, and publishers. They handle the workflow so that deadlines are met. Your designer does this so you don’t have to worry about them. The designer is a valued member of the team who works to ensure there are no flaws in your final concept.

Why Use a Graphic Designer for Your Book?

In 2013, 304,912 books were published in the United States. An eye-catching, well-crafted, well-designed book cover increases the value of a book to readers and booksellers. And the interior of the book carries the cover theme through to the end. A professional designer’s expertise can mean the difference between selling lots of books and not selling very many.

A professional designer will ensure you’re completely happy with your book before it goes to press because your book matters to him or her.

As Chip Kidd (Designing Books Is No Laughing Matter. OK, It Is) said, “My job was to ask this question: ‘What do the stories look like?’ The stories can be anything . . . but they all have one thing in common: They all need to look like something. They all need a face. Why? To give you a first impression of what you are about to get into.”

To learn more about professional book design, contact Rosanne Schloss.