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Categories: Book printing >> Support Center
Design Brief Introductions to Book Printing
Origin:Image Printing  Data: 4/7/2011  Keywords: Book Printing China, Design Brief

The point at which a designer is first involved with a new book printing job varies. It may occur before or after the author has completed the manuscript, the designer receiving either an edited or unedited copy. By then the books overall parameters (for example format, extent, illustrations, binding, and paper) have been planned. In some firms editors personally brief designers while in others design meetings are organized, attended by the production team and sometimes the sales staff.

The outcome may be a production specification, a budget, and the schedule. It is vital for the designer to be given a clear brief by the editor at the outset. A designer may be able to suggest alternative ideas to save money or to improve sales potential. Assuming the book is not part of affixed format series or that a pre-existing design cannot be adapted to suit it, the designers opening tasks are to prepare the type specification and page layout which are supplementary to the books overall production specification. The type specification sets out how the main text elements should be typeset in respect of typefaces, sizes, and line lengths, and of the positioning and spacing of the elements. The elements include body text, headings, displayed quotations, tables, captions for illustrations, running heads at the top of the page, and page numbers.

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Book design is the art of incorporating the content, style, format, design, and sequence of the various components of a book into a coherent whole. In the words of Jan Tschichold, book design "though largely forgotten today, methods and rules upon which it is impossible to improve have been developed over centuries. To produce perfect books these rules have to be brought back to life and applied." Richard Hendel describes book design as "an arcane subject" and refers to the need for a context to understand what that means.

Front matter generally only appears in the first volume in a series, although some elements may appear in each volume. The following table will help distinguish between some of the different types of front matter.

Name Voice Purpose



This is a list of chapter headings, and nested subheadings, together with their respective page numbers. This includes all front-matter items listed below together with chapters in the body matter and back matter. The number of levels of subheadings shown should be limited so as to keep the contents list short, ideally one page or possibly a double-page spread.


Some real person other than the author of the book

Often, a foreword will tell of some interaction between the writer of the foreword and the story or the writer of the story. A foreword to later editions of a work often explains in what respects that edition differs from previous ones.


The author

A preface generally covers the story of how the book came into being, or how the idea for the book was developed; this is often followed by thanks and acknowledgments to people who were helpful to the author during the time of writing.


The author

Often part of the Preface, rather than a separate section in its own right, it acknowledges those who contributed to the creation of the book.


The author

A beginning section which states the purpose and goals of the following writing.


The author

A dedication page is a page in a book that precedes the text, in which the author names the person or people for whom he/she has written the book.


The narrator (or a character in the book)

A prologue is an opening to a story that establishes the setting and gives background details, often some earlier story that ties into the main one, and other miscellaneous information.

The structure of a work is often described hierarchically.

  • A volume is a set of leaves that are bound together. Thus each work is either a volume, or is divided into volumes.
  • A single volume may embody either a part of a book or the whole of a book; in some works, parts include multiple books, and in some others books include multiple parts.
  • A chapter or section may be contained within a part and/or a book; when both chapters and sections are used in the same work, the sections are more often contained within chapters than the reverse.

The back matter normally consists of one or more of the following components.

  • An epilogue is a piece of writing at the end of a work of literature or drama, usually used to bring closure to the work.
  • An extro or outro is the conclusion to a piece of work and is considered the opposite of the intro. These terms are more commonly used in music.
  • An afterword is frequently a piece of writing describing a time well after the time frame of the main story.
  • A conclusion.
  • A postscript.
  • An appendix or addendum is a supplemental addition to a given main work. It may correct errors, explain inconsistencies or otherwise detail or update the information found in the main work.
  • The glossary consists of a set of definitions of words of importance to the work. They are normally alphabetized. The entries may consist of places and characters, which is common for longer works of fiction.
  • The bibliography cites others used in the body. Most common in non-fiction books or research papers.
  • An index is used to find terms used in the text. Most common in non-fiction books.
  • The colophon is a brief description usually located at the end of a book, describing production notes relevant to the edition and may include a printer's mark or logotype.

Book design is the art of incorporating the content, style, format, design, and sequence of the various components of a book into a coherent whole. Book design though largely forgotten today, methods and rules upon which it is impossible to improve have been developed over centuries. To produce perfect books these rules have to be brought back to life and applied. 

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