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Category: Cover and internal design

How to get the most out of commissioned images

Rosamund Saunders is a lifelong book designer. London-based, she began her publishing career with HarperCollins and moved on to work freelance, specialising in illustrated non-fiction books. She has designed food, crafts and lifestyle books for the co-editions market and art-directed photography for cookery, health and fitness titles. Find out more at https://rosamundsaunders.co.uk.

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the colour of a book

Judging a book by its colour: How colour psychology can help you build a successful brand

Karen Haller has over 20 years of experience studying and working with colour. Karen is regularly asked to comment on colour stories in local and national magazines, newspapers, radio and TV. She is a contributing author of the leading industry book Colour Design: Theories and Applications on Colour in Interiors. She is currently writing her first book. 

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Production Assistant

Junior Designer [JOB POSTING]

Quintet Publishing, part of The Quarto Group, is looking for a Junior Designer to join our busy team based in Brighton. The Quarto Group is the world’s leading independent publisher of illustrated books; our mission is to educate, entertain and enrich the lives of readers. Quintet creates non-fiction books across subject areas ranging from creative technology and activity, to travel and design. Our titles maintain the highest editorial, design and production standards, and we work with co-edition publishing partners worldwide. We are looking to appoint a creative and proactive Junior Designer as part of our in-house team. The ideal candidate will be enthusiastic about illustrated publishing and possess excellent InDesign skills. Bursting with ideas, you’ll be keen to make your mark on our successful and diverse list. Assisting the Art Director with the creation of 50 live books and 80 new presentations annually, a key part of the role is liaising with freelancers and working closely with the editorial team. This varied role could see you creating PDFs for a sales presentation in the morning, conceptualising a cover design by lunchtime and preparing print-ready files in the afternoon. Requirements: • Good organisation and time-management skills • Strong interest in illustrated non-fiction publishing • Meticulous attention to detail • Excellent knowledge of InDesign, Acrobat and Photoshop is essential, Illustrator would be a benefit • Creative and keen to learn To apply for this position please send your CV and cover letter to: james.evans@quarto.com (Deadline for applications: Friday 2nd February 2018) The successful candidate must possess the right to work in the UK. Quarto Publishing plc. is committed to a policy of equal opportunity and treatment, ensuring an inclusive and diverse environment.

6 tips for better book design

I’m a book designer. When I introduce myself as such people often ask if I’m an illustrator. Some book designers are skilled illustrators, but, the focus in my work tends to be more concerned with type and layout.

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Judge a book by its cover … and its typesetting

Of course the cover is important – you don’t need me to tell you that, but I think the internal pages of a book are just as important. In this blog I’m going to advise about the internal design of books. There are plenty of designers, far better than me, who can advise on good cover design.

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How to find your design voice (and keep it)

There are many sources offering practical advice to graphic designers but there is more to good design than knowledge and technical skills. Masterful grid and finest type hierarchy can’t bring a book to life on their own. So where does that element of “magic” in design come from? Here are some my observations that I have made when designing, reading, collecting and making books.

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A guide on book title punctuation

For the trained eyes, there is nothing more annoying than looking at a book which is just one letter away from perfect. It is possible that you have made a capital mistake when not checking the rules of capitalization before publishing. It can be a tricky business, but nothing you cannot master by following a set of simple rules. In this article, we are writing about right capitalization and punctuation of titles (of your own books) on the cover and on the title page, with special regard to consistency.

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A whiter shade of paper

How do you print white? In some complex cases a white ink is used on top of a foil or acetate but on the vast majority of our print jobs to get white you simply don’t print any ink.

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The importance of covers in commercial fiction

Phoebe Morgan is an editor at HarperCollins specialising in commercial crime, thrillers and women’s fiction. She is also an author and her first book, The Doll House, will publish from HQ this September.

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‘If you can’t make it big, make it red’: Book design branding basics

With all romantic flare attached to writing, from the marketing department’s point of view a book is a product that should recoup the publisher’s investment. Where there’s a product, there’s a package. Where there’s a package, there is, naturally, branding.

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Tips & Tricks: Improving legibility of text on images

One of the fundamental things you can do either as a designer, or someone creating your own materials, is to understand how to get the best out of combining texts and images. When you overlay text onto a photo different areas of light and dark can reduce legibility. So we asked Amy, one of our Design Managers, to share her top 5 tips for improving legibility of text on images.

1) Position the text in an empty or less busy part of the photo (known as copy space)

2) Think about changing the text colour to make it more visible (known as reverse-out, white-out, knock-out)

3) Use a drop shadow

4) Apply an area of blur

5) Apply a ’scrim’

Scrims are lightweight, semi-opaque layers, used to protect overlaid text. The term ‘scrim’ was used in Google’s recent materials design environment. It’s derived from the textile and theatre industries, where a scrim is a translucent fabric used in stage lighting. Scrims are particularly common in the digital environment, where space for photos and text can be at a premium (such as on hand held devices), and where content needs to be delivered in the blink of an eye.This post was originally published on the emc design blog.

Book design for self-publishing authors

What is book design like when you choose to self-publish your work? Mathias Lord of Hewer Text fills us in. Book design is something readers appreciate but usually don’t notice. However, if you are a self-publisher, it is crucial to know about book design. What is it, and what are the main differences between book design in traditional publishing and self-publishing?

What is book design?

Today the term usually refers to both cover design and typesetting. In short, the former consists of everything on the outside of the book; the latter everything between the covers. Seen from a marketing perspective, cover design is supposed to grab your attention, whilst typesetting is meant to be invisible, insofar as it allows the text to communicate clearly and without interruption. Cover design involves creating the picture or illustration, the word art (title, author name etc), and placing various other information (like quotes and blurbs). It’s the initial pitch that makes the casual browser open or buy a book. Typesetting is less artistic but more complex. It deals with everything from the broader layout and presentation to specifics such as fonts and line spacing. This is all about making the text flow, look professional and comply with industry standards. There are many formatting rules and details in publishing, and self-publishers will benefit from understanding them. Readers and writers often think they can do typesetting themselves, but it is a bit like saying that because you’ve ordered the same drink hundreds of times, you can recreate it yourself. (If you do, it may not taste very good!).

Traditional VS Self-Publishing

1) Control

So how do these processes differ in self-publishing? In essence, the author has more control. The execution is similar, the quality exactly the same, but it’s the author who calls the shots. It usually happens like this: The designer and typesetter are given a brief by the author, either specifying what they desire or simply throwing a few ideas and images at them (like which books they like and want theirs to emulate). Once they have a draft, the author receives this and gives feedback. The number of editing sessions varies, depending on how specific the author has been, and how much they are willing to spend on the services.

2) Time

Self-publishing is fast. You can have a draft illustration within weeks, and the feedback and edits can be completed quickly and directly. Why is it so fast? Think of it like this: when a traditional publisher commissions a designer or typesetter, the drafts have to be run by several departments, who all have multiple book projects to juggle, and differing opinions about how the book should look. This interdepartmental coordination is time-consuming and often side-steps the author. In self-publishing, however, the author is the boss and the customer.

3) Challenges

“With great power comes great responsibility” Although this control is mostly positive, it does come with challenges. The author cannot just sit back and enjoy the ride. They need to stay focused. Neither should they try to dictate every minuscule aspect of the book. This will delay the entire project and does not usually result in a better product. Because there is so much to coordinate and finish before the book is published, it is wise to make a time schedule and stick to it. Limiting the amount of feedback and editing sessions with the designers will save authors a lot of time and money without reducing the quality of the end product. Ask yourself: is this important? Can it wait and be delivered with other feedback? Bottom line? Don’t try to bite over too much. As a self-publishing author, you have control but also responsibility. Writers should go into the self-publishing process with a plan but also an open mind. Designers and typesetters are patient, helpful and professional but work much better with an organised author. Mathias is the self-publishing director at Hewer Text (HT-Publishing). He is in charge of coordinating self-publishing projects and consulting with authors. Follow him at @hewertext or contact him at mathias@hewertext.com.  
Photoshop at work

Tips for using Photoshop at work: Beate Allerton interview

Ahead of the upcoming training course Photoshop for publishers, BookMachine are running a series of interviews with industry professionals to understand how they use the tool at work. This interview by Katie Dodson is with Beate Allerton, who runs a writing and creative business in Aberdeenshire.

1) How frequently do you use Photoshop and when did you start using it regularly?

I work in Photoshop on a daily basis and I love using it, because it offers so many opportunities for creative expression. I started using it in 2007, a short while after setting out as a freelance writer. I noticed that most editors preferred writers to supply their own photos with their articles. Pitching an idea with photos definitely helped getting commissions, especially as my articles featured travel, cookery and crafts. Using Photoshop helped with editing and making the image look its best.

2) What methods do you use to keep updated and improve on your skills?

I am mostly self-taught in Photoshop skills. When learning to edit photos for my articles, I initially used a book for the basics and also attended a short course in digital editing at a local college. On acquiring more knowledge, I expanded my skills into digital art and design and most of those techniques were learned through experimentation and from YouTube tutorials. Whenever I identify a learning need, I tend to go online for advice and I particularly like YouTube as it suits the way I learn; I can follow along in Photoshop and pause any time I need. I subscribe to the Photoshop channel as well as a variety of other digital photography and editing channels, and always receive alerts when a new video has been posted. I also follow various threads and pages on Twitter and Facebook.

3) Would you mind sharing a top trick with us?

You can make the subject of your photos stand out more, and therefore the photo more effective, by adding a touch of a background blur in Photoshop with the Gaussian blur filter. Usually this is done ‘in camera’ but not every photo turns out perfect, especially when dealing with food or travel photos. This is more advice than a trick – always use the soft-proofing facility when submitting photos to magazines. When I started out I was horrified that my beautifully vibrant pictures turned out not so vibrant in print. At the time, I didn’t know about CMYK and other printer and paper settings. Although the original image on the monitor will never match the final print 100%, soft-proofing allows you to get the colours as close to the final output as possible. Also, make sure your photos are set to a resolution of 300dpi when submitting to magazines.

4) Could you please share a couple of links to your work?

My art/design/photography website is www.beateallerton.com My writing/photography website is www.beateallerton.co.uk Here is a direct link to one of my food portfolios for Country Kitchen

5) What advice would you give to anyone wanting to improve how they use Photoshop?

Identify what you need to know, find out where you can learn what you need to know and then practice as much as you can; I have found that the best way is learning by doing and experimenting.

6) What do you use Photoshop for mainly?

Photo editing work, web design, digital art and surface design work. If you too would like to improve on how you use In Design/Photoshop at work, you can register on these courses by following the links below: InDesign: http://bit.ly/2lD5yTw Photoshop: http://bit.ly/2m4P8Ey

Tips for using InDesign and Photoshop at work: Adam Brightman interview

Ahead of the upcoming training courses InDesign and Photoshop for publishers, BookMachine are running a series of interviews with industry professionals to understand how they use the tools at work. The following interview by Katie Dodson is with Adam Brightman, Senior Designer at emcdesign. Since 2010, Adam has worked on some of the most complex creative projects, designing realia and infographics to help contextualise material at emcdesign.

1) How frequently do you use Photoshop/InDesign and when did you start using it regularly?

I use InDesign and Photoshop almost everyday at work. As a book designers, the two programs really complement each other. I started to use Photoshop and InDesign regularly while taking my Degree in Graphic Communication at the University of Northampton. However, it wasn’t until I started working for emc working on large, complicated documents and big courses that I truly learned the potential of what the software is capable of.

2) What methods do you use to keep updated and improve on your skills?

Design is always evolving and naturally the software is too so it’s important to keep up to date with current design trends and skills. I find Pinterest is a great resource for inspiration which often leads to learning new techniques and skills in the process. Indesignsecrets.com is a great website for keeping up to date with everything InDesign. Adobe’s new creative cloud service has also become a fantastic resource for keeping updated and learning new skills. Adobe TV has a massive library of videos tutorials and tips for all of their software. Every time a new software update arrives there’s usually a video explaining the new features to try.

3) Would you mind sharing a top trick with us?

There are so many great tricks in InDesign but one of my (often overlooked) favourites is the calculator ability. When working in complicated large documents it’s very important to make sure that you work accurately and consistently. To achieve this, we work mathematically keying in numbers for X and Y positions and also the size of objects. InDesign has a really handy feature where you can use mathematics to work out the correct size for objects. For example, if you have an object with the width of 30mm’s but it needs to be 7mm’s longer you can simply input +7mm onto the end of the 30 and InDesign will calculate the new width for you and apply. It’s a very simple feature but has proven to be incredibly helpful and time saving in complicated projects where I’ve had to mathematically adjust multiple objects to fit a new grid structure. It also works when setting tab spacing too.

4) Could you please share a couple of links to your work?

Sure! You can view our full portfolio at http://emcdesign.org.uk/our-work/. I recommend taking a look at the new GCSE Food book. This was a really exciting project to work on. We had to set text and design realia around over a thousand photos and we created all of the artwork in house. Another project I really enjoyed working on was Keynote. We were commissioned to create a large series of illustrated infographics for a large ELT course. You can view some of my favourites in our portfolio.

5) What advice would you give to anyone wanting to improve how they use Photoshop/InDesign?

The best advice I can give would be to get online and start to run some tutorials. I’ve always found when it comes to design software to really improve you have to venture out and learn a lot of the extra techniques on your own. University courses simply don’t have the time to cover everything. There’s so many great resources online. The tutorials on Adobe TV would be a great place to begin.

6) What do you use Photoshop/InDesign for mainly?

InDesign is always my starting point to a print based project. I use it to build and layout all of the pages. It’s very accurate and easy to make flexible grid structures. It also has a great variety of typographic and styling options. I then use Photoshop to edit any of the photographic content on the pages. The Photoshop files are placed into the InDesign document and I jump between the two to add life to the pages in InDesign. At emc I use Photoshop for all types of editing. Sometimes it’s as simple as just brightening up a photo but then there’s things much more complex such as extending a background to fill the page and working with masks to cut out layers of elements in one photo. There’s really no end to what you can do in Photoshop. If you too would like to improve on how you use In Design/Photoshop at work, you can register on these courses by following the links below: InDesign: http://bit.ly/2lD5yTw Photoshop: http://bit.ly/2m4P8Ey  

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