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.
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.
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.
Have you heard about the next BookMachine/Unite event in London?
In August 2016 BookMachine invited a group of publishing-savvy professionals to join its editorial board. This, in short, means that it’s not just the 3 of us (Sam, Laura, Norah) who are thinking about how to publish the best ideas insights about the industry on the site – there is now a group of experienced insiders working on this.
Learning how to use your Adobe software quickly and cleverly is something that I include in my training sessions for publishing people at any level of experience. A good understanding of the principles and capabilities of your Adobe apps is an important first step but even as I introduce them to beginners I always include my ways to use them in the most effective and efficient ways.
Doing things well AND as quickly as possible has always been my aim. This way you can get more done (if freelancing) or you can leave work on time every time (if working in-house). For more seasoned users, short refresher training courses can really help fill in gaps, introduce new or better ways of achieving something and break bad habits.
For serious Adobe users your default resting position should be sitting comfortably (headphones optional), mouse or Wacom pen in one hand and other hand resting on the keyboard with your thumb on the command key.
Ahead of my upcoming BookMachine training days, which start next week with Photoshop on May the 4th (be with you) and continue with InDesign on May 11th, I’m sharing here some of my favourite pro keyboard shortcuts for speeding up your use of these industry standard apps for publishing:
Tapping a single key switches your current tool. ‘VAT’ is an easy way to remember the most commonly used ones of (V) Selection or Move tool, (A) Direct Selection Tool and (T) Type tool. Learn the ones that you use the most and never again lose your place by moving your mouse to select a tool again. If you don’t know what quick key to press just hover over a tool to see the shortcut for next time. When there is more than one tool sharing the quick key, add shift to cycle through tools.
Most people will know Command A selects everything available but sometimes it can be just as important to NOT have anything selected.Dropping the current selection without having to move the mouse or zoom out to click off something can speed you and really helps when using the Direct Selection tool.
Use this tip with the previous tip when in text frames too.
When creating something new on the page or canvas just add the spacebar to move the thing that you are creating. This makes it much easier to position your new InDesign object or Photoshop selection. Even reposition anchor points as you draw with the pen tool.
When not creating an object the space bar will switch to a temporary hand tool to drag your position around the page or canvas. Add the option key if inside a text frame in InDesign.
Quickly move to any page in your InDesign document just by typing its page number and hitting return. If working on a section add a plus at the start to mean the ‘absolute page number’, e.g. +1 means the first page in any document. When you arrive at your page why not follow up with a quick Command Alt Zero to fit the spread to the screen.
Tap a number to alter the level of opacity of painting tools in Photoshop in increments of 10%. So a 3 gives you 30% opacity (or in other words 70% transparency).
When on a tool that does not use transparency (so tap V to switch to the move tool) and then you effect the opacity of the current layer.
Tapping two numbers in quick succession give you numbers at 1% increments. Tap a zero to get back to full 100% opacity.
Option clicking gives us more options all around Adobe programs, but it can be particularly useful in the Layers panel. Option click the eye icon and isolate your layer by temporarily switching off and on the visibility of all other layers. Similarly option click the lock icon to temporarily lock and unlock every other layer.
Option click the layer name in InDesign to select everything on that layer. Option click a Photoshop layer mask to see the mask.
Apply any character, paragraph or object style to selected objects or quickly access tucked away commands or scripts just by typing the first few characters of their name. Your last entry is remembered making it even quicker to apply the same style to lots of objects that can’t easily be selected together, perhaps on different spreads.
Click on the layer thumbnail in the Layers panel to load it’s transparency as a selection. Very useful to quickly reselect complex selections or to load live text as a selection.
Depending on what you have selected you get the most useful options presented in one dynamic ‘context sensitive’ menu. Ctrl click a graphic frame in InDesign to transform it, reveal the link in Finder, or open for editing. Ctrl click on the canvas in Photoshop to quickly select from a list of layer that has artwork in the area you clicked.
Similar to tapping letters to swap tools, just tapping X will swap background and foreground colours in Photoshop. Tap a D to set your foreground colour to black and background colour to white and then X allows you quick access to when making masks in Photoshop.
X in InDesign will switch between activating the fill or stroke and add the Shift key to switch those colours for selected objects.
But don’t stop there. If you find some shortcuts you don’t like or that are missing then make your own set using Edit menu > Keyboard shortcuts.
In my upcoming courses I’ll be covering lots of pro tips and tricks used by book publishers to work faster and smarter in Photoshop and InDesign but no doubt I’ll be throwing in these and lots more shortcuts too along the way.
Check out the course content here and, if you can make it, do come along to see my worn out command key and learn how to use InDesign and Photoshop in the best way.
Ken Jones is a publishing software expert with over ten years experience as Technical Production Manager, software trainer and developer Penguin Group UK. Now specialising in writing workflow applications and offering training and consultancy for publishers on print and digital workflows.
Ken’s company ‘Circular Software’ provides software tools and services for a range of illustrated book publishing customers including Hachette, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, Thames & Hudson and Nosy Crow.You can contact Ken via twitter @circularken or through the website http://www.circularsoftware.com
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 Subha Chelvam- Lewis, Freelance Designer & Consultant, working from her newly Hygge-ed front room in leafy Banstead.
I started using InDesign when I did my Bachelors in Journalism for magazine layouts. It has come in handy ever since. I’ve used it as part of my Masters in Publishing at City University, for publicity internships, personal creative projects, and every day at my last full-time job as a Graphic Designer at a news agency. Today, I prefer to use it hand-in-hand with Photoshop and Illustrator too. It’s a great platform to work on for those of us that started off making lemonade with of Microsoft Publisher (throwback!).
Platforms like Lynda.com and Terry White tutorials are great. But I also find myself looking at design products differently now. I will look at a page layout or a book cover with a different eye and determine how it was juxtaposed and what I might do better. To me, it’s not all about using skill, but also refining taste
If you’re starting out, reverse colouring is an easy way to create something eye-catching. Our minds are used to black text on white backgrounds, so using lighter text over coloured backgrounds is a quick way to challenge the eye and amp up the design that little bit. Playing with text size and using dynamic text as shapes to fill a space is also a great way to show a flair for design.
There is an endless plethora of my work on my website here:
Most of my design knowledge is self-taught. And mostly through practice and trial and error. Knowledge of the softwares is great, but if you focus your energy on experimenting with text, shapes and colours on one platform like InDesign, you can still get creatively-skilled results. It’s all about experimenting; and pushing what you can do with limited resources (think back to those Microsoft Publisher days!).
I prefer to use InDesign when possible now. I usually use Photoshop to create the backgrounds or illustrative elements of a project and InDesign to puzzle all the elements together. Illustrator is another tool that is great for vectors and infographics. My projects can be anything from book covers to online marketing banners, Instagram posts, infographics, posters, programs, editorial layouts, GIFs. You can even edit video with Photoshop now. I don’t think I’d go back to those MS Publisher days even if I could!
If you too would like to improve on how you use InDesign/Photoshop at work, you can register on these courses by following the links below:
The age of handwriting your ebook and typing it up later is long gone. While I am a lover of beautiful stationery, an ebook writing software can be much more useful.
Most people involved in writing or publishing are aware of the phrase “white space” and realise that the visual impact of a text, whether on page or screen, can have a huge effect on how the reader perceives the content. The problem is that “white space” isn’t a particularly simple concept and a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.
Sometimes the print production software we use doesn’t make it easy. Take ‘overprinting’ for example. Understanding overprinting can be vital for some print runs to go as planned but it is often a mystery to designers and some production staff too.
Quarto Publishing are looking for an enthusiastic Production person looking to take the next step in their career to join their busy Adult books team based in their Islington office. This Production Controller role is currently a fixed term contract for 9 months, working on a wide range of 4-colour non-fiction titles.
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.
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.
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 Annette Peppis, virtual team leader at Annette Peppis & Associates. Annette’s work was recently commended in the ‘Best Website’ category at the Richmond Business Awards.
I use InDesign every day (and Photoshop/Illustrator occasionally). I switched over from using Quark XPress in 2004; I was freelancing pretty much full-time at BBC Books, and attended an in-house course on transitioning from Quark to InDesign. Almost immediately, I was hooked.
I am a Creative Cloud user, so have access to the latest updates. However, I only update occasionally as the latest versions often have bugs when they are first launched. I improve my skills by googling things that I don’t know how to do and then follow with tutorials. Adobe have quite a good Help section, but I often prefer to follow tutorials on YouTube.
Always use style sheets. You will save yourself time, save your clients money, and make it easier for others to follow your styling. InDesign provides Paragraph style sheets (for overall formatting of typography), Character style sheets (to apply to individual characters or groups of words) and Object style sheets (so you can set the style of boxes, for example). If a global style change needs to be made, altering the style sheet will alter every instance within your document.
You can see a selection of my design work in my Bookmachine portfolio:
or more examples of my work on my website’s publishing portfolio pages
If you are a beginner, go on a course. It really pays off in the long run. If you are a fairly accomplished user, lynda.com has some good tutorials or you could google problems as you encounter them and follow online tutorials.
Just about everything! In the past two months, I have used it for website banners and sliders, book covers and text pages, brochures, exhibition banners, packaging and logo design (though I switch to Illustrator to refine and finalise logos).
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: