Textbooks

Design:

When perusing the shelves of a bookstore, a reader becomes entranced by the variety of colors and graphics. With so many choices and so little cash, a reader must make a tough decision. It's the job of the design department to create covers and spines that grab the reader's attention but also have a functional purpose.

Like editorial, the design department has specific guidelines for preparing artwork for a book, which authors can find in the Art Submission Guidelines handout on the Web site. The guidelines suggest that authors label a black-and-white image as "Fig" and a colored image as "Plate." The guidelines also detail how to scan line art and photographs and what size and resolution photographs should be saved at. All of this information is important for authors to know before handing in their final artwork to the designers because, as the handout reads, "what looks good on the screen or from a desktop printer does not necessarily print well in a book."

The author is not done just yet. Any time an author wishes to use an image or graphic from another source, the author must first contact the rights holders and request permission. A sample permission letter is available on Page 14 of the guidelines.

Once the author has formatted his art correctly and gained permission to use the graphics, it's time for the department to pick out the "callouts" in the main text and put the graphics in their place.

In the mind of the designer, there are essentially two aspects to a book: the interior and the exterior. The exterior (the front and back covers and the spine) is like designing a poster. The interior of the book requires a more refined look at typography, line form and readability. Designers at the press mostly use Adobe InDesign to lay out the interior and exterior parts of the book. They sometimes use Photoshop for minor special effects.

Designers must also think about the differences between designing for a trade book and designing for an academic title. Trade books often have more inks--usually three to four colors on the jacket--and a "splashier" style. Academic monographs often have only two colors. They are typically more expensive than trade books and end up on library shelves, where the attractiveness is not as important.

Half the time, the authors will suggest a photograph for the cover, but it is ultimately up to the designer what graphic is finally used.