Designing a Book

Children’s Book Design

This book design was a project for a typography class I took at Drake University. For the project, we were asked to design and lay out a cover and contents for a book, and conduct research into different book design techniques. I chose to work with the book Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. As I was designing, I really tried to make the book more appealing for a young 21st century audience. In most versions of this book that I’ve seen, the type is laid out very tightly and in an old-fashioned serif font, making it very difficult to read. Especially since the audience for this book is intended to be young (but not beginning) readers, I really wanted to expand the font size and spacing so it became easier to read and more appealing to a youthful audience.

what I learned

One thing that I really noticed in this project was how different things looked on paper compared to on my computer screen. Because you can zoom in and out in InDesign, it’s easy to make things appear the way you want without actually changing the size of the page itself. It was really helpful to print out multiple copies of my booklet and look at them in person to see how things were laid out—even if it was a bit of a hassle. My fonts looked too light and too large the first time I tried printing a draft of my booklet, even though I had thought they looked fine on the computer. The book cover also changed colors a bit when I printed it.

Another thing that really changed my design methods was thinking about a specific audience when designing. Rather than thinking about what I might like, I had to think about what an eight or ten year-old would like, and revolved my design style around their interests rather than my own. What would be most appealing to them? What would encourage them to keep reading? For most projects, I’m able to just do whatever I personally think is best, but in the real world, designers work for clients and have to do whatever the client likes, so this project was good practice!

Samantha Jones