Book Layouts


I love a good book layout. I loathe a bad one.

If the book’s layout or typeface or something makes you notice it & think, “What were they thinking?”, it’s not a good design choice. Example- blocky bold white text in a black bar.  Kinda looks like you stuck a label on the page. Using either Papyrus or Comic Sans. Ever.Another example- 14pt type for the text block. Our eyes are trained to read type at certain sizes. Specifically, 8pt for regular text in a book. If your text is too much bigger, it will actually tire out your reader’s eyes. Same with a typeface that’s too fancy or badly proportioned. Text on a screen & text on a page are two very different things & need to be handled as such. What looks great on a screen will print out massively huge on paper.  (Typography joke– someone writes a note in 8 inch high letters on the art room chalkboard about people cleaning things up. Somebody writes underneath it, “I’m sorry. I can’t read anything bigger than an 86pt font.” That actually happened at one of my schools. Who says artists aren’t total geeks?)

Ultimately, a bad book layout will interfere with the reader’s ability to read & enjoy the book, which is counter-productive. Which makes it a blasphemy against 2 of my favorite things- design & reading.  They’re even worse than bad beer.