by John Köehler, Design Director
While the quality of your writing is the main determiner of commercial success, also important is your book design, or as the industry calls it, your package. Many well-written books have been relegated to the trash bin based on a poor cover. Readers may also turn away from a book that is poorly formatted on the interior, rendering it difficult to read. It must feel right to the reader, who instinctively recognizes the right look for a book. E-books can change the type size, but printed books are “stuck.”
As with any designed item, book design is a combination of form and function. The form relates to the creativity, to the way it makes you feel, to the strength of the design and how pleased the reader feels looking at it and reading it. The form is the beauty and art and creativity rolled into one that altogether produces a pleasant, excited or compelling reaction from the reader.
The function relates to the ease of the reader’s experience. For example, the type of a printed book is typically eleven or twelve points with a line spacing or leading of fourteen or fifteen points. That is what readers expect. If you go too far outside of that comfort zone, readers will find another book.