book design

Editorial designs imply the consideration of the conventional parts of a publication. However, it is important to be flexible, that is to say, to add or dismiss parts, or to arrange them in different ways, regarding the level of innovation or traditionalism of the publication.

In order to report on these parts and their function, let us have a look to the different sections that a book comprises.

The main sections of a book


Cover: it is one of the two outer parts of a book. This may made of different materials-generally, paper, cardboard or leather. The design of both covers must match the subject matter of the book. The front cover generally comprises the title of the work, the name of the author, the publisher logo and collection, as well as photographs and illustrations.

Dust cover: this is a thin cover which wraps the covers and that is used to decorate and protect the publication. This may share the design of the cover or have a different one.

Flaps: flaps are the parallel parts of the dust cover or cover-if the cover is not hard-which are folded inwards. The comprise information about the work, the author biography, collections and the name of the publisher.

Back cover: back covers do not have a determined use. Sometimes they comprise a summary of the main text or the biography of the author. Back covers share the graphic features of the front cover.

Spine: it is the narrow strip where the cover of a book is joined to the pages, forming the fore-edge of the book. It usually comprises the title of the work, the writer's name and the name of the publisher.

Band: it is a paper strip which is put around the book. It functions as a promotional and informative element-they inform about the amount of copies sold, the edition number or reviews of the book, to name a few examples.

Title: the title performs an essential function since it must draw the readerís attention immediately and work as an introduction to the rest of the content. Although there are no strict rules concerning titles, it is recommended the use of short lines for them. Typographies with serif are favorable for the legibility, and this is why this is also recommended. The fundamental aim of titles is to draw the readerís attention and to convey the message of the book rapidly.


Flyleaves: flyleaves are the empty pages at the beginning or end of a book next to the cover, which sometimes may comprise a printed motif with a decorative function.

Title page: a page at the front of a book on which you find the same information that is on the front cover-the name of the book, the writer and the publisher.

Back page: this is the back of the book. In some cases, this page gives information about other works of the writer, comments on the text and other information, and sometimes they have no written content.

Credits page: this page shows information on the edition of the book-year and number of publication-, the names of the people who participated in the book development-designer, photographer, illustrator, translator, corrector, etc.-, copyright-the legal rights held by the writer and editor-, and the ISBN (International Standard Book Numbers) which corresponds to the numeric code of the country where the book was published, the publisher and the subject of the book.

Dedication page: this is the page on which the writer says in whose honor the book has been written.

Table of contents: this is a list that shows the headings of the different chapters and the corresponding pages, which allows the easy and rapid location of the different contents in the book. The table of contests may also be arranged in alphabetical order with the number of the page on which each subject or issue is mentioned. This table may be positioned either at the beginning or the end of the main text.

The main text: it includes the body of the book, the foreword, the preface, the chapters or sections, the supplements, the bibliography, and, in the case there are images, the illustrations, and photographs in the book. The length of the text will vary according to the typography, the body, the leading and the typographic box used.

Heading: this includes the title of the work, the name of the writer, the name of a chapter or section, which is on the upper part of every page of the main text.

Foot of the page: this is the part of the page where we find the page number and the notes about the main text and quotations descriptions.

Page number: this is a number that appears on every page, generally on the foot of the page. The numeration starts at the title page. Blank pages or those pages that are not part of the main text are not enumerated.

Imprint: the imprint is the part of the book that gives information about the people who participated on the publishing-printer, photochromists, copywriters-, the paper used, the chosen typography and the date and place of the printing. This is located at the end of the book in an even or odd page.

These are all the parts that make up the structure of a book. However, not all books follow this scheme. This will vary according to the budget available for the publication and the image that a publication is supposed to accomplish. Those publications that comprise all these elements will be considered high-quality works. Regarding magazines and newspapers, their structure, including the front and the back cover, and the main text, is much simpler. Headings, page numbers and credits also appear on these types of publications.

When developing the editorial design of a publication, it is of high importance to consider the usual internal and external structure of the publication, and adjust the design to the specific requirements of every publication.

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