Archive for March, 2012

Making My Way into ebook Design and Layout

4 comments March 28th, 2012

Although I continue to harbor reservations about the ability of human readers to change the look of ebooks on their e-reading devices, time has come for me to jump into ebook-making with both feet. To be sure, it gnaws at me that the typefaces I use in my print books will not make it to their e-versions, but it really is time.

So right now, in between projects and/or pieces of projects, I am beefing up my skills by extending my knowledge. First in my learning parade is Anne-Marie Concepcion’s DVD from Lynda.com, Adobe InDesign CS5.5 to EPUB, Kindle, and iPad. This is a fairly painless way, I am finding, to take a step-by-step tour of what you need to do to turn InDy CS5.5 files into epubs.

Of course, as often happens, one thing leads to another and I realize that I need to get up to snuff with CSS, so that I can tweak CSS definitions to adjust how ebook pages will look. The text recommended to me for CSS is HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites. I think, too, that I should brush up on my HTML. So that leads me to something lighter, a series that I had some fun with learning basic HTML years ago, Sams Teach Yourself HTML5 and CSS3 in 24 Hours. But all isn’t right enough with the world to end there. I remain stuck on the thought of how much I hate that all my design choices can be altered on an e-reader. Some ongoing discussion on Twitter and great suggestions from fellow tweeters, under the #eprdctn hashtag, led me to a number of great looking open source typefaces at The League of Moveable Type. I think their Fanwood, Linden Hill, Prociono, Clover, and Sorts Mill Goudy might be very nice text faces. Raleway, League Gothic, and Junction might just lend themselves to some great display work.

That’s how, after all this time, I am really preparing to plunge into the design and layout of ebooks. Any other suggestions most welcome.

Logos v. Books: What’s the Diff?

Add comment March 4th, 2012

A few weeks ago I was asked by a reader of this blog to write some about the differences between logo design and book design. Never having designed a logo, I thought I might not be the best person to offer an opinion. Thinking longer on it, however, I figured at least a few of my observations might make some sense.

Truth is, logos simply never have been my thing. I started with résumés, product literature, and some local supermarket paper display ads. But pretty quickly I got into books and that was all she wrote. So to speak.

The thing I know about logos are that they are usually meant to last a good, long while. Once the identity of a business is established, the owner pretty much wants that identity to take hold and even become ubiquitous if possible. So the process takes longer. It starts with more research and back-and-forth between client and designer. It is very important that they get straight between them exactly the image the client seeks to project. And that requires a pretty good understanding of what the entity does, makes, or sells.

Designing a book, on the other hand, is more of a hit-and-run kind of activity. And one with a more concrete, or at least quicker, deadline. The designer is presented with a book and is faced with the task of setting up how the content of that book can best be given to readers. The image is temporary in a way that a logo isn’t in that once the book has been read, an individual reader is usually done with the book. Additionally, the story is with the reader while the book is being read, but pretty much goes away after the reading is done, except to the extent that the reader is left with a lasting feeling. A logo continues to exist for a going business unless and until it is changed or redesigned.

The only time I can see a single book’s design being more than this “hit-and-run” deal is when the book is part of a series. Then continuity would matter.

What do you think?


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