Four Questions for Book Designers

April 3rd, 2011

In July of 2007, I ran my little survey for the first time, getting the idea from something similar that Smashing Magazine addressed to web designers. Little did I know that I would later find value in running it annually. That is, until my website, blog, and Twitter account were hacked into and I got kind of turned around from anything that called for comments.

But it’s back, primarily because a lot has come and gone since the last time I asked these questions. I won’t give my answers yet, but some comments after each one.

  1. Name the first aspect of designing a book that you give priority to once you accept a project and sit down to start. Originally I was thinking of things like page size and proportion, font choices, and the like. These days a few other things come to mind, such as whether an ebook edition is in the cards.
  2. Has InDesign proven to be the Quark killer for you; and, if so, what was the feature that did it; or do your clients determine which software you use?Again, when I first asked this question, I was not at all pleased with the early InDesign’s handling of type. I was even defensive about the possibility that Quark’s time might be running out. Although I still continue Quark a capable tool, and I know there are plenty of Quark users still out there, I think the fight has passed. InDesign prevails … mostly. The more interesting source of competition for InDesign comes from open source software: there are a number of flavors of TeX and I wonder whether many professional book designers use any of them?
  3. What’s the first font comes to mind for body text each time you begin a book design project; and do you usually stick with that choice or say something like, “Yes, I really like that font, but it’s time to work with something else”?Nowadays, I find myself interested in how you buy your fonts. I mean, do you buy one font family at a time or do you look for collections of type? For instance, the bedrock of my typeface library has been the bundle of fonts Adobe includes with Creative Studio (and before that, Illustrator).
  4. Name one design-related book you highly recommend to book designers—please don’t suggest Tschichold’s The New Typography (Die neue Typographie), as I am just up to here with that book, as much of an earth-shaker as it was.I cannot get over how rudely I put that: up to here with Tschichold. So I will try to be clear.  I have nothing against the books below. I have always regarded them as my core references. But I’m ready to consider some new ones. Five Hundred Years of Book Design proved a little disappointing. And I have high hopes for one I just ordered, Joost Grootens’ I swear I use no art at all. Still, I would rather not hear about the following books for this little questionnaire.

    • The Elements of Typographic Style
    • On Book Design
    • Book design: practice and theory
    • The Design of Books
    • Bookdesign: A comprehensive guide

So … what do you have to say?

Entry Filed under: book design,creativity,tools,typefaces

24 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Elizabeth Beeton aka Moriah Jovan  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    1. I’m primarily an ebook formatter more than a print designer, so…I do the ebook before I do the print book. That way, I don’t get any weird artifacts from print that will escape my notice in digital (like hyphens at the end of a line, ligatures, etc.)

    By the time I get to the setting of the type, I’m first thinking about page size, then margins because I’m on a super-tight budget and, regrettably, I have to squeeze as much in as I can without it getting too jumbled.

    2. As you, Stephen, and Joel Friedlander know, I set type in Word. Please don’t everybody throw tomatoes at me. I’ve proven beyond a shadow of a doubt it’s possible to do it and do it well.

    That said, I started out in J school on Aldus (yes, I said Aldus) PageMaker. I know what THAT could do and trust me, if I had the money or time, I’d take up InDesign, but I don’t. I’m working with what tools are available to me with the skillset I have.

    3. Depends on the book. I like to find fonts that have the flavor of the subject matter. I have very few fonts I like that are also readable. When I get a book project, I go looking for a font that fits and is easy on the eyes and that I like.

    My favorites: Adobe Jenson, Warnock Pro (which I paired with Frutiger), Slimbach (that was for a humorous book; it worked). I used something called Bell MT, which didn’t look hot by itself, but coupled with Blue Highway, it was wonderful. I use Adobe Jenson for the books I write, as I feel like it’s part of my branding.

    That said, there are very common faces I can’t stand: Garamond and Palatino being the two right at the top of my $hit list.

    4. Again, my design background comes from newspapers. When it came time for me to design my first book, this was the only book I read: Type & Layout: How Typography and Design Can Get Your Message Across-Or Get in the Way by Colin Wheildon.

  • 2. Susan Daffron  |  April 4th, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    1. Since most of my clients are self-publishing, I tend to work collaboratively with an author, so I ask the author questions like who will read the book, what size it’s going to be, and how it will be printed and distributed. I also ask them about the “feel” they want the book to have and to give me examples of other book designs they really enjoyed reading and why. So to be more specific to your question, the first thing *I* think about technically is “the author.” 😉

    2. I have moved over to InDesign pretty much completely now. All of my own books are laid out in ID. Very occasionally, I have a publisher client that wants me to use Quark, but if the client has no preference, I use ID.

    3. My own books use Warnock Pro for body text and I find it really readable. I’ve used Jenson and various other traditional fonts too for clients. Again it depends on the reader and the “feel” of the layout.

    4. I have no one specific book that I’ve used as a “bible” for book design. In fact, I’ve found that book designers who are so rigid about “rules” or a specific book tend to create layouts I don’t like. Guess I’m just a rebel 😉

    With that said, I tend to like design information from Roger C. Parker, Chuck Green and John McWade. They often focus on techniques for creating clean readable layouts.

  • 3. admin  |  April 4th, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    Interesting that you do mostly just ebooks, Elizabeth. Although maybe I’m mistaken. But it seems like, reasonably, it’d make sense to do a print book and then follow with its e-version. Then, too, I’m still hoping a standard will catch on that allows for one’s book design to stick.

    You’re my guest here, so I’m not going to rail against Word. Then again, I must admit that you get it right hen using Word. I’d be curious, tho’, whether there’s any time-cost, since it’s not really designed for what you do.

    Jenson’s nice, another Old Style. Those always seem to be the ones I favor. I used Warnock Pro for something over the last year. And, tho’ I haven’t used Slimbach in years, it’s one I also like. I looked at Bell MT for something last year. But the book didn’t pan out and I never went back to it.

    I have to disagree with your putting Palatino and Garamond on your list, tho’ I won’t use either for now. Palatino was the first serif face I really liked–helped that it comes installed on the Mac. But I use it for my letter writing and business communications, so I just don’t think of it as a book face. Garamond was the second serif face I loved. But I’ve used it quite enough over the years.

    Ah, Colin Wheildon! You mention the 2005 book. I read the 1995 book. Is yours the sequel? Or a new version? The subtitles are different, so I can’t tell. The one I read had one or two studies he’d done that more or less supported the idea that serif types are for long text, not sans.

    Thanks for taking the time, Elizabeth.

  • 4. Pete Masterson  |  April 4th, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    We’ve passed on several other sites/list-serves, etc… but to your questions:

    1. First considerations: I generally start off with a thorough discussion with my new clients about what they want and expect in their book. We try to nail down things like page size and if they have any particular things they like in samples of work they may have. I assume most may wish to do an ebook at some point, but, so far, my clients have all been interested in a physical book, first.

    2. I never much cared for Quark XPress, so InDesign was a “no brainer” for me. While I have experience with QXP, Framemaker, and TeX, my preferred pre-ID program was PageMaker (having started with Version 2 in 1987). Starting in the early 80s, I used a proprietary “word processing like” layout program for producing freight tariffs on a CP/M computer. (I developed a true printing on demand system for Southern Pacific Railroad in 1981-2.) InDesign 1.0 was buggy, and effectively unusable. Ver 1.5 was the first usable version. It took awhile, but doing a 586 page book in ID 1.5 successfully got me up to speed with InDesign.

    In my past, I also had experience with a Penta System (conventional typesetting system) that was known as one of the most sophisticated typesetting systems in the pre-DTP era. InDesign, when set up correctly, is the first “desktop” program that equals or exceeds the typesetting quality of the Penta. Both QXP and PM can do decent typography — but IMHO, InDesign does the best work with the least effort.

    The actual selection of the typeface used for each book depends on the answers I got in the initial interview with the client. I generally stick with oldstyle fonts for the body text, but I’ve used Electra (a transitional) upon occasion. (It’s available as an analog from Bitstream as Transitional 521, if IRCC.) I tend to use “friendly” typefaces for children’s picture books — Stone Informal or ITC Souvenir. I’ll use Palatino if the author wants the book to seem longer, since that face “sets wide.”

    Keep in mind that over the years, I’ve produced, art directed, or supervised more than 1000 books, so I’ve used a lot of typefaces for different projects.

    3. I’m an admitted font junky. I have more than 26,000 individual typefaces (including duplicates from different foundries). I tend to favor the Adobe fonts as I like the features in their Open Type Pro faces. (I have the complete Adobe Library.) I also have the Bitstream Library (Type Oddesy), but they’ve lagged in creating ‘Pro’-type fonts from their base+expert sets. Previously I tended to favor the BT fonts and very much like their Arrus face. They also have a nice book face with Iowan.

    In the Adobe fonts, a real workhorse for me has been Minion. While technically it isn’t a true oldstyle, it’s close in character to oldstyle and is an efficient, business-like face. Adobe Caslon and Adobe Garamond are also very solid fonts.

    Most of my font purchases have been in large collections — but I’ve also picked up individual fonts, when such were the “only” font that would work. These tend to be more quirky, display faces, used on covers and for chapter titles, etc. For example, Albermarle has very elaborate swash characters — that were used on the cover and for chapter titles in a particular book.

    4. This is the most difficult question. I have a huge collection of type and design books. Colin Wheildon’s Type and Layout is one of the most influential on my basic approach (the 2005 version is a re-issue by an Australian publisher. When it went out of print, I was thinking of getting the rights myself, but I was beaten to the punch. The new publisher added some new material, updated some of the illustrations, etc., but it is essentially the same book as the original.) Of course, I recommend my book, Book Design and Layout: A Guide for Authors and Publishers for relative newcomers to book design — and the several books by Robin WIlliams (not the comedian) are also excellent beginning texts. For more advanced materials, the bibliography of my book has a lot of interesting reading material to consider.

  • 5. admin  |  April 4th, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    Susan, I’ve definitely gotten more into the swing of the collaborating with authors as I’ve worked more and more the last two years with self-publishers. But I have always thought my job was first to facilitate the connecting of the author to the reader.

    As for the InDy v. Quark bout, I’m about two or three years ahead of you. By that, I just mean I was in the same boat about that long ago. And it’s been that long since anyone requested Quark. What I’m more curious about these days is whether open source options are becoming more mainstream.

    I don’t tend to use the same types more than once a year unless they’re part of a series or a client makes a request.

    As for books, although Bringhurst and Hochuli/Kinross are still my “bibles,” I tend to use them as starting points to deviate from in small ways. And I’ve begun to refer more to books I use as “look books” just to start my visualizing. I’m psyched to place I swear i don’t use any art in that role.

  • 6. Elizabeth Beeton aka Moriah Jovan  |  April 5th, 2011 at 1:08 am

    “Ah, Colin Wheildon! You mention the 2005 book. I read the 1995 book. Is yours the sequel? Or a new version?”

    I actually meant the 1995 version. I had to get it on ILL, too.

  • 7. Michael Brady  |  April 5th, 2011 at 10:53 am

    1. I almost always initially imagine the book in a layout, as the page design and font selections, colors, etc. This happens when I’m talking to the client at the beginning, as the job is being described. Rarely think of the cover first, just the text pages. I haven’t gotten into ebooks yet, so I don’t think of them.

    2. Never use Q. I have no opinion on its life expectancy.

    3.The first font? That depends on several factors. (1) Which font I’ve been dating lately. (2) What fonts I see in my initial, intuitive image of the page (see above). (3) Any preordained restrictions (client’s corporate guidelines, large type for old eyes, etc.). As for specific fonts, I have a core set that I gravitate to, but then I shake my head and break with old habits. That core includes:

    Text: Chaparral, Georgia, Cheltenham, Apollo, Electra, Baskerville, Adobe Garamond (not ITC or Apple Garamond). Also, Fontin (by Jos Buivenga @, Cochin, Optima (limited suitability)

    Display (titles and subheads): Franklin Gothic, Univers, Helvetica Neue, Myriad, Rotis, Arial Rounded, DeVinne, Formal 436 (Bitstream), Scriptina

    Needless to say, these two lists aren’t exhaustive or permanent (see factor (1) above).

    4. Here’s one book: Bookmaking, by Marshall Lee, 3d ed, Norton.
    Here’s one book: On Book Design, by Rich Hendel, Yale.
    Here’s one book: Thinking Like a Designer, by me, available at Amazon.

    BTW, Weildon’s book is also very useful, especially as backup for the sans-v-serif debates (and also for things like readability of reversed type, etc.).

  • 8. admin  |  April 5th, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Of course, Pete, our path have met in various forums, even if we haven’t spoken directly. Thanks for responding here.

    Okay, your experience with print books coming first mirrors my own. Perhaps because it’s the way I’m used to seeing things go, this seems like the logical sequence. How do you proceed with eBooks, as apps, using CSS, or what?

    Funny, after breaking in with PageMaker 3′ it’s single-page docs, and imprecise way of moving things around with the mouse, Quark’s precise way of typing in coordinates was most welcome. But after InDy got it’s type-handling right–for me, that was version 2.0–I began using it regularly and haven’t looked back.

    Ah, yes, I’d forgotten that I’ve given Minion quite a workout. But just generally, it’s Old Style types for me. I mean, I love Bembo and even Cheltenham in the right sitch.

    Books are difficult, you’re right. I would hope some different ones will be uncovered here.

  • 9. Shannon Garcia  |  April 5th, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    1. Like Elizabeth, I work in ebook design so my primary considerations are on-screen readability and having it look equally good if someone decides to print the material out. My page sizing and margins have to consider different monitor resolutions and ease of reading more than anything else… recently I’ve begun setting material almost entirely in landscape format.

    2. I only got mildly familiar with Quark in school; InDesign has been my weapon of choice for big projects. Now that I’m working entirely in small ebooks, though, I work mostly in Word for convenience. This is the first place I’ve said that out loud.

    3. My habit is to use slightly different fonts for different clients, since many of them work in the same field and I don’t want their material to look too similar. My current go-tos are Adobe Caslon for personal projects, Goudy Old Style, and Cochin occasionally. My own work is going in a more traditional direction and so I’m on the hunt for a new “signature” font.

    4. The only typography book I own is Wheildon’s Type and Layout. Mostly, I use different design and art books as lookbooks for coming up with ideas.

  • 10. admin  |  April 5th, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    Interesting how Colin Wheildon’s book keeps coming up again and again. I wish I knew what the hell happened to my copy. (Or maybe I only borrowed a copy from the library.)

    Like Michael, I tend to think interiors first. I don’t do a great many covers, anyway, as I’m not a drawer or painter. My cover work tends to be type treatments with supplied art. I must admit, however, I’m starting to think a lot about text-only covers in a different way than previously. Not just type treatments, but type as visuals.

    And Michael also speaks of typefaces in a broader way, mentioning a greater variety. I get the sense sometimes that many designers nowadays almost have their own “house” or signature style. Perhaps that’s because so many self-publishers are out there and designing for their own books.

    I used Jos Buivenga’s Fontin superfamily last year with really fine results. I can’t remember if I’ve ever used Caslon, the adage, “When in doubt, use Caslon” always left me with an “everybody’s using it” feeling.

    Shannon, you mention designing for different monitor resolutions, did you mean different devices, like Kindle and iPad and Nook? Do you export to Kindle or epub from within InDy?

  • 11. Matthew Austin  |  April 6th, 2011 at 9:45 am

    1. My first priority is determining what kind of book it is; is it a scientific manual, with many figures, tables and footnotes, or a novel, which usually doesn’t require factoring in as many elements. I usually design the former, so I have to take into consideration how many pull quotes, equations, or other issues will come up in making the design.

    2. I have not used Quark since college; all of my jobs since graduation have used the Adobe Suite. InDesign has improved immensely since it was first introduced, when Quark easily had the upper hand. Now that I use InDesign, PhotoShop and Illustrator simultaneously in most projects, the compatibility has made production a lot easier. My job sometimes involves designing books that were originally written in TeX; many European authors seem to be using it more than US ones, and they cite the fact that it’s free and the ease in making equations as the reasons they use it. I am still trying to figure out the best way to extract the equations from a TeX file; with all the different variations of the open source program, I am still working out the kinks.

    3. I usually start with Minion or Caslon since they has so many glyphs, and in my line of work I am constantly using Greek letters and mathematical symbols. When I do buy fonts, I go for whole font families at a time since I never know how many different variations I will need. Generally I don’t need to look outside of the bundled fonts with CS.

    4. I have been inspired more by hierarchy and organization in architecture than straight-up Graphic Design books recently; I recently got Delirious New York by Rem Koolhaus, and I admire the approach to design that architects have to consider.

  • 12. admin  |  April 6th, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    Every once in a while, Matthew, you’ll find even a novel makes many demands on your design acumen. I just completed work on an 1,100-page novel that had all manner of text to distinguish in addition to body copy: letters, magazine articles, newspaper articles, long poems, short verse, classified ads, and more that I can’t remember off the top of my head.

    I must agree that one of the biggest selling points of InDy is how tightly it’s integrated with Photoshop.

    And it’s most interesting to me that architecture books inspire your book design. I must say it’s gotten me interested in checking out such a book perhaps Delirious New York, to see if I can catch what you’re getting at.

  • 13. Tina Henderson  |  April 9th, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Although I do much more typesetting and layout than book design, two design jobs popped up this week and they got me thinking about your questions.

    1. I mostly work with publishers who determine the trim size and page count before I get involved. So my first thought is about margins and text type in order to hit that page count, or thereabouts.

    2. Yes, InDesign has completely replaced Quark for me. I have to use what my clients (and their printers) use. As far as I know, there wasn’t one specific feature that sold them on InDesign, but it seemed to happen with CS3. I upgraded to Quark 7 for one client, but that’s probably as far as I’ll go. The one thing I still miss about Quark is Kerning Table Edit. As for TeX, I have never had the chance to use it. Have never been asked to.

    3. There isn’t one typeface that I always think of first. The typeface always depends on the kind of book I’m working on. My two new projects, for example, are very different: a mystery and a business book. Having been at this for a while, I have a ton of fonts, but not enough OpenType ones. I tend to purchase them one-by-one as needed.

    4. I have most of the books you mentioned, but since you’re looking for different ideas: I’d suggest the latest edition of Chicago Manual of Style (which is beautiful), everything by Edward Tufte, and a book I just started reading: The Complete Manual of Typography by James Felici. It’s comprehensive, starts with Gutenberg. Strangely, I’d never heard of Colin Wheildon or his book. So I guess I should look it up.

  • 14. admin  |  April 9th, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Thanks for the response, Tina.

    I know about working with publishing companies and those “givens”. Not a bad way for a beginner to break in, too, tho’ I definitely appreciate the work were I get to influence or choose those elements, too.

    Yes, Quark 7 is where I stopped. I’ll pick it up again, when someone requests it. I began to study LaTeX. Truth is, tho’, examples I’ve seen of its use, all look the same to me, and as if it were created by and for use by non-creative who weren’t viewing the book as an artform.

    I definitely go thru phases where one type will stick in my brain and come to mind whenever I start thinking fonts for a new project.

    I’ve read a coupla Mr. Tufte’s books. I’m definitely a fan. I’ve heard good things about the Felici book, but’ve never actually laid hands on a copy. I’d still love to afford a copy of Tschichold’s The Form of the Book.

  • 15. David Bergsland  |  April 12th, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    1. Sizes available as I do all publishing now at Lulu, Createspace, Scribd, iBookstore, Nookbooks, and Kindle. I start with the print version
    2. Definitely a Quark killer from the time I was beta testing version one.
    3. Contenu (but I designed it to use with my books)
    4. I’ve been working on writing them (book design books) lately out of frustration

  • 16. admin  |  April 15th, 2011 at 10:43 am

    Interesting answers, David. So in a nutshell, is it simply more economical to use the services you use, rather than just using a commercial printer? What services of Lulu, etc. do you specifically use–I mean, I assume you handle your own design and production; but what about editing and marketing?

    Ick. Version i of InDy? It’s handling of type was drecky until at least version 2, if not CS1. (That is, in my estimation.)

    So you pretty much have a house style for all your own books?

    So have you completed any of your own books on book design?

    Thanks for contributing your views.

  • 17. Joel Friedlander  |  April 20th, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    I’m late to the party, but I’ll put my 2c in:

    1. The first thing I think about is the overall structure and formatting of the book. Understanding the hierarchy of information and how the author/editor has organized it leads to all my design solutions.

    2. I did many, many books in Quark but now use ID exclusively. Although there are a couple of features I miss from the QXP days, ID and its integration with the rest of the CS software is just a dream to work with, and it gets better every version.

    3.Not really, I have about 6 body text fonts I use a lot, (Minion, Jenson, Adobe Garamond, Warnock, Electra, Chaparral, Janson) but I don’t usually approach new projects with a “default” font. Sometimes I look for projects in order to use a specific font, but it’s always the client’s choice in the end.

    4. None.

    Thanks for the discussion, Steve, great idea.

  • 18. Litsam  |  April 20th, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    1) what the audience is. Our books will all be electronic, but that doesn’t really affect design decisions as our e-books and print books are never quite the same. (Different covers work well, and there are different ordering expectations, etc.) So for print, the decisions are based on how the reader will read. Is this a smallish paperback for stuffing in your purse? Is this a book that benefits from some visual weight? Will this go to hardcover (Lightning Source) or is making the per-copy price low critical (CreateSpace)? Is it poetry, with plenty of white space required, but also where line wrapping is an issue? Etc.

    2) Definitely InDesign. I’ve also formatted with Word and it’s “good enough” if you know what you’re doing.

    3) I don’t have a default font, but definitely something readable for body text. I’ll peruse older ‘classics’ for inspiration, or scan articles for inspiration. I rarely buy a font for body text — there are plenty of good standards already installed on nearly any design computer. For chapter headlines and such I’ve found a strange source for a couple of fonts I’ve just loved, that aren’t overused (I probably shouldn’t say, should I? But here it is: ) I will buy fonts for decoration.

    4) I love Tufte, but for something unexpected, how about Robin William’s series? I think her Non-Designer’s series is a really nice (and timeless) summary of simple principles of alignment etc. that any experienced designer probably knows, but that a lot of new folks may not.

  • 19. admin  |  April 20th, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    Joel, we must’ve gone to different schools together, as most of what you’ve said, I’ve subscribed to and said before. Then again, you and I have been talking for a while now, so it’s no surprise we have common ground.

    Only Electra and Chaparral are untried. Electra, as much as I like to look at it, sometimes strikes me as delicate. Chaparral’s been something I’ve liked for a few years now without using, ever since I read some about Carol Twombly who designed a number of types at Adobe for years and then left. She’s prob’ly writing a great book or something, but it always seemed mysterious to me, since I never heard anything again about her.

  • 20. admin  |  April 20th, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    Ah, yes, poetry–and other “special” text items. (I just did an 1,100-page novel that had all different kinds of text items, including a number of different verse/poetry elements.) This was fun. Really.

    Using Word, eh? Any particular type of book that called for it, or just a client’s request? How do you keep justified text from producing wordspacing that’s often an eyesore?

    Thanks for the link, I love looking at fonts from sources new to me.

  • 21. David Bergsland  |  April 24th, 2011 at 11:19 am

    A response to your response. My position is possibly a bit more toward unique. I am a book creator as op-posed to a book designer.

    I was a fine artist, turned designer, become teacher & author, who writes and publishes out of compulsion… for creative expression. I get a larger charge out of creating a book than I ever did from a painting or drawing. For me it’s a complete experience: I create or design all the words, the fonts, illustrations, page layout, and so on.

    My experiences are colored by my work within commercial printers as the art & creative director for many years and now twenty years teaching commercial printing and digital publishing.

    I always preferred PageMaker over Quark for the creative process and InDesign flows out of that urge to create. It has gradually become the industry standard, but I got into it because it is such a joy to write and design as a gestalt process in InDesign (and the Creative Suite as a whole).

    I design all my own fonts because I could not find fonts that had the features I wanted like oldstyle numbers, small cap numbers, true small caps, ligatures and all the rest. The industry grew into my needs with OpenType and all my fonts are no OpenType. (I find it interesting and peculiar that I make more money selling my fonts than I do my books at present.)

    I began writing at the request of Delmar Publishing to create textbooks on the new digital printing process producing books on digital publishing, typography, FreeHand, Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop along the way.

    The books I have written about book design have been focused on the actual process of producing books using InDesign.You can see this type of process explanation most clearly in my personal best-seller, “Practical Font Design” where I simply let the reader follow me through the process of designing a font.

    My newest book, “InDesign On-Demand”, does the same thing with the process of producing a book using InDesign. I realize that I am unusual in that I do all my writing in InDesign, so I do not cover the writing portion at all. I lead the reader through the process of formatting the print version with styles that can be converted easily to an ePUB. This same formatted content is then fit into Smashwords’ process and made into a Kindle version. It’s just a glimpse at the process of on-demand publishing. My hope is that it is helpful to the reader. I know it was very helpful to me and has cut down my release process by 50% or more.

  • 22. admin  |  May 5th, 2011 at 7:04 am

    David, I’m sorry I’ve been so busy I haven’t checked back at the blog for new comments. Thanks very much for your thoughtful, informative one.

    Your background is very impressive. Obviously, with a fine art background, you’re heads and tails way more visual than I started out. I guess I should regret my decision as a child to simply accept that I couldn’t draw and move on. Perhaps that’s why you and I differ on our preference between Quark and PageMaker. I was immediately taken by Quark’s precise way of reacting to inputted coordinates for placing something in a doc. PageMaker’s moving things around “by hand” (i.e., with the mouse) always frustrated me. But I agree that InDesign has pretty much surpassed all such programs that came before.

    Your book, Practical Font Design is one I’ll investigate, as I always wonder about that process and just how many different ways there can possibly be to produce the same old 26 letters (upper and lower, of course), the ten numerals, and all the rest. I would defintely appreciate a link to some of your font work.

  • 23. David Bergsland  |  May 5th, 2011 at 8:13 am

    Thanks for your encouragement, Stephen,

    The book is “Practical Font Design” 3rd edition (a radical revision of the first book plus it includes Part two which was published separately. It’s available at Amazon and B&N. There is also a revised ePUB presently uploading in to iBookstore (that might take a couple weeks). The page on my site is:

    My fonts can be seen at my foundry site: plus they are all available at MyFonts and most of them at,, et all.

  • 24. admin  |  May 5th, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    I’ll check out your fonts and, hopefully, the book, as soon as I get some open time. I’m working on the “booking-my-blog” project, just the first stages, plus I have some updates/correx/edits to a WWII history I’m trying to finish up. So this’ll be one busy weekend.

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