Typography Tips for Authors: Introduction

An Advantage For Writers

Writers with some knowledge of typography have an advantage over those who don’t. This is especially true for self-publishing writers who have the right of final approval on the physical appearance of their books.

How Well is Your Book Designed? Can You Judge?

 The purpose of this series of articles is to provide you, the writer, with enough typographic savvy to judge the quality of the design of your books. To that end I intend to discuss such topics as type selection and placement, word spacing, kerning and leading, etc. But isn’t handling all that stuff some else’s job? Yes, but you need a basis for judging how well that job is being done. After all, you’re paying for it. I assume your written work is the culmination of careful thought, meticulous research, judicious construction and diligent proof reading.  Shouldn’t the visual form of your work meet the quality standards of your manuscript? 

The Value of Typographic Design Done Well

What exactly is typography? Perhaps Google defines it as well as anybody: “The general character and appearance of printed matter.” That’s not saying much, but it may be as much as the average person wants to know. For a writer, however, it is useful to know more than that because typography is a valuable communications tool. Done well it provides a book with visual logic, insures legibility, enhances the clarity of the text and improves sales potential.

Typography is the Basic Design Element of Every Book

The visual quality of any book—front and back covers and everything in between—is determined by the designer, ideally in partnership with the writer.  Every book must be designed, which surprises some people, even a few published writers. No matter who the book designer is—a free-lance professional or someone employed by a publisher or printer, he or she must be well grounded in typography. It’s the basic design element.

What’s Next?

Each article in the series will explain an aspect of typography I think will be helpful for writers. In addition to those listed above, they  include: the anatomy of a book, title-page design, legibility, line length, paragraphing, drops, running heads, folios and captions.

Typography for Book Author Articles:

Practical and Esthetic Use Of Type

Anatomy of a Book

Your comments and questions are welcome.

Robert Jacobson email