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Layout Tips

In order for your page layout to be visually appealing and to keep the readers interest, you should have contrast on your pages. Contrast can be provided through color, font size, font style, and bold headings. Use a contrasting type for headings, keep the headings very different from the body type. Don't go overboard, use one type for the body copy and a different one for the headings. Consider a newspaper and how the headings are larger and bolder.

Choose one justification and stick to it. As a rule, left justification will give your book a more conservative professional look. Full justification within the layout will give your book a clean orderly look. With full justification, your headings could be either left, right, or centered on the page.

Create a sense of unity throughout your book by adding a few visual elements that you like, then repeat them throughout your book. Look through some of your favorite books to see what they have used on the pages; you may get some inspiration. Perhaps a decorative ornament under the heading of each chapter, or a decorative drop cap to start each chapter might give your book a special look.

Organize your type properly by grouping text together that relates to each other. Compare these two examples:
  1. John Smith,
    Book Page Layout & Design

  2. John Smith,
    Book Page Layout & Design


The second example is more appealing because of its organization and contrast.

It is important to choose a page layout style, and follow it consistently throughout your book.

Page Size
Choose a page size which is appropriate for your style of book. For example, a family history book or school yearbook is commonly printed in an 8 ½” x 11” size format, while books such as novels, autobiographies, and poetry, are commonly printed in the standard 5 ½” x 8 ½” format. If you have any questions regarding the proper page dimensions for your particular book, please contact us.

Margins, Header/Footers
When setting the margins for your pages, it is important to not set them less than ¾” to ensure a proper distance between the printing and the edge of the page. We recommend that when choosing a margin setting for your page layout, you should allow 1/8” extra for the binding edge. For example, if you have selected a margin setting of ¾” for the top, bottom, and right hand side of the page, the left hand, or binding edge should be set at 7/8”. This makes the text appear balanced on the page when the book is bound. Microsoft Word uses a measurement which is referred to as a gutter. When using the gutter, margins should all be set at ¾" with a gutter measurement of .2". Care should also be taken when placing information in the headers or footers, such as chapter heading or page numbers, that sufficient room remains between the edge of the print and the edge of the page. A header/footer measurement of ½” is a common setting for a standard page layout.

Setting Type
When typing your manuscript, forget everything you learned in typing class. Here are just some basic layout rules.

Only use one space after periods.

Indent paragraphs one em space. This is equal to approximately two spaces.

Choose either a double space between paragraphs, or an indent. Do not use both.

If you are choosing to indent your paragraphs, you need not indent the first one of each chapter.

Watch for hyphenated words at the end of each line. If there are too many, you may want to
adjust your kerning.