Design & Layout

Cover Design | Inside Pages Design | Pagination | Typography

A book is a treasure, as lovers of books everywhere have known since forever. The way the pages feel between your fingers, the motif at the start of a new chapter,the picture of a child that marks your page in the book on your bedside table. Reading books is a tactile, visual and even gustatory experience.

Choosing the right page design means focusing on fonts, spacing, and on-page elements such as pull-quotes, boxes, colour and other design elements. The design should perfectly match the text and bring the words to life.Knowledge of established art and design principles is needed to geometrically balance the pages and draw in the eye. Good design, as with good editing, may be so unobtrusive that it provides a relaxing reading experience without the reader noticing it. However, bad design is always noticed and detracts from the reading experience.

Choosing the cover design is of prime importance, and we work with a range of designers to ensure you get the right look, using both photography and original artwork.

Self-Publish SA creates client-specific design options and works with authors until we create the perfect look for your book. It is a good idea to go to a bookshop and spend some time familiarising yourself with design layout options and get a feel for current trends. There are striking possibilities for non-fiction, in particular, although in today’s eclectic world an antique or retro look wouldn’t go amiss either.

Once the design has been agreed on, layout, or actually placing the copy, is a time-consuming process because each line needs to be spaced properly, and bad breaks and widows and orphans eliminated etc.

After this step, the draft is then sent to the client, who proofreads it.It is best to enlist the assistance of as many pairs of “fresh eyes” as possible.New readers may easily pick up mistakes that people very familiar with the text may miss. Any changes are then sent back to Self-Publish SA, a process we called “author’s corrections”, which is included in the cost of design and layout.

In South Africa, English is the second or third language of many writers. Self-Publish SA has a sensitive yet realistic appreciation for our cultural and linguistic diversity in terms of editing. This is a generalisation because often writers using English as second language write much better than first language speakers. Every book requires an emphasis on different editing styles and skills because all writers have their strengths and weaknesses.

Sometimes words are misspelled or grammar is used incorrectly. Other times there may be bad sentence structure, mixed metaphors and a prevalence of tired clichés etc. There can also be structural problems that have to do with the flow of paragraphs, chapters or entire books. There may be unattributed use of other writers’ work or unsubstantiated, libellous claims made. However, some copy is basically “clean”, and requires very little editing. All this said, Self-Publish SA recognises and respects authors’ different writing styles and we don’t go changing things around to make them the way we would like them to be but rather work to enhance the writer’s own style.