Designing trade fiction for print and ereaders
When you read a novel from a discerning publisher, every aspect of your reading experience has been carefully crafted: the font, the page size, the precise layout of each chapter opener, the density of the text, the style of the hyphenation, and more.
And, of course, the cover. A great book cover needs to do three important jobs. Firstly, it needs to be beautiful. Secondly, it needs to hint at what is contained within, without giving too much away. Lastly, it needs to capture the tone of the writing.
The Park is one of several novels we produced for renowned publisher Pan Macmillan.
The novel has the undertone of a psychological thriller. For the cover design, we wanted to illustrate the main subject of the story, and suggest a sense of foreboding with the empty swing and acid colours. The book is written in a personal, conversational style, so the handwritten type speaks to this.
The page design of a book should relate to the cover, but must go unnoticed for easy, focused reading. For The Park we chose a classic serif font for the main text, and the same script as the cover for the personal, handwritten notes inside. We also designed a little park-bench icon as a text divider, to carry through the theme and add visual interest.
Translating a crafted paper-page design to an ebook is always a challenge, because each ereader – such as Amazon Kindle or Apple iBooks – overrides many of our decisions, and applies its own design. So for ebooks we keep the text design flexible and classically simple. We did make sure to keep the park-bench text divider.
Since we use a single-source workflow, where we generate all formats simultaneously, there’s no need for post-production ebook conversion. This shaves weeks off a book’s production time.