Any publication needs to be broken into its components to maximize design/artistry. There are several issues to consider. We will discuss physical considerations in another post, but this post will focus on content specific ideas.

Book Specific Issues

The Cover (Front Cover, Back Cover, and Spine)

The End pages

Front Matter (preliminary pages) often comprising the title, author name, publisher, and sometimes an image. Sometimes the image is on an additional page. On a separate page there is often a copyright statement. Often a dedication will appear here or around the title page.

Title Page often includes the same info: the title, author name, publisher, year of publication, and sometimes an image

Contents Page if included this will help a reader find sections within the book, assuming it is divided thusly.

Preface a short statement about the book’s thesis, goals, origin, and perhaps additional author notes.

Forward similar to a preface, but usually written by someone other than the author

Content the material written by the author.

Bibliography and Recommended Reading will appear in an academic work or a work that has used citations. It may also appear in fiction if the author wants to point people toward sources of inspiration fiction and non-fiction alike.

Index may appear in a reference volume of any type. May also appear in an illustrated volume. This may also be an alternate position for a dedication.

Magazine Specific Issues

Magazines usually break down into 3 areas:

  1. The News-led first section: generally this contains contents, letters, editorials, contemporary news specific to the subject of the magazine/newspaper. Uses a variety of font sizes to help organize the elements of the page, but also to provide energy
  2. The middle section housing “features” or “The Feature Well”: contains celebrity interviews, or in-depth analysis of something happening in the industry specific to the magazine. The designer may employ white space, illustrations, photographs, or a wide variety of typographic ideas in order to differentiate the publication and/or grab attention. 
  3. A back section called (shockingly) “the back of the book” that houses information-based content.

Comics Specific Issues

Comics and Graphic Novels often borrow from book design and magazine design as those publications are sort of a cross between the two. The biggest thing to know about comics is that left/right facing pages matter more than in most other publications. Many comic storytellers build their “reveals” (the moment where something really interesting happens) into the material one would first see as they turn a page. The big comic specific problem is that art work that is really eye catching can spoil a story point if a reader gets to it before the artist intended as a result of glancing over too soon.