Oamaru Print Logo

Designing a Book

There are many things to consider when creating a book. And they're all interrelated, so changing one part of the process can affect another part of the process. In this chapter, we will explain how to create a book to fit your needs, be it a catalogue, annual report, novel, whatever.  
What is the message of the book? 

Every document has a message and this is the first thing you have to know before you can begin writing it. Are you writing a sales piece or an educational piece? Who is your audience? What information do you want to convey? These are all important questions that you need to ask yourself before you begin writing the content and assembling the pages. After all, how do you design something if you don't understand its purpose first?  
 
What are the page dimensions of the book? 
Deciding what size you want the final book to be is not a minor decision. Like many other choices you're going to have to make when building a book, the page dimensions you choose for your book affects other digital printing factors. 
  • Page dimensions are used to decide the imposition method that will work best for a particular workflow. Not all page dimensions are compatible with all imposition methods.  
  • Page dimensions are used to determine the size of the paper used to print a book, which is used to achieve the imposition method. Again, not all imposition methods are compatible with all paper sizes. The size of the paper you choose must be large enough to include crop and trim marks on the outside of the margins and it must also accommodate the lamination film if necessary.  
  • Page dimensions, imposition method, and paper size all determine the amount of paper to be trimmed once the book is printed. It is our goal to keep these costs to a minimum, which is why it is important to consider all of these factors when determining the page dimensions of your book.  
 
 
Book and Booklet Size 
Book and booklet size refers to the area of one page (for example, this booklet is an A5 size). A5 (210mm x 148.5mm) 
The majority of books and booklets are produced at A5 size because it is a good size to handle and it is more economical. 
SRA5 (225mm x 160mm) 
Also an economical size and being a little larger than A5 is preferred by some of our customers. A4 (297mm x 210mm)  
This size is generally used when a large area is required for diagrams, illustrations or photographs. 
Other sizes can be produced but are not as economical.  
 
How many pages are in the book? 
When creating the content for a book, it is important to keep in mind that the number of pages in your document will impact the way it is produced. If you plan to saddle-stitch a book, the final page count must be a multiple of four, so you'll have to create enough content to produce that many pages. If a book is to be perfect-bound, it will have a spine. The number of pages and the thickness of the paper in the book determine the width of the spine, so that should also be a consideration when producing content. Once you know how many pages there will be in a book, you can determine the type of paper used to print the book.  
 
Paper will be used 
Paper is a product developed from nature, so it is inconsistent. Environmental elements, such as heat and humidity, can have a detrimental effect on paper. During the manufacturing process, paper develops inconsistencies, which adds to the complexity of choosing the right paper for a book. For the most part, there are a few variables to consider: 
  • Weight -80gsm to 280gsm  
  • Size Custom to A3 297x420mm  
  • Thickness  
  • Coated papers Gloss, Matt, Semi gloss 
These variables will have a direct impact on a book's imposition, spine, cover, thickness, colour density, and binding.  
Weight  
Paper weight is based on how many grams per square metre. For example, 80gsm paper weighs 80gsm per square metre. Sounds simple, right? Unfortunately, two sheets of paper designated 80gsm may not actually weigh the same amount and may have different thicknesses. Grams per square meter (GSM), is the most accurate measure of weight. It isn't an exact science, but using GSM will result in books that weight and feel the same.  
Paper weight is directly proportional to the thickness of the paper. The more it weighs, the thicker it is. The thicker it is, the more it affects the cover and spine, and even the way the book will be bound. If the paper you choose is too thick, it may or may not fit in the type of binding. So remember to select paper that accommodates the binding method you have chosen. 
Thickness 
A paper's thickness is measured in thousandths of an inch, called mills or points. However, even the thickness is never exact because of paper's natural quality. Different brands of paper have different amounts of clay and filler, which means that two sheets of paper can have the same GSM and still be different thicknesses. Also, the manufacturing defects and environmental elements affect the paper and can cause thickness to vary from sheet to sheet. As ancient as it seems, the only way to accurately measure paper thickness is to use a calliper. 
If a book has a cover and a spine, they can be greatly affected by the weight of the paper you choose. Especially if the paper is coated. If a book is too thick, the paper used to produce the cover may not be long enough to wrap around the back, spine, and front of the book.  
Book covers are produced on paper that is larger than the paper used to produce the book's internal content. This larger size must accommodate the full spread of the book, but there must also be space on the edges for crop and bleed marks, as well as enough room for lamination.  
Another factor to consider is the spine. If the book's thickness changes after you've created the text that goes on the spine, the text will get off-center. To avoid this problem, always create different images for the front cover, back cover, and spine. That way, the print shop can adjust the placement of the images based on the book's final thickness.  
The thickness of the paper can also affect the binding method you choose. If a book is too thick, either from an excessive number of pages or from using paper that is too heavy, it may not fit in the binding machine. And by then, the book has been printed and you will incur extra cost by having to reprint it.  
Size  
The size of the paper used to print a book puts constraints on the number of imposition methods that will be available to you. And, of course, the page dimensions that you choose when designing the book are directly correlated to the paper size. We share a common goal, which is to copy as many pages at once on the least amount of paper. Your challenge is to choose a paper size that will accomplish that goal. Obviously, if you have a book with different page dimensions we may be able to print more copies of the book at a single time.  
The paper size must not only be large enough to contain the content of the book and its margins, but there must also be space for production information, such as gutters, trim marks, fold marks, crop marks, bleeds, and lamination. However, it is important to remember that you have to leave a 3-4 mm edge around the outside of the paper because the printer can not print past that margin. That means that anything between the edge of the paper and the 3-4 mm margin will not print, so if trim marks are added in this space, we will not know where to trim the book because the trim marks will not print.  
Another factor to consider when choosing a paper size is whether or not the book will be laminated. If a book is to be laminated, the lamination film may need 1-2mm over the edge of the paper. Otherwise, the laminate film may peel off after the cover is trimmed, which wouldn't look too good. Also, single sided film that extends off the paper could melt onto the laminator's rollers and cause it to malfunction. 
No matter what paper size you choose, make sure it is compatible with our press and binding machine. Understand that you might have to change the imposition or paper size to conform to the restrictions of the press or binding machine.  
Coated Papers 
Paper manufacturers provide a wide variety of coatings on their book and cover stocks. Typical coatings are high gloss, low gloss, or matte finish. These coatings not only provide surface gloss, but they also affect the hue, opacity and thickness of the paper. The various surface characteristics of paper will affect its response to toner and incident light. As a result, when you view a book, you will see differences in the printed colours.  
Keep in mind that toner does not adhere well to some coated paper stock. The combination of coating and fuser oil makes it hard for the toner to stick to the paper. 
 
Imposition method 
Consider the imposition method 
Everyone who designs a book should learn how books are printed first. Knowing what is required at the end of the book production process improves the book's design and makes the whole process run smoother. Imposition is the process of arranging pages so that they will be in consecutive order when folded. The way you organize the pages depends on the page dimensions of the final book, the size of the paper the book will be printed on, and how the book will be folded and bound. The trick is to choose an imposition method that wastes the least amount of time and paper. There are an infinite number of ways to impose a book, but the most common are 1-up-for-1, 2-up-for-1, and 2-up-for-2... 
Select the fonts to be used in the book 
When designing a book, choose fonts that give your book the right look and feel. To ensure that the book remains the way you designed it in your page layout application, you should have an available copy of each font used in the book. You should also embed the fonts in the PDF file that you generate from the page layout application. 
True type fonts are more widespread and some can be downloaded free-of-charge from the internet. You should check with us to find out if we have the fonts you intend to use in your book. If we do not have it, you can copy it onto the disk along with your final book so we can download it temporarily. We discard the fonts after producing the book, so you don't have to worry about licensing issues. 

Style of Text and Layout  
Type styles (type faces) 
A common type style that is easy to read is recommended. Popular typefaces include, Times New Roman and Times. These fonts have serif (feet on the letters) and are easier to read than san-serif fonts (without feet on the letters) because the eye finds it easier to follow the line of text. 
Font size 
The recommended font size for A5 text is 10, 11 or 12 points and for A4 text 12 or 13 points. The font size in this book is 12. 
Spacing between lines 
The standard setting for one line space between text in a computer (or a word processor) is the easiest to use but trying other spacing may produce a more professional result.  
Spacing between paragraphs 
The standard spacing between each paragraph is 2 spaces. 
Indenting 
Whether the first word of a paragraph is indented (spaced further out from the margin) or not is a personal choice. 
Justification 
Supplied text is usually justified (all the text except the last line of a paragraph ends the same distance from the margin). 
 
Creating images 
Graphic artists know they must create pleasing and informative graphics, but not everyone is a graphic artist. Nowadays, there are lots of places, including the internet, to get graphics and images for your book. You can either find free graphics online, which are not always the best quality, or you can purchase them from a graphic artist. Be imaginative and resourceful. Perhaps a friend dabbles in art and they can create some graphics for you. Or maybe you can have us create them for you.  
Always change the position, size, and resolution of an image before you import them into a page layout application 
If you need to rotate or resize an image, it is best to do so in the image creation application, instead of the page layout application. By the time you import images into the page layout application, they should be in the position and size that you want them to appear in the final book. If you import an image into your page layout application and believe it should be shrunk more than 10%, you should rescan or recreate it in the correct resolution to maintain image quality. 
The pixel resolution of your image is an important consideration. You should create images with the correct resolution. Traditionally, the pixel resolution should normally be 300dpi when printed at 100%. You should always create or scan images at the chosen resolution, instead of working from a lower resolution image. 
Always supply clean images 
Graphic creation applications can add extraneous objects to an image file. These objects can create faults, which then causes problems in the page layout application, imposition software, RIPs and other print shop applications. So when you create JPG or TIFF images, you should remove unnecessary objects or data attributes from the file. For example, if an image contains multiple layers, flatten the layers before saving the image. Some applications will flatten the images for you. 
There are two types of image compression technologies: lousy and lossless. Conventional LZW compression is lossless, which does not degrade image quality. JPEG compression, on the other hand, is lousy, which removes data from the image in order to compress it. In which case, the changes to the image may or may not be visible to the human eye, so examine the image once printed and, if you see a degradation, use a lossless compression method. JPEG-compressed TIFF images may not be readable in certain desktop applications or digital printers. If you are concerned about the size of an image file, use high resolution 300dpi JPGs images in your page layout application.  
 
When creating images for books, consider how the book will be printed, bound and trimmed 
If you are creating images for a book, some of your design decisions can add difficulty to the printing, binding, and trimming processes. When creating an image that will bleed off all sides of a page, it should be exactly the same size that the book will be after it is trimmed. But don't forget to leave a 3 mm margin on every edge that will be trimmed or milled. Otherwise, the book will end up with a white border on each edge.  
Do not add information marks to the image from the image creation application. These information marks will be added during imposition. If the marks are in the actual image and, for some reason, you need to change the image later in the production process, you will have to recreate the image and run the book through the entire process again.  
Proof the images 
Once you have resized your images and converted them to CMYK, you should verify them. You may need to tune the CMYK separations to get the colour just right. Proofing the images while you are still creating the book may save time later when the book is being printed. For example, if one of your images is not converted to CMYK, we may have to put a hold on your job until you or we fix the image. 
 
Binding method 
When deciding how to bind a book, the most important things to consider are the purpose of the book and your budget. For example, if you are creating a brochure to be distributed at a trade show, you don't want to bind it in a 3-ring binder because it would be difficult to carry around. As a result, people will not see the marketing content you spent months writing and your brochure will be a waste of money. Once you know what your book will be used for, who will be reading it, how it will be used, and how much money you want to spend on it, other smaller factors will determine whether the book is feasible to produce. These smaller factors include page count, paper size, paper thickness, and the selection of binding machines available.  
Page Numbering 
It is recommended that text is supplied already page numbered. Generally page numbers are located at the bottom of the page in the centre of the text. Remember if the number is on the left-hand side, for double sided books the page number should change to the right hand side. 
Usually page 1 is the first page after the inside cover so that odd numbers fall on the right side of the opened book or booklet. All old numbers should fall onto the facing or right-hand pages. 
Text that is supplied without numbers can be number digitally during the book imposing set-up process. However, this has a disadvantage because the font size, style and position of the numbers cannot be viewed until a proof is produced. 
Unnumbered hard copy text should be supplied with pencilled numbers on the back... 
 
Recommended margins for Books 
Margins 
Equal side margins give you a balanced view for both books and booklets. During book production the outside, top and bottom margins are trimmed slightly reducing visibility of the inside margins. 
Books require larger margins than booklets because of the bind method used. 
Recommended margins for Books: 
(under these recommendations gutter and header should be set to 0 ) 
 
A5 books set up on A4 page  
Top margin - 6.4cm 
Bottom margin - 7.1cm 
Left margin - 5.3cm 
Right margin - 5.3cm 
Footer from edge - 6.6cm 
 
A5 books set up on A5 page 
Top margin - 2.0cm 
Bottom margin - 2.7cm 
Left margin - 2.2cm 
Right margin - 2.2cm 
Footer from edge - 2.0cm 

SRA5 books set up on A4 page 
Top margin - 5.3cm 
Bottom margin - 5.8cm 
Left margin - 4.0cm 
Right margin - 4.0cm 
Footer from edge - 5.1cm 

A4 books set up on A4 page 
Top margin - 2.0cm 
Bottom margin - 2.7cm 
Left margin - 2.2cm 
Right margin - 2.2cm 
Footer from edge - 2.2cm 
 
Recommended margins for Booklets: 
A5 booklets set up on A4 page 
Top margin - 5.8cm 
Bottom margin - 6.5cm 
Left margin - 4.7cm 
Right margin - 4.7cm 
Footer from edge - 5.8cm 
 
A5 booklets set up on A5 page 
Top margin - 1.4cm 
Bottom margin - 2.1cm 
Left margin - 1.6cm 
Right margin - 1.6cm 
Footer from edge - 1.4cm 
 
SRA5 booklets set up on A4 page 
Top margin - 5.2cm 
Bottom margin - 5.8cm 
Left margin - 4.3cm 
Right margin - 4.3cm 
Footer from edge - 5.1cm 
 
A4 booklets set up on an A4 page 
Top margin - 1.6cm 
Bottom margin - 2.3cm 
Left margin - 2.0cm 
Right margin - 2.0cm 
Footer from edge - 1.6cm 
 
Remember wire, comb and stapled books may require 5-10mm on the left, on facing page and the right on no facing pages. These margins will give a result that is aesthetically pleasing but slightly different measurements can be used. We recommend that you set margins for the book or booklet size early on in the writing process and that you also print out a full page of text yourself to check that the margins are correct and adjust if necessary. Footer margins are used to place the page number. Centre is the recommended position. 
 
Proof the layout of the book 
Once you have finished designing the layout of your book, you should print one copy and proof the page sequence, margins, image placement, and other design elements. Proofing your book early during the design phase can save time later in the production process and ensure that your book is delivered on time. Once you are satisfied with the book, print a final proof copy straight from the page layout application. Eventually, you will deliver it us along with the book''s source files. 
Let us know 
Regular customers whose jobs are all put into a print queue when they arrive in the shop. Since we are constantly printing all sorts of documents, we have workflow processes set up to ensure maximum efficiency with very little downtime. It is important that you contact us ahead of time with details about your particular job as your job may not be printed by the date you would like. It’s a good idea to give us advanced notice. 
You should also discuss the details of your job to ensure we have the proper supplies, equipment, and manpower to do the job. We also use this information to provide you with an estimate. For example, we may ask how many copies of the book you need, what kind of paper you want the book printed on, and how you would like it bound. We may suggest other ways of producing the book. For example, if you request Case binding and we do not have a Case binding machine, we may suggest Perfect-bound or saddle-stitch binding. In order to gain a basic understanding of the book, we will ask for the dimensions of the book, the number of pages both colour and black and white, and paper stock. This information enables us to give you a more accurate cost estimate. It is important to call us when the book is complete. Otherwise, if you continue to adding pages to the document after the call, the estimate will becomes more and more inaccurate. 
 
 
Saving the Book as an Output File 
Once you have proofed and made the final changes to the book, you are ready to save it as a PDF file. As opposed to saving the book file in your page layout application, saving it in this format helps streamline the workflow. Depending on the book, we may prefer to impose the book straight from the source files and produce our own PDF file. Nevertheless, you should create a PDF file by choosing the Save as File, or by install a PDF Creator which can be download here (PDFCREATOR). Note this download is about 15mb, It may be quicker to collect a copy from our shop. This will allow to create a PDF by printing to a PDF driver.  
Some page layout applications allow you to save a file in PDF format. Creating a PDF in this way does not ensure that all the high-end qualities, such as colour and image information, of a file are included in the final output. So, please remember to supply source files, fonts, and image as well as a PDF if possible. 
Printing the Book 
After you have created a PDF file of your book, you are ready to deliver it to us. Although the details of every book are different, they all follow the same basic production process.  
Files are received  
As a customer, your primary responsibility in the printing process is to deliver the source files to us and be available in case we have questions about your book. You should provide us with a hard copy proof, (That's if we did not produce it for you) containing the source files, fonts, and a PDF file. 
Sending files over the internet is increasing in popularity, although bandwidth and file corruption issues need to be addressed before it can be considered a reliable and common form of delivery. Many times our customers have come to the shop only to find that their email never arrived. So, always phone after emailing any file. 
 
 
Printing the Book  
After you have created a PDF file of your book, you are ready to deliver it to us. Although the details of every book are different, they all follow the same basic production process.  
Files are received  
As a customer, your primary responsibility in the printing process is to deliver the source files to us and be available in case we have questions about your book. You should provide us with a hard copy proof, (That's if we didn't product it for you) containing the source files, fonts, and a PDF file. 
Sending files over the internet is increasing in popularity, although bandwidth and file corruption issues need to be addressed before it can be considered a reliable and common form of delivery. Many times our customers have come to the shop only to find that their email never arrived. So, always phone after emailing any file. 
Pre-flight check 
When we receive your job, we glance at the hard copy proof to get a sense of your book. Then we insert your disk and begin a pre-flight check, checking for all the necessary source files to verify: 
  •  Page count  
  •  Page dimensions  
  •  Colour  
  •  Applications used to create source files  
  •  Fonts used  
  •  Bleeds  
  •  Image quality 
Once we familiar with your book, we may have suggestions that will improve the final output. For example, let's say you selected thick paper and a saddle-stitched binding method, we may recommend a thinner paper to allow the book to fold better in the middle. This is where our paper and printing expertise comes in handy. As we are conducting the pre-flight check, we considering the type of paper you have chosen, the page dimensions of your book, and the binding method you have chosen. Your choice, in combination with our experience, determines how they will impose your book for printing. 
Imposition  
Imposition is the process of arranging pages so that they will be in consecutive order when folded and bound. The way the pages are organized depends on the page dimensions of the final document, the size of the paper it is to be printed on. 
Although we handle the imposition of your book, we will use our imposition experience to determine the most economical way to produce your book. The best imposition is one that will save you money, which means that we must produce your book in the quickest way possible wasting the least amount of paper. So, both of us have a vested interest in using the most efficient imposition method possible. 
We will choose the largest paper size we can print the most copies of your book in a single run. Of course, these choices are affected by the page size of the final book and the way the book will be bound. Also, the paper you choose must have the right thickness and weight to be compatible with the press and binding machine. 
PDF conversion  
We take your PDF and impose the book and use specific drivers to save it as a new PDF format. This is one reason why we need the source files of your book and not just a PDF file. Also, if there is a problem during production, we will be able to fix it ourselves.  
Job queue 
Just like when you send a file from your computer to your printer, the operator sends the PDF file from the computer to the press. Our goal is to keeping the presses running constantly. Otherwise, we make very little profit. Therefore, all the jobs are in the print queue so that they run back-to-back all day everyday as much as possible. When a job is added to the queue, the operator uses the press interface software to configure all the settings to fit each specific document. 
Quality check 
Once the book is sent to the press, the operator prints a single copy and verifies that the book is printing properly. All the pages must print in the correct sequence, there must be no ink splatters on the paper, and the colour should be accurately represented. We may deliver a proof to the customer and make the needed adjustments before continuing with the production process.  
Laminated cover 
Lamination is typically used on Perfect-bound book covers or in certain types of marketing literature. Lamination is available in many different forms. (gloss, matt, both sides or single) 
Binding  
After a book is printed, it may need to be bound before it can be trimmed to its final size. Some presses have finishing devices. As a result, all of the printing, trimming, and binding preferences are set when the job is added to the queue and the operator just monitors the machine's progress. However, a standalone machine to will most likely bind your books.  
The three most common binding methods are perfect bound, saddle-stitch, and comb bound. In Perfect binding, the cover is wrapped around the stack of paper that makes up the inside of the book, and then the whole book is bound together and trimmed. In saddle-stitch binding, the front and back covers are printed on one sheet of paper that is placed on the bottom of the stack of paper that makes up the inside of the book, and then the whole book is stapled and folded down the middle. With comb binding, the front and back covers are placed on the top and bottom of the stack of paper that makes up the inside of the book, and then they are all put into a comb binder. 
Trimming 
Based on the trim marks printed on every page of the book, the trimmer slices through the stack of paper all at once, creating a clean sharp edge. It is the same whether the trimmer is an online device or a standalone guillotine trimmer. In both types of equipment, a pressure plate holds the stack of paper in place while the blade slices down onto the trim mark that was added to the files during imposition.  
Final quality check 
Before the book is packaged, we conducts a spot check of the final book copies. We may product one or two extra copies of every job and use them to replace those copies that get damaged during production. These extra copies are called overs.  
Packaging 
We provide different packaging and delivery services, such as shrink wrapping, mail distribution, labeling, etc. For example, if we print a hundred copies of a brochure that you plan to mail to your best customers, we can put them in envelopes and mail them out for you. We can handle many different methods of delivery. 
 
Proofing the Book 
Depending on the characteristics of a job, we will send you a proof of your book. You should check the page sequence, front-to-back registration, and colour quality of your book. 
In addition to the proof, you will receive a signoff sheet that you can use to record any changes you would like made to the book before the rest of the copies are made. For example, if a page is out of order, you should make a note of it on the form so we can correct it. However, once you sign the form, you have assumed responsibility for any errors that you either do not notice or do not want corrected, so pay careful attention when proofing the book. 
Page sequence 
Since the pages of a book are reorganized during imposition, you should make sure that the pages of the final book will be in the correct order. If a book is folded during imposition, the likelihood of the pages being out of order is greater. Although we conducted a quality check, it is a good idea to check the page sequence yourself. Just for your own peace of mind. 
Front-to-back registration 
When paper moves through a press, the paper is positioned so that it captures the ink in the right place. However, paper size is not always consistent. If one sheet of paper is a different size than the rest of the paper in a job, the content on one side of the unique sheet of paper will not align with the content on the other side. This is called a front-to-back registration issue. If you proof a book and the information on both sides of a page do not align, note the problem and the page number on the signoff sheet so that we can correct it before printing the remaining copies. 
Colour quality 
When proofing the colour quality in a book, your proofing device the screen may not correspond with the same capability of the press that created the proof. For example, if you use your computer to verify the proof, keep in mind that the colour gamut is distinctly different than that of a typical press or the desktop inkjet printer you might use. For best results, you should proof the colour directly off our press. Although remote proofing is possible, it can be challenging when correcting colour. 
 
 
Sign off 
So you''ve proofed the book and you''re ready to tell us to print the remaining copies. Once you give us the nod, we will make the changes you''ve indicated on your proof or signoff sheet and then continue printing the book.  
Protecting the quality of the binding 
After you spend so much time and money producing a book, it should last as long as possible. Although some binding methods are more durable than others, there are additional factors to take into consideration that will prolong the life of a book. Many of these factors only affect Perfect-bound, which require textiles and chemicals to work together in just the right way. You can protect other types of binding by choosing durable paper for the cover and the inside pages. You should store books correctly in a dry location out of the direct sunlight.