Chapter 6Books and Book Jackets

The publishing industry remains a major employer of graphic designers. Publishers use design to package and sell their merchandise, and while it may seem crass to discuss books as products, this is exactly how they are conceived and marketed. It is the book designer's job to cast the text and images in an accessible and pleasing manner; it is the book jacket designer's job to create an alluring wrapper. Book and book jacket designers have more creative license than most food and hardware package designers, but the goal is the same: to move a product off the shelves. As shelves become less important, there will be a change in the way book jackets and covers are designed, but the industry is not yet sure what that will be.

The book design profession is divided into two basic categories—book interior and book jacket— that have a number of subsets. The book designer is responsible for the interior design for books with text or with few or no pictures, such as novels and certain nonfiction. The jacket designer is responsible for the hardcover dust jacket, paperback cover, or paper-over-boards wrapper. Good typography skill is an essential skill for both.

It is useful to explain the genres of publishing, for each requires a different kind of design. Industry sectors are conventionally categorized as follows: trade or commercial, which produces fiction and nonfiction books aimed at a general audience; professional, which caters its products to the needs ...

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