4 Reasons Why You Need to Hire a Book Designer.

“You know a design is good when you want to lick it.”~ Steve Jobs


We all love good design. That’s why the iPod and Ikea have been so successful. Design is the difference between something that is OK and something that is memorable. If you hope to have a successful personal history business producing books, you’ll want to include a designer on your team. Here  are four important benefits of good design.

  1. Good design affects people emotionally. You’ll lose clients if your books have great content but look homemade. When prospective clients see your work, they don’t have time to read the content. They’ll be primarily influenced by how attractive the books look. Advances in neuroscience have shown that people tend to act first on emotion, then follow it with reasoning to support their choice. The more people are  emotionally drawn to your work, the more likely they’ll hire you.
  2. Good design conveys credibility. Don Norman, a former Apple design guru, sees the value of producing good design. He says,“We all have the feeling that attractive things work better.” If you produce  first class books, your company projects quality, care, and professionalism.
  3. Good  design supports and enhances the content. It’s true that content is vital. But if you have to struggle to read a book, you’re not likely to enjoy it. We can all recall coping with a poorly designed book with type that’s too small or inappropriate for the subject, no white space for the text to breath, lack of headings to provide guidance, and photos placed without any seeming logic. Remember that in addition to your client, your book will be read by others. Your books are your calling card. They speak in your absence. Will your books speak of quality and great design?
  4. Good design differentiates you from the others. It’s becoming a crowded field in the world of self publishing. What will set you apart from all the others  is  design that is compelling.

Image by Juhan  Sonin

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10 Responses to 4 Reasons Why You Need to Hire a Book Designer.

  1. Pingback: working with a designer-part one – Shoebox Stories

  2. Yes, yes, yes! As you point out, most people couldn’t articulate that the font is too big or there is no underlying grid, but they will react negatively to poor or thoughtless design. Which means, they won’t read the book or give it the credence it warrants.

  3. Dan, I totally agree that the design is what sells – do you have a list of reasonable designers? I’ve been using Memory Press for the past couple of years and finally feel comfortable with the sight. My only problem is that several customers have commented that the books look like high school annuals with their glossy pages and only one font available and of course clients are wanting something like you would find on the shelves of Barnes & Noble.

  4. Agreed! I see so many personal history books laid out by supposed “designers” that are nearly unreadable (many of them done in Word instead of a real design program) with single columns ten inches wide in a landscape book, text that wraps around an image leaving only one inch of text on the side… and most writers don’t know enough about design to know whether it’s done badly or not. Many talented graphic designers, even professional ones who work in the ad industry, don’t know how to lay out a book properly. If you are going to hire a designer, make sure they know how to design books. Look at samples of their work and compare them to the books at Barnes and Noble that you think your clients would like. P.S. I am a book designer and APH member: http://www.picturesandstories.com – Alison Taylor

  5. Being relatively new to APH, I have done all my products to date in MS Word. One of the reasons I am looking forward to the conference in October is to see some of the other ways my work can be improved. Having said that, I’m also concerned about how much cost is added when using a book designer. I love how members are willing to educate other people.

    • @Beth LaMie. Thanks for your comments, Beth. The APH conference will be a wonderful opportunity to soak up all kinds of good stuff! Sorry I won’t be able to make it this year.

  6. Beth: there is nothing wrong with using MS Word as a word processor. The problem comes in when you start to try to add pictures to your text. MS Word (and other wp programs) are designed to be flexible depending on what computer or printer you are using, so the images won’t stay where you put them. In our seminars we counsel DIY-ers who must use Word to handle their photos separately, making photo pages in photo editing software like Photoshop and assembling the pages after printing. Hope to see you at the conference Beth!

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