book designer


Book designer David Moratto, interior book design structure

Book design structure terms and definitions



book design glossary


The following will help you understand the three main structures that an interior book design is comprised of and terminologies that a book designer and a printer might use.





  1. Front Matter (components that may appear at the begining
    of a book before the first chapter)
  2. Body Matter (components that may appear in the work of a book)
  3. Back Matter (components that may appear at the end of the book after a work)





The following are terms that a book designer and a printer might use:

  1. Book Construction Glossary (The construction of a book may have...)
  2. Font Composition Glossary (fonts, words and paragraphs)
  3. Book Designer Glossary (terms a book designer might use)
  4. Printers Glossary (terms a printer might use)





Components that may appear in the first section of the book. Pages in the front matter are numbered in lowercase roman numerals.





Sometimes called bastard title or fly title. The first page and/or before chapter 1, a page with only the title of the book, usually preceding or before the title page.



An illustration at the front of a book, usually opposite the title page or elsewhere in the front of the book, sometimes separated by a vellum sheet.

Title Page


As a minimum the title page would normally have the title of the book and the name of the author and illustrator. Other information may depend on the type of publication. Technical or software manuals may include more information on the specific products covered, safety notices, and warranties.


May include editors, and contributors, the publisher or printer, and sometimes the place and date of publication. This information may be used by librarians for cataloguing.



Typically left of title page: shows copyright owner/date and ISBN (International Standard Book Number). Often also contains the publisher’s name and contact information, credits, a liability disclaimer, a statement regarding trademarks, cataloguing information, and information regarding the number of printings. The printings information is often a code in the form: 9 8 7 6 5 4, where the last number is the current printing. Each time the book is printed, the book manufacturer simply cleans a number off the printing plate.


Publisher Name and Address, Copyright information, ISBN, Library of Congress number, Edition Notice, Date of publication, Number of printings, Disclaimers, Warranties, Safety Notices.



A separate page near the front of a book that briefly names one or more persons of special significance to the author, often a loved one or someone else the author holds in high esteem, organization or cause.

Table of Contents


A table of contents may be as simple as listing all the main chapter titles and the page they start on or be multi-level with sub-chapters and descriptions.

List of Figures / Illustrations


Some books have a separate table of contents for the illustrations, photos, charts, and graphs that might give the name or source of the illustration (if there are multiple contributors / sources), a title or description of the illustration, and the page number.



A simple quote or phrase that is significant to your book, you may want to consider adding it to the front matter of your manuscript as an epigraph. No page number displayed.


Some real person other than the author of the book

Often written by an acknowledged expert in the field or genre covered by the book or some real person other than the author of the book, the foreword is something of a testimonial for the author or the book itself. Often, a foreword will tell of some interaction between the writer of the foreword and the story or the writer of the story. A foreword to later editions of a work often explains in what respects that edition differs from previous ones.



A preface generally covers the story of how the book came into being, or how the idea for the book was developed; this is often followed by thanks and acknowledgments to people who were helpful to the author during the time of writing.


Briefly describing the contents, purpose of the book, and explaining who the book targets. For example, a software manual may be aimed at beginners or power users. The preface might describe the terminology or special conventions used in the book, such as symbols used for warnings, tips, and trivia.



Usually a part of the book's front matter. This can be a separate page or a paragraph on the copyright page or preface page where you thank the individuals or organizations who helped with your book. Expressions of appreciation for assistance, encouragement, etc.



A beginning section which states the purpose and goals of the following writing or a preliminary part of a book giving the reader the necessary background information.



A character in the book


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The structure of a work (especially of its body matter) is hierarchically organized. Found between the 'front matter' and 'back matter'.





A volume is a set of leaves that are bound together. Thus each work is either a volume, or is divided into volumes.

Books & Parts


(Single-volume works account for most of the non-academic consumer market in books) A single volume may embody either a part or a book; in some works, parts include multiple books, and in some others books include multiple parts.

Chapters & Sections


A chapter or section may be contained within a part and/or a book; when both chapters and sections are used in the same work, the sections are more often contained within chapters than the reverse.


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Components that may appears after the 'body matter', the last section of the book.





An epilogue is a piece of writing at the end of a work of literature or drama, usually used to bring closure to the work.



More commonly used in music, an extro or outro is the conclusion to a piece of work and is considered the opposite of the intro.



An afterword (literature) is frequently a piece of writing describing a time well after the time frame of the main story. Your parting remarks to the reader.



A summary, synopsis, or recap is a shorter version of the original. Such a simplification highlights the major points from the much longer subject, such as a text, speech, film, or event. The purpose is to help the audience get the gist in a short period of time.



A postscript may be a sentence, a paragraph, or occasionally many paragraphs added, often hastily and incidentally, after the main body of a book.

Appendix /Addendum


An appendix or addendum is a supplemental addition to a given main work. It may correct errors, explain inconsistencies or otherwise detail or update the information found in the main work.


Material that doesn't fit within the body of the book is often included in an appendix. In a software manual, a table of shortcuts might appear in an appendix. A craft book might have an appendix listing names, addresses, and other contact information for craft supplies and other resources mentioned in the book. A technical manual that must include lengthy warranty information might put it in an appendix instead of in the title page.



The glossary lists acronyms, words, and phrases relevant to the subject of the book along with a brief definition. They are normally alphabetized. The entries may consist of places and characters, which is common for longer works of fiction.



Citations of source material, comments, or explanations for specific statements or passages in the text; usually employed in academic or scholarly works.



Most common in non-fiction books or research papers, the bibliography cites others used in the body, resources related to the subject of the book. The bibliography may list other books, magazines or specific articles, and Web sites.



Arranged alphabetically and by subject with page numbers, the index breaks the book down into all the many sub-topics and ideas covered in the body of the book. Complex indexing is often accomplished with third-party software and the services of a professional indexer.



The errata is a list of corrections that describes the error, where it occurs, and what the correct text or illustration should be. Generally added as a separate slip of paper somewhere in the front matter, it might be bound into the book.



Sometimes found in the front matter and most often found in older books, the colophon is a list or description of typefaces, type of paper, technical information about photographs, printing method, and possibly software used to produce the book. May include a printer's mark or logotype.

About The Author

Some real person other than the author of the book

A brief history about the author usually with a photograph of the author.

Reader-Response Form


Could be an actual page bound into the book or it may be a separate page or postcard slipped into the book that asks the reader to respond with comments or questions about the book.



Fiction books especially may have pages that look like ads describing other books by the same author or the same publisher, sometimes with ordering information. Excerpts or the first chapter from the author's next book or the next book in a series may appear at the end of the book.

Order Form
A form for readers to mail and purchase other works.


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A book's materials that may have...



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Fonts, words and paragraphs



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Terms a book designer might use



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Terms a printer might use



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The construction of a book may have...

Alkaline Paper

Paper make with a synthetic alkaline size and an alkaline filler like calcium carbonate which gives the paper over four times the life (200 years) of acid-sized (40 - 50 years) papers.


Back Flap

Hardcover books that have a separate paper cover with flaps, this is the one that tucks in front of the back cover. It can contain text continued from the front flap, a photo, bio or other text.


Blind Embossing

A design pressed on paper without ink or foil. The embossing so done is called blind as there is no ink or foil used in forming the design.


Book Paper

A general term for coated and uncoated papers.



In paper, the reflectance or brilliance of the paper.


C1S (Coated One Side)

Paper that has a coating or finish on only one side. This paper is often used for book covers.



The thickness of paper, usually expressed in thousandths of an inch (mils).


Case or Case-Bound (in bookbinding term)

The covers of a hardbound book.


Cast Coated

Coated paper dried under pressure against a polished cylinder to produce a high-gloss enamel finishing.


Coated Paper

Paper having a surface coating which produces a smooth finish. Surfaces include matte dull, & gloss.



Image pressed into a material’s surface, sitting below the product surface.



The process of raising (or impressing) letters or designs on strong paper.



The decorative or colourful paper used to bind a book's front and back pages to it's cover, traditionally in hardcover books.



In papermaking, the direction in which most fibers lie which corresponds with the direction the paper is made on a paper machine. The proper way in book binding is placement of paper oriented parallel to the spine of a book to avoid that curling affect.



A printed piece prepared for insertion into another printed piece.


Jacket or (Dust Jacket)

The paper wrap on a hardcover book printed as the book. This can be hardcover or paperback.


Laid Paper

Paper with a pattern of parallel lines at equal distances, giving a ribbed effect.



Used sometime in hardcover book production - a plastic film is bonded by heat and pressure to the book cover for protection and/or appearance.


Landscape Book Design

A book bound on the shorter dimension.


Matte Finish

Dull paper finish without gloss or luster.



The property of paper that minimizes or prevents the passage of light through the sheet. A term often used in reference to the amount of "show-through" – when printed areas on the reverse or adjoining page can be observed. Less show-through will occur on papers with high opacity.


Overhang Cover

A cover larger in size than the pages it encloses.


Portrait Book Design

A book bound on the longer dimension.


Saddle Stitch

In binding, to fasten a booklet by wiring it through the middle fold of the sheets.



To impress or indent a mark with a string or rule in the paper to make folding easier.


Self Cover

A cover of the same paper as inside text pages.



The binding that joins the front and rear covers where the pages hinge.


Spot Varnish

When only a small piece, or "spot", of your printed project is to receive a varnish.


Stock (Paper or Material)

Refers to the paper or material that is to be printed on.



A symbol or trademark that has been manufactured into paper and is only visible when held up to the light. Note: You can add a custom watermark that is virtually indistinguishable from a traditional mill mark - that few could afford, through a good printer and unlike a mill mark it can be placed anywhere on the sheet allowing you to incorporate the watermark into your overall design.


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Fonts, words and paragraphs



The text or contents, the pages often collected or folded into signatures; the pages are usually numbered sequentially, and often divided into chapters.

Case (in page layout term)

Upper case letters are capital letters. Which means lower case letters are small letters. The names come from the time when type was cast in metal, and all the characters for a typeface were kept in drawers in the printer’s workshop. The upper case letter were kept in the top drawer, the lower case letters in the drawer below that.



Any furnished material (typewritten manuscript, pictures, artwork etc.) to be used in the production of printing.


Flap Copy

The text you would like to appear on the front or back flaps of your dust jacket if you are printing a hardcover book.


Flush Left (or Right)

In composition, type set to line up at the left (or right).


Flush Paragraph

A paragraph with no indention.



The page number.



In composition, a complete assortment of letters, numbers, punctuation marks, etc. of a given size and design.


H&J (Hyphenation and Justification)

Today's page layout programs allow the designer to adjust hyphenation and justification parameters on your pages. Hyphenation can be set for minimum number of letters on a line while justification can be set to left align, right align, center, and justified.


Hanging Indent

When the first line of a paragraph juts out further left than the rest of the text.



In the late 1400’s an Italian typesetter called Aldus Manutius developed a typeface from the relaxed, slanted style popularly used by Italian scribes — called cancellaresca. Known in Italy as “Aldino”, the style is known to the rest of the world as “italic” since it comes from Italy. In modern use, you’ll probably find it to be the best way to highlight text which is set in a serif face



Text in which both the left and right sides align uniformly to the correct length.



To adjust the spacing between individual letters so that they look visually proportioned.



The space between lines of type that’s measured from one baseline to the next.


Orphan (or Widow)

When the end of a paragraph or beginning of a column of text is short due to a single short word or end of a hyphenated word.



A typographic unit of measure used by designers when working with your interior pages and cover typography. One pica equals approximately 1/6 of an inch.


Ragged Right; Ragged Left

Describes typeset copy in which word spacing is even and the lines of type align vertically along one margin but do not align along the other margin, so that one margin has a smooth edge and the other, an irregular, or ragged, edge.


Reverse Type

When you print white on black, instead of black on white.



The term describing type set to fit around a picture or other element of the design.


Sans Serif

A typeface without serifs, or the little decorative strokes at the end of the main strokes. Times is an example of a serif typeface.



From the old Dutch word schreef meaning “fine line”, serifs are the little horizontal and vertical lines at the ends of letters in some typefaces, such as Times, Garamond, Minion, Perpetua.



The body matter of a page or book, as distinguished from the headings.



Typing copy into a program and applying all the formats needed to layout the job correctly, ie, applying the correct fonts, size, line space, width, etc.


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Terms a book designer might use



Originals or reproductions in single colour, as distinguished from multicolour.


Colour Correction

The adjustment of colour in an image to match original artwork or a photograph. colour correction is usually done in CMYK colour mode in preparation for process printing.



A digital version of your finished book, that can be downloaded, for free or for a fee, to computers, cellphones, and PDAs.



The size, style, type page, margins, printing requirements etc., of a printed piece.


FPO (For Position Only)

A low resolution image positioned in a document to be replaced later with a higher resolution version of the same image.



Any visual matter such as an illustration, photograph, symbol,… included on a page or within a document.


Head Margin

The space above your main text on the printed page.



In colour, the main attribute or a colour which distinguishes it from other colours.



The placement of elements, such as text and graphics on a page.



A small decorative device such as an initial, capital letter or a dingbat (a bullet, star, flower,.. used by designers to decorate a page) or a customized small design graphic used for dividing chapters or in-between paragraphs, also for decorating a page.



When you deliberately set one color to print onto another. This is generally done with 100% black ink, which does not show through other colors.


Page Layout

When the book designer assembles all the elements on your pages such as text and graphics.



The right-hand page of the book.


Registration Marks

Crosses or other marks placed on artwork which ensure perfect alignment ('registration').



Determining the proper size of an image to be reduced or enlarged to fit an area.



The extra white space a designer puts at the top of a chapter opener to distinguish it from the rest of the pages.



The two pages of a book, when opened - that pace each other.


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Terms a printer might use



A printed image that extends beyond one or more of the finished page margins that is later trimmed off.


CMYK Colour Space

The four process colours used in full colour offset printing. Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black inks are used to create a wide gamut of other colours.



Cutting images in or out of paper.


Digital Printing

Printing by plateless imaging systems that are imaged by digital data from prepress systems.



When a project is printed by skipping the film step and going directly from digital files to printing plates and press.



When a project is printed by skipping the film and printing plate step and going directly from digital files to the press.


Dots Per Inch (dpi)

A measure of the resolution of a screen image or printed page.


Four-Colour Printing

The process of using cyan, magenta, yellow, and black ink to produce book covers and/or pages in full colour.


Hard Copy

A printed copy of your digital files.



Everything that must be done to make a file ready to be sent to a press.



In printing, copies printed in excess of the specified quantity.



In printing inks, the fine solid particles used to give colour, transparency or opacity.



Pantone Matching System. The standard colour system used for printing your book in any process other than full-colour, such as 2-colour.


Press Date

The scheduled date for the book to go to press.


Print (or Press) Run

The total number of books you are producing.


Printer’s Error (PE)

Mistakes made by the printer that are not charged to the client.


Process Colours

In printing, the subtractive primaries, yellow, magenta and cyan, plus black (CMYK) in four-colour process printing.


Proof or (Page Proof)

A general term for a variety of options for seeing what your file will look like when printed is a proof.


  • Prepress Proof, also known as (Dry Proof, Off-Press Proof, Digital Proof)
    An analog or digital proof that uses inkjet, toner, dyes, overlays, photographic, film, or other techniques to give a close approximation of what the finished piece will look like. A colour proof produced from digital data without the need for separation films.


  • Press Proof, also known as (Strike Off, Trial Proof, Press Check, Press Okay)
    A proof from the printing press, plates, and actual inks specified for the job. A press proof is used to verify images, tone values, colors, and imposition. By the time you get to a press check, typos should be fixed, and layout, font, and image choices finalized. The press proof is to confirm paper and ink colors and their interaction. Check for registration, page to page color printing/color consistency and the overall appearance of the type and the absence of stray marks or hickeys. It's your last chance to get it right and can add additional cost to the job.


Trim Size

The final size of your book page(s) after it has been trimmed.




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