The design team at Oxford University Press might argue with the assertion that you can’t judge a book by its cover. A book’s cover can help tell a story, providing clues as to what lies within, drawing the reader’s eye and shaping their experience.
However, there is more to book design than producing an attractive and effective cover. The layout and design within can also make a significant impact on the reader, enhancing the content and reflecting its quality and identity.
In the lead up to the announcement of the 2017 Australian Book Designer Association (ABDA) awards on Friday, the team has provided their thoughts on why design, both internally and externally, is so important.
- “Book covers convey ideas, give an independent identity and represent a book’s worth before the reader has had the opportunity to read the content page.”
- “The design supports the content, subtly emphasising things like meaning, tone and feel, and providing visual cues for the reader.”
- “Subconsciously, design confirms the narrative and underlying themes of content by applying a context. Content is positioned and framed in such was that it signifies and suggests ideas.”
- “Excellent design enables content to be read, ordered, navigated and extracted with ease. Through colour, hierarchy, composition and considered font choices, readers are guided in such a way they can focus on retaining knowledge without the frustration of becoming lost during the journey.”
- “The internal design of the book needs to be structured in a logical manner with clear, inconspicuous typography. This is especially important for educational books, with their hierarchy of information. The book not only needs to convey its contents to the students, but it needs to keep them engaged as well.”
- “Book design matters more than you might think – the design supports the content, subtly emphasises things like meaning, tone and feel, can provide visual cues for the reader and something beautiful, textural and tangible to keep and covet.”
Three OUP books have been shortlisted for the ABDA awards: the Australian National Dictionary, Children, Families and Communities and Media and Society.