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Book Design Basics: Styling Novel Interiors

Neil Swaab, Freelance Art Director, Illustrator, Author

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13 Videos (1h 21m)
    • Trailer

      1:04
    • Introduction

      2:17
    • How Book Design Happens at Publishers

      2:13
    • Vocabulary: Parts of the Book

      4:07
    • Set Up Your Document + Import Text

      10:00
    • Getting Stylish: Working with InDesign Styles

      10:41
    • Typography Basics

      9:51
    • Master Pages, Folios, Running Heads, Sections, Baseline Grids

      10:21
    • Wow Factor: Making Your Design Come to Life

      9:45
    • Front and Back Matter Matters

      5:25
    • Flowing Out the Rest of the Book

      8:37
    • Table of Contents

      2:56
    • Output and Delivery

      3:34

About This Class

Book covers create first impressions, but the interiors are where you spend the most time. 

In this class, designer and illustrator Neil Swaab walks you through the process of designing the interior of a standard novel, from practical page navigation to executing conceptual elements like mood, tone, and style.

Using InDesign, you’ll transform a basic Word document manuscript into a fully formatted and distinctively designed print-ready PDF or ePub file, ready for publishing to any of today’s devices.

Neil draws on his experience designing with every major publisher to demystify the book design process and clearly communicate what matters at each stage.

The beauty of the book lies in your skilled eye.

What You’ll Learn

In five progressively paced units, you’ll elevate your InDesign skills by developing a full novel interior ready for print or ePub production.

  • Introduction. Learn context for how design happens at publishers as well as fundamental book-design vocabulary.
  • First Steps. Learn key settings and style conventions as well as the type considerations specific to longform.
  • Sample Pages. Go behind-the-scenes on every major element (master pages, folios, running heads, sections, baseline grids, and more) and add the "wow factor" to enliven your design.
  • Front Matter, Back Matter, and the Full Book. Discover how to fine-tune details that create a professional final product.
  • Export and Final Thoughts. Learn how to deliver files for a print-ready book and how to generate an ePub file for e-readers.


What You’ll Do

Deliverable. Using a manuscript in the public domain (or one you already have), you'll create a full novel interior ready for print or ePub production.

Description. What text will you wish to design? What styles fit the tone, mood, and effect of the manuscript? What front and back sections make sense for your project? How will you add design embellishment to enhance the reading experience? What details can lead your spot-check to ensure a clean, polished final product? Will you choose a final export for print, digital, or both?

Specs. By the end of the class, you’ll have a printable PDF or an ePub file that can be submitted to places like Amazon.

122 of 122 students recommendSee All

This class was exactly what I needed! I'd figured out most of the basics on my own, but could not for the life of me get italics to stay when I placed my manuscript into InDesign. I spent hours researching a solution with no success. Then I started this class. Within minutes, my questions were answered and I learned a lot of extra things that helped me both enhance my design as well as streamline the design process. Thank you so much for sharing your expertise!
Rebecca Loomis

Compulsive creative with too many hobbies

An excellent introduction with lots of useful tips. Thank you.
Thank you, Neil, for this class, well explained, great instructions! I have a question: when having an "orphan" (one word) at the end of a paragraph and tracking doesn't solve the issue (-15 or +15), what do you do? The second one: how to make the dots between title and page number in content? I can't find this style. Thank you!
Anja B

Find your inner artist

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Neil Swaab

Freelance Art Director, Illustrator, Author

Neil Swaab is a freelance illustrator, art director, cartoonist, and writer based in Brooklyn, NY. His work has been recognized by such organizations as The Society of Illustrators, Print Magazine, Communication Arts, The Type Directors Club, and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He is also an adjunct professor at Parsons the New School for Design, where he teaches in the Illustration Department.

His publishing clients include Algonquin Books; HarperCollins; Houghton Mif...

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