- what is children's book design?
Beautiful illustrations and a good story are vital. But the way they are seamlessly combined onto printed pages will really turn them into a wonderful children's book. Here is what's typically involved for our designers:
We advise how your illustrations and text might be best presented. Maybe the illustrations span a double-page spread. Maybe each illustration fills a single side with text on the other. Maybe text needs to be woven into the illustrations. Maybe text appears in panels or boxes on top of the illustration. Maybe the illustrations are isolated on the page of text. The options are endless.
We follow your storyboard and instructions to sequence all the text and illustrations correctly. We then arrange the front matter of the book including the title page, copyright and dedication. Pagination and margins are then adjusted to meet the relevant print house guidelines, allowing for binding on the inside edge.
We will select from licensed, professional typesetting fonts. Text is then sized, shaped and typeset as appropriate for the length of the story and your target audience. Finally flourishes and features may be added to further enhance the character of the book and complement its cover.
Additional work is often required on illustrations to present them properly. This might involve extending the edges to create a bleed area, adjusting image size to fill a page properly, improving their quality, editing them to avoid important parts being lost in folds/bleed/trim or adjusting images to create a quieter area for text to be placed. In addition we will often need to adapt colors for CMYK printing by adjusting the balance, resolution, contrast, tones and ink saturation of images.
- how do I prepare illustrations?
One quick way to determine if your illustrations have been produced correctly is to send us an example. We will then review it against the following and let you know if it's ready for use:
If your illustrations are intended to fill a page then take the book size e.g. 8" x 8" and create illustrations just a little larger to allow a few mm of bleed around the edges. If your illustrations are instead to fill a double-page spread they should be twice the width so 8" x 16" plus bleed. If they are isolated floating images then the size is not so important, just ensure they are produced at high quality.
Consider where objects in illustrations are drawn in relation to the pages. For example, don't place a person's face in the centre of a double-page spread where the page bends right through the middle. Equally, don't place a key part of your sketch bottom centre of the page if you intend to have page numbering there.
It is important to consider where the text of your story will appear in relation to the illustrations. For example, if you want the text placed onto the image pages, it won't be legible on a very 'busy' background and your illustration should leave a 'quieter' solid area in each image for text such as sky, sea, grass etc. Other alternatives might be placing text in a box or on an object so do consider where this might be.
Illustrations should ideally be produced as vector line drawings. This means they will look glorious in print as the lines are clean and perfect quality. If you have scanned drawings we may be able to turn these into proper vector illustrations so please ask us for details.
- can I get it done faster?
When it comes to fast turnaround on design without compromising quality, we don't like to blow our own trumpet but we're pretty amazing. So if you're on a real time crunch with a book launch date and it's at all feasible for anyone to get your design work done, then it's probably us. Just a couple of things to keep in mind:
Should you need your files sooner than quoted please ask for our express service. Express jobs are subject to a 30%, 50% or 100% fee depending on the speed required. This is because we will need to prioritize the work over other customers and/or work outside normal business hours.
If you are planning to launch your book on a fixed date it is also important to be aware of the other times involved. Afterall, the publishing, printing, shipping and distributing of books is not instant. Most printers will take at least a week to get a proof to you, a couple of weeks to print and ship a batch of books, maybe a further couple of weeks for a book to settle in stock with distributors. Try to allow as much time as possible to avoid disappointment.
- what if I need changes?
If when designing your book, we get every aspect of the design perfect for you first time, then that's super. But we don't expect that. Receiving your feedback and making adjustments is all part of the design process so changes may be requested at any stage.
We will design an extract of your book and send a sample file for your approval and comments. At this stage you can request an unlimited number of design changes without charge.
Once your whole book has been designed we return a review file. If anything we have done differs from the styling approved in your sample, let us know and we'll fix it without charge. At our discretion we may also include a few edits but all other changes are then charged at a fixed rate: edits marked as pdf comments are $0.96 USD each, edits written out in a list are $0.96 USD each and more extensive changes are $0.96 USD per hour. All changes are subject to a $48 USD minimum fee.
Once you have
completed payment we return your final print-ready file. After this point, changes are
much more expensive. Even the smallest change necessitates a design update plus printer re-submission and is likely to cost at least $96 USD. So take the time to check your review file carefully to avoid this.
- how do I print my file?
We will send you a final print-ready pdf file. If you are using our publishing or print services then you can simply keep this for your records as we will submit this file for printing on your behalf. If you are using another printer then you will need to submit the file for print to them directly.
Prior to payment we will send you a review pdf labelled 'WzWReview-Filename' that will be set to display on your screen in double-page spreads to resemble the appearance of a book with a review watermark across the pages. Once happy, you make final payment and we return your print-ready file.
Your final file will be labelled 'WzW-Filename'. It will display as single pages, without the watermark and may include a bleed area with crop, bleed or trim marks as required by your chosen printer. This is the file you need to submit your printer.
If you are using Amazon KDP or Ingram
Spark for printing then you will do the file upload in your own account. We cannot do this for you but we do have a few tips to keep in mind. Be sure to upload
the correct file for printing, that means the 'final' file we sent you and not an earlier review file. Next be careful to select choices for color, paper,
binding and trim size exactly as agreed in your quotation as your file was prepared to this exact specification. If images in your book go to the edge of the pages then
for KDP you must also select the option that the file includes bleed. Should your file show any errors in the previewer, do just check the above items
have all been entered correctly before you contact us with details and include a screenshot of the issue.
Once your files have been uploaded, you must get a printed proof before placing any batch orders. Books look different in print from the way
they appear on screen so this is your opportunity to flick through the pages and appreciate the final product before committing it to distribution or to a large print run.
- what about my cover?
Every book needs a cover.
So in addition to your book interior file, your printer will require a separate file of the front, back and spine of your cover. The cover sets your first impression and it needs to look really good. Often for a children's book the cover is designed around one of the key illustrations from the interior. If this is the case please tell us as it will often reduce the price.
our cover service
If you do not have a cover yet, please see the details of our cover design service.
When designing a book and cover we think it's really important that the two look like they are meant to go together. We have always found the best way to achieve this is to design the cover first. This way decisions have made for typography, layout, colors and imagery that we can go on to reflect in the interior.
If you have already had your front cover designed, please share this with us. Once your interior is complete, the final page count will be known and you can then set your full cover layout with the correct spine width measurement. Please see our cover template layout
service if you need any help with this.
- is an ebook included?
This is a book design service to produce a pdf file ready for printing. An ebook is entirely different and something we would recommend, but it is not included with this service.
children's book layout
The way in which text and illustrations are combined are absolutely key for a children's picture book. A typical reflowable ebook is therefore likely to look very disappointing, it will simply be the story text placed with images underneath and will lose many of the key aspects of your book design. Any special fonts, curves, wrapped text, text layered over images... none of that will be possible.
fixed layout ebook
The answer for turning your children's book into an ebook is therefore to turn it into a format called fixed-layout. This format is superb when it is vital to fix the page layout. It in effect allows your book to be turned into a set of images so they can be presented on the screen identically to those in your print book. Please see our fixed layout ebook page for further details.
- what this on my pdf?
When you receive a book file from us there may sometimes be settings, features or marks you don't recognise. Whether or not your file shows these just depends on what your printer guidelines specify.
This is a summary of things you might see:
If you notice that your final book pages are fractionally larger than the trim size of your book, then your book has bleed. Bleed is the printing of images or colors that go beyond the edge of where the sheet will be trimmed. It gives the printer a small amount of space to account for movement of the paper, and design inconsistencies.
Some printers specify that certain little black markings are required on a file. These help them to align and calibrate pages on their machines for manufacture. Markings include bleed marks, crop marks, trim marks and registration marks. These may appear as little lines, cross hairs or color bars. They will be trimmed off as part of the book making process and will not appear on your printed pages.
When reviewing your PDF file you may notice some very feint white lines. These 'hairlines' are the result of the transparency flatteners used to create PDFs, and sometimes appear around the edges of text and images boxes. The line will not print when your book is produced and are only visible on your computer screen at certain zoom settings.
If your book has a background on any of the pages you may notice a think white strip on the binding edge of your file. This is required by the printer because binding glue does not adhere to paper when the latter is covered in ink.
This is the first recto (right-hand) page you’ll see when you open your book. It simply displays the name of the book, with no byline and no subtitle. Half title
pages have been included in books for centuries and they have the advantage of being the first page attached to the cover as it opens, rather than that being the title page.
Your file may include blank pages. Empty left-handed pages are often used to force key content like a new chapter, to start on a right-handed page. POD books must also have an entirely blank final page where the printer will include their barcode and details.
- can I have source files?
We are happy to share source files with customers upon request. For a $48 USD admin fee one of our designers will prepare, package and upload your files
so you can save these on file should you wish to make changes in the future. However, unless you have plenty of experience, we would strongly
recommend you do not attempt to edit these files yourself for a number of reasons:
Our team is extremely experienced with a wide range of design software packages and will select the best software for each job. In the main, book interiors are created in Adobe InDesign with any graphics work done in Photoshop or Illustrator. In order to open and edit your files you would need to have purchased all the latest software and be familiar with using it.
In order for your source file to appear correctly, you must also have the right fonts installed. The license for a professional typesetting font means we can only embed it into your final-form PDF, we cannot include the font in your source files. We are happy to provide details on how to purchase these licenses for yourself but please keep in mind that a full professional font family can be expensive.
If your PDF includes licensed imagery from our stock libraries, we cannot include these with your source files. Under the terms of the license, we have access to use a huge number of images but they may only be embedded into final-form material. The original image files themselves cannot be sent as this is considered re-sale.
After any updates, your final files will need to be exported to PDF using Acrobat Professional. This means applying all the correct pdf distiller profile for things like colorspace, transparency and font embedding as well as including any required print marks for bleed, crop marks and spreads set as required. If any of these are set incorrectly then the printer is likely to reject your files.
In some cases, customers just want the text from their final-form PDF for editing to create a new edition or for translation into other languages. In this case we can export the text from your InDesign file into a cleanly formatted MS Word for future use. Please ask us for further details.
- what are your terms?
We do not have a written contract for you to sign. Instead we ask that you have read this know what you're buying section and accept our general terms and conditions which we have tried to make short and readable.