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marlene
11-11-2008, 11:53 PM
I'm doing a book layout for a client who's given me a template designed by someone else.

Page size is 8.5" x 11", the body text is 10.5/13 Slimbach, and it's a one-column format -- 41 picas wide.

I'm trying to convince the client that it's too wide, and the pages should be done in a two-column format. It'll be more work for me, but I want a good result (even though I didn't design the thing).

I'll send the client some sample pages done both ways (one and two-column formats), but I'm not sure that'll be enough to convince them. Their last book used the 41-pica line width, and nobody saw anything wrong with that.

Should I try to convince them to use two columns if they want to stick with one column even after seeing sample pages?

mxh

LoisWakeman
11-12-2008, 04:44 AM
I thought the rule of thumb was 1.5 - 2 alphabets? I haven't got the time to work out how many from your spec - sorry!

Bo Aakerstrom
11-12-2008, 05:12 AM
Should I try to convince them to use two columns if they want to stick with one column even after seeing sample pages?

All you can do is to try to educate them, their decision is what counts. Saying that, I would feel the same way about doing a good job as you!

Who is going to read the book? That should be a factor to be taken into account as well.

George
11-12-2008, 06:51 AM
Their last book used the 41-pica line width, and nobody saw anything wrong with that.


First, you have to find out why they like this format. You can only suggest a change if you deal with this reasoning.

I read a lot of books, put out by top publishers, and very few follow the formatting that is upheld as what is best in this forum. I think that is mainly because the cost of production is being held down, but there could be other reasons as well. I think it is good to try to find out why publishers choose to deviate from common norms. The reasons may be surprising, and they should always be respected. No one viewpoint is always right.

I was surprised once to see a thread in the forum criticizing heavily books by West Publishing Company. Perhaps, by the best informed publishing professionals, West's layouts are atrocious, but I have always loved their books and handling them, even from a very young age. I would be most disappointed if they changed the formatting. Perhaps, it has something to do with tradition... but whatever, I'm certain they have their reasons, as it is a company well financed.

George

ktinkel
11-12-2008, 09:40 AM
One rule of thumb for good readability: 10 to 12 words per line (60 to 72 characters and spaces). That is pretty narrow for a book, however — consider 14 to 15 words. Even in this day of economy first, I should think you would definitely want to keep it under 20. Maybe a 34-pica measure, with a bit of extra leading to compensate for the long lines. Or go up to 11 on 14?

Or use your two columns. But then you’re still stuck with scant margins (10 picas total) — I suppose 4 picas inside 6 out? Do they also want small top and bottom margins? If so, that is kind of ugly, with no decent visual frame for the text; and unwieldy at such a large size, with insufficient room for thumbs and fingers.

Is this part of a series? Or a workbook of some sort? Or is there some other reason for using what is a nonstandard format for books? If there is, maybe the best you can ask for is more useful margins, a bit larger type, more leading.

curveto
11-12-2008, 09:40 PM
Personally, I find stuff hard to read when it runs off screen or off the edge of the paper. ;)

marlene
11-12-2008, 10:39 PM
I was overruled. The book will be one wide column. It's an association publication and will be read (possibility with difficulty) by business owners.

If they do find it hard to read, they probably won't know why.

mxh

marlene
11-12-2008, 10:40 PM
They don't seem to like or dislike the one-column format. They just don't see anything wrong with it.

And they are sticking with it. :(

mxh

marlene
11-12-2008, 10:50 PM
They want to stick with the one-column format. The book is part of a series. In the olden days, the books were done in Word by the authors (I designed a basic cover -- we just changed the title for each book) and were 8.5 x 11.

Then a decision was made to make the books look better, and I was doing the layouts -- the books became 6 x 9 (or thereabouts). They picked that size, and I don't know what their rationale was. But the pages were narrow enough that the 1-column format looked fine.

Then they decided to hire someone else to do the books, and the size went back up to 8.5 x 11. I don't know if they told the other designer to use one column or if the designer made the decision. But now I have to conform to it. (And all of the other specs, since they were used in the last couple of books in the series.)

FWIW, margins are 4p inside, 6p out, 4p3 top, 6p1 bottom.

mxh

marlene
11-12-2008, 10:51 PM
I hate when that happens!

mxh

George
11-13-2008, 04:29 AM
They don't seem to like or dislike the one-column format. They just don't see anything wrong with it.


Now, you have to play psychologist. I'd say either they have a reason they like it, but they're not ready to say so, or they are waiting on how they think about you. But it even could be something like the original designer was someone's favorite niece. Usually, though, I find that in these situations the client just really doesn't want to admit that you are the expert. So you're in a situation that requires time and patience, if you have it.

George