Interior Design: An Invisible Art, Until It’s Not

photo by Faith LaFazia functions are hygienic: just as you don’t notice when someone has taken a shower, you don’t notice if windows are clean, you don’t notice if a musical instrument is in tune, and you don’t notice if a book’s interior is properly designed.

The opposites are also true.

If you’re a music-lover, a shop-owner, or an elevator-sharer, you’ll notice all right.

And if you’re a bibliophile, a poorly designed book is painful. It, well, stinks.

I just finished reading a book which could have been marvelous. Fascinating stories from inside an industry I appreciate.

The editor was MIA, which didn’t help, but the design nearly made it unreadable.

Every one of the extensive quotes was centered and italicized.

If you would like to make a block of text difficult to read, center it. Or use italics. Either is horrific for large blocks of text. Combined, they will make your eyes (and heart) bleed.

The technical notes, of less interest to me, were dark grey text on a darker grey background. In a much smaller font size. Without strong light and my reading glasses, I couldn’t make out a single word. I certainly couldn’t wade through the full pages of this stuff. Technical details need to be clearer, not obscured. They’re harder to read than prose anyway. If they deserve to be in the book (these did) don’t make them useless.

The index, for some reason, was double-spaced, which leads me to question my assumption that the other tiny fonts were used to save space and create a shorter book.

For all my, erm, “friends” in traditional publishing, here’s the most painful point: this book was NOT self-published. It comes from a publishing company which specializes in the industry under discussion. (Not a famous house; I had to look them up, but still it’s what they do professionally.)

One of my newest obsessions, book design is an art. It does not have to be expensive.

You went to a lot of trouble to get your book written. Don’t allow poor interior design make people hate reading it.

I’m delighted to answer questions you have about interior design. I also strong recommend you follow Dave Bricker’s blog. Brick is decades ahead of me on the curve.

2 thoughts on “Interior Design: An Invisible Art, Until It’s Not

  1. It’s totally mad. I don’t get it at all. Make the extensive (and generally marvelous) quotes stand out, certainly. But centered? Italic? I don’t get it.

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