22 things a designer can do for your book design

This much I know from my experience. Do free feel to ask any questions.

  1. Research the market with the author or publisher or for them It’s always been my job to keep an eye on the competition and to know who they are so my designs are better, stronger and future proof. 
  2. Know the difference between the file types required for an ebook and a print PDF (and how to set up the spines, crops and why litho print is different to print on demand). And 'preflight' the file too (preflight means check for errors that will stop it being delivered for print or on any store).
  3. Use a well-designed typeface and know that not all fonts are created equal, if it's free there's usually a reason for it unless it's on offer.
  4. Supply the file types required and on the appropriate platform to the right dpi.
  5. Can provide illustration work or know how to commission it.
  6. Provide and work with image libraries and photographers and clear the necessary rights if required.
  7. Keep the author or publisher ideas in check so the cover isn’t too busy or telling the entire story in one tiny image on Amazon and ask questions about an unclear brief before starting work.
  8. Keep it legible - the author or publisher wants readers to see the cover at all sizes.
  9. Make sure every part of the file is technically okay – delays at post production stage cost money and time, especially in print if the press is idle or the files miss their print slot or the printer has to correct them.
  10. Know future trends and how to use them. Not all designers are typographic designers and this is an art form in itself (it’s why type is licenced, someone designed every single character and applied the Unicode to allow you to use it).
  11. Use their software well. They will know when it’s right to use Indesign, Illustrator and Photoshop (Word isn’t a design programme for covers).
  12. Supply correctly set-up ISBN barcodes.
  13. Know why interior page design is an invisible support.
  14. Know why interior page design supports the way-finding of a book.
  15. Consider the marketing use when creating the design and supply marketing files.
  16. Make sure that the author or publisher's book is unique and not a design copy or template generated piece and relevant to your text - unique, just like the words.
  17. Deal with the author or publisher worries and concerns and also check with them about any queries they have or communicate with the editor.
  18. Ideally have a good portfolio or qualifications/experience in publishing.
  19. Provide the author or publisher with a finished file with all corrections made and maybe help to load to the suppliers site.
  20. Set up the spines and design as part of the book, not an add on.
  21. Treat authors as a professional authors at all times, because they are a professional designer.
  22. Give the author or publisher an invoice. All of these areas are gained through skills, experience, training and expertise.