15th EditionAppendix A: Design and Production—Basic Procedures and Key Terms

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Text Design

With the manuscript and the information from the castoff in hand, and knowing the desired length of the publication, the designer can make some key decisions about the design of the text. Which typefaces and sizes of type to use for running text, notes, and other parts of the document is perhaps the most important. A number of considerations affect this decision: Is the text peppered with foreign words requiring a variety of diacritical marks available only in certain typefaces? Is the text highly technical, containing mathematics or other material requiring special symbols that are likewise available in a limited number of typefaces? Are there several levels of subheadings that might call for a second, complementary typeface to help readers navigate the text? What kind of display type is appropriate to the subject matter? Experienced designers know how to evaluate the typographical requirements of a particular project and to make choices that will transform the manuscript into a visually appealing publication.

Other key decisions for the designer concern the dimensions of the printed publication. One such dimension is the size of the type page, which is the area occupied by the running head, the text proper (the text page or text area), the footnotes (if any), and the page number (or folio). The dimensions of the type page are measured in picas, with one pica equaling approximately one-sixth of an inch. In addition to the width and length of the type page, the designer typically specifies the number of text lines on a full text page and on any special types of pages, such as a chapter opening. A final variable is the publications trim size, which is measured in inches (stated as width by depth; for example, 6" × 9") and refers to the size of the whole page on which type and illustrations are printed (see fig. A.7). A large trim size may allow more characters to be fitted on a page or may be appropriate to a work containing many illustrations. In general, however, the choice of a trim size is usually made before a project reaches the designer and is based on the expectations of the marketplace as well as the relative cost of producing the publication in various trim sizes.

A complete design should include full type specifications and representative layouts for all the various categories of text in the publication. Common elements include the front (or preliminary) matter; a chapter opening page; two facing pages showing text, extracts, subheads, footnotes, illustrations, running heads, and folios; and the back (or end) matter (including, as relevant, the appendix, endnotes, glossary, bibliography, and index). A sample text design with complete type specifications appears at the end of this appendix (fig. A.14, pp. 841–56).

Before the project is submitted for typesetting, the designers layouts are checked to be sure each of the text elements has been assigned a typographical specification. The final edited manuscript (in paper or electronic form) is reviewed to ensure that it has been properly coded (see 2.87–91).