None of the Above

Q. There is no guidance in the manual to settle a difference between editors and a graphic designer about the interior design of books. Our audience is educators. The graphic designer makes the back of the title page (with copyright and ordering information) part of the design, uses fancy font in the headers of body text, etc. The introductory chapter has a photo occupying two-thirds of the page. I contend that the visuals dominate the text and distract the reader. She contends that pages of gray print are not appealing.

A. A classic standoff! You might have to pick your battles. Argue firmly when it comes to protecting the text where the design actually causes trouble and confusion, and try to let go of the aesthetic issues for now. After all, your educators might like a jazzy treatment. Distraction isn’t always bad; it can be a little break from academic tedium.

If you work with this designer frequently, and if you feel that her design approach isn’t appropriate for your books, try to get some specific feedback on the finished product. See how book reviewers receive it, or poll some educators in exchange for free copies. If others agree that the design is inappropriate for the audience, and if you have any choice in the matter, ask for a different designer.