Book design concerns the graphic and typographical design of the content and the cover of a book. The publisher is usually responsible for the design and often uses the expertise of specialists. These can be book designers, typographers, communication designers, and in exceptional cases also freelance artists. Many publishers take on the design of their books in their own specialized department, the production. The aim is to design the book in such a way that it communicates the content best and most clearly, is balanced in terms of material and price and, of course, is also accepted by the potential target group.
The book is first and foremost a commodity. This means that it should not only look beautiful, it should also be a comfortable size, feel good and, above all, be easy to use. In addition to good legibility of the text, it is important to choose the right paper, cover, font, type area and much more.
The design must be adapted to the type of book, be it in terms of differences in production or in terms of the content of the book. In addition, the use and reading requirements for the book should be taken into account.
A book for children is exposed to different stresses than a volume in a multi-volume reference work; and the font is chosen differently for these books. In some cases the saleability of a book is strongly influenced by a particularly good or bad design.
The design of a book is particularly dependent on the current taste: “The author usually consciously or unconsciously takes a position on his time. Not only the directly socially critical or political novel, also the religiously emphasized or the utopian novel are not beyond social controversy, just as the drama, the novella, the poem and other types of beautiful literature.
The book designer must have knowledge of the essence of the text before him.” (Albert Kapr: Buchgestaltung. Ein Fachbuch für Graphiker, Schriftsetzer, Drucker, Buchbinder, Retuscheure, Reproduktionstechniker, Photographen, Hersteller, Verleger, Buchhändler, Bibliothekare, Autoren und alle, die Bücher lieben. VEB Verlag der Kunst, Dresden 1963)