11 Replies Latest reply on Aug 18, 2011 4:28 PM by longhair101

    Learing the "Art" of Typesetting

    Brian2025 Level 1

      I am pretty comfortable with the functionality of ID now. I have a template that for a book (the book has many equations, graphics, tables, lists, etc.)

       

      With all of the different design elements, is there any sort of reference/training to address "artistic" issues. These would be making adjustments to graphic size/placement, adjusting text parameters to better fit paragraphs and/or various design elements on the page, etc. In other words, all of the things beyond the basic insertion of the manuscript into the template.

       

      Perhaps it is simpler than I think, but it seems like I would need some sort of formal information?

        • 1. Re: Learing the "Art" of Typesetting
          Geert DD Level 1

          I find “The Elements of Typographic Style” to be a very thorough and practical book.

           

          http://assets.svpply.com.s3.amazonaws.com/small/8242.jpg

          • 2. Re: Learing the "Art" of Typesetting
            Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

            Being a good designer isn't something you can pick up reading a single book or watching a few tutorials (though these can certainly give you some great rules of thumb for what works and what doesn't). You need to look at a lot of work and try to analyze what it is you like or don't like about it, especially work you think is ugly. This takes time, and is a never-ending process. There are no absolute solutions to design problems, only solutions that are better or worse than others, and always plenty of ways to skin the cat.

             

            Do you have something like a community college near you where you can take some design classes?

            • 3. Re: Learing the "Art" of Typesetting
              Brian2025 Level 1

              Geert, I ordered the book, hopefully it will help.

               

              Peter, I don't have time to do something like that. I can pick these sorts of things up pretty quickly though...provided I have a good reference. I know of another self publisher who wrote a book with similar structure as mine and he did one of the best jobs I have seen. So I know it can be done (his first book as well). Maybe I will ask him about it.

               

              P.S. I doesn't have to be "perfect". I am thinking that with a good eye, some patience, and some basic rules/instruction I can get there without too much problem. The only thing I picked up from the lydna.com videos was that you can adjust the tracking a little bit in some instances.

              • 4. Re: Learing the "Art" of Typesetting
                phyllisj9 Level 2

                I would highly recommend Design Basics Index -- that's a good book with lots of practical explanation of what makes designs good and bad.  More focused on design overall than typography (the Elements of Typography will be more about book design I think).  But Design Basics Index is a great reference with lots of key principles about design.

                • 5. Re: Learing the "Art" of Typesetting
                  Grant H Level 4
                  Being a good designer isn't something you can pick up reading a single book or watching a few tutorials...

                  Peter you know my thoughts on this ....

                   

                  I say study for 3 to 4 years (depending) or struggle for 8... pro graphic designers are well under paid for what they do, because of the "any one can do it" belief. With exceptions of course. A collegue of min has never studied and is one of the finest illustrators i personally know...

                   

                  Apprentice and study the best way... unless you have exceptional talent.

                   

                  G

                  • 6. Re: Learing the "Art" of Typesetting
                    Brian2025 Level 1

                    Well, I have to be realistic. I am a self publisher and not looking to make this into a career. Again, I am not looking to become a talented and skilled designer, that would take years. I am looking to produce a respectable book. After having built my template (which took a few days), I did a 6 page spread which took about 20 minutes. Every says it looks just fine. I provided it to my former designer and he said it looked just fine (he is now retired due to illness, but had designed hundreds of books with similar content). I could probably just go with the basic approach and produce an acceptable book today, without further knowledge.

                     

                    But...that said, I know that I can do better. I want to hit the "bang for the buck" improvements and leave it at that. I will never be a true designer, that is simply not my goal. In fact, the only reason I am doing it myself is that my first designer retired and the second one was morally questionable (ripped me off). I got fed up and decided to take things in my own hands.

                    • 7. Re: Learing the "Art" of Typesetting
                      Grant H Level 4
                      I am a self publisher and not looking to make this into a career.

                      fair enough.

                       

                      heres a good tip for you then:

                       

                      besides for typo basics, if you do one thing that will help the look of your text in the document its this: make sure the font suits the text frame size nicely. Tweak it using the paragraph (hopefully styled) justification setting to make the copy look its best...

                       

                      give me a few minutes ill post a few screen shots of what i meadn.

                       

                      G

                      • 8. Re: Learing the "Art" of Typesetting
                        Grant H Level 4

                        1.     Match the typeface to the column to get a smooth rag with the least amount of hyphenation in left justified text (not the greatest eg but):

                        1.png

                         

                        2.     Then justified text: on the left no tweaking on the right using the justification setting in para styles I adjusted as shown, note the "grey" (no rivers... on the right eg.

                         

                        4.png


                        3. then learn about keep options to avoid orphans widows etc..

                         

                        G

                        • 9. Re: Learing the "Art" of Typesetting
                          peter minneapolis Level 4

                          Hi, Brian:

                           

                          I'm sure you didn't mean to demean designers and their profession. Tech writers often hear engineers and others on the team for which they're writing documentation say, "I've been speaking <native or fluent acquired language> for years. I can write the docs. I know the tech. I can write. Why do we need a technical writer?"

                           

                          That's just human, unconscious, and rarely can the person actually do the same job the professional can. However, as you note, "perfect" isn't the goal, just enough for your purposes is sufficient, and since you're the customer, when you're happy with the result, you're done.

                           

                          I agree that professionals don't have time to reinvent themselves as whatever other profession's specialty they need done, and want to do themselves.

                           

                          I think the best single source for self-publishers is thebookdesigner.com. The daily blog and archives, plus the links to other similarly-rich resources won't make you a designer overnight, but it will help you find many of the knowledge chunks you're hungry for. You'll be in good company.

                           

                          Also, search Google for terms like "graphic visual design basics principles fundamentals exercises tutorials" and similar terms, without quotes. Some hits will jump out for you and your particular interests.

                           

                          Also, look at Robin Williams' (not the hyper-energetic actor and comic; the computer book author) "The Non-Designer's Design Book."

                           

                          Many of these books are available through used-book sites, like allbookstores.com, which search many booksellers and deliver competitive prices.

                           

                          Warning: there are a lot of books on these topics that just beg to be bought and devoured.

                           

                          HTH

                           

                          Regards,

                           

                          Peter Gold

                          KnowHow ProServices

                           

                           

                           

                          Brian2025 wrote:.

                           

                          Well, I have to be realistic. I am a self publisher and not looking to make this into a career. Again, I am not looking to become a talented and skilled designer, that would take years. I am looking to produce a respectable book. After having built my template (which took a few days), I did a 6 page spread which took about 20 minutes. Every says it looks just fine. I provided it to my former designer and he said it looked just fine (he is now retired due to illness, but had designed hundreds of books with similar content). I could probably just go with the basic approach and produce an acceptable book today, without further knowledge.

                           

                          But...that said, I know that I can do better. I want to hit the "bang for the buck" improvements and leave it at that. I will never be a true designer, that is simply not my goal. In fact, the only reason I am doing it myself is that my first designer retired and the second one was morally questionable (ripped me off). I got fed up and decided to take things in my own hands.

                          • 10. Re: Learing the "Art" of Typesetting
                            Brian2025 Level 1

                            Thanks everyone for the inputs. Here are a few comments and clarifications:

                             

                            - Editing : I have a professional editor who said that my writing is good and it just needs a light copy edit. I also adhere to the Chicago Manual of Style so that takes care of the mechanical aspects. My grammar is fair, but I have another person to improve that.

                             

                            - Design : The design itself is complete (or nearly so). This took a few weeks/months to select the correct font, size, body text width, margins, styles, etc. So the template has all of the paragraph styles, etc. I just need need to insert the manuscript. I had two professional designers help with this.

                             

                            Now, whats left is that I have to actually typeset it. I am comfortable with ID now and can"plop" the manuscript into the template. I can add my equations, tables, etc. in. At this point, the last part is to make it look good. I am familiar with the basics such as orphans and have a lot of that setup in my template too. Anyway, I just wanted to clarify a few items as to where I do/don't know.

                             

                            I will purchase more books (they are cheap) and do some more google/web searches. But I may be farther along that was originally implied.

                            • 11. Re: Learing the "Art" of Typesetting
                              longhair101 Level 1

                              Brian2025 wrote:

                               

                              ...With all of the different design elements, is there any sort of reference/training to address "artistic" issues. These would be making adjustments to graphic size/placement, adjusting text parameters to better fit paragraphs and/or various design elements on the page, etc. In other words, all of the things beyond the basic insertion of the manuscript into the template...

                              I can suggest a book that would make a great starting point. The Mac is Not a Typewriter. The book is only about 70 pages and is quick read but _loaded_ with all the information I think you might be looking for.

                               

                              Don't be turned off by the word Mac in the title, it is just as relevent for the PC. Basically it's a guide to help people transition from word processing programs to "real" typesetting. But this book really is practically famous, and I'm surprised there's been no reference yet in this thread. It's one of those basic must haves from years ago.

                               

                              It's been in print since 1990, and was updated in 2001 and/or there is a second edition. but it's not the platforms or software versions that matter. The info is there and this is the best starter out there.