The next step: illustrations, diagrams and typesettingposted 15 November 2012 by Jo Brewer
Our last blog post, where we chatted with Owen Gregory about copy-editing, looked at the beginning of our book production process. Since then we've copy-edited, proofread and amended the text (and then done it all again at least three times). With the manuscript for Managing Web Projects complete, it's the turn of our designers, Nick Boulton and Colin Kersley, who have been busy typesetting the book, working on illustrations and diagrams, and getting it all ready for print.
We work with our authors to provide useful, clear diagrams and illustrations that not only help understanding but add to the personality of the book; Managing Web Projects is no different. We asked Nick and Colin a few questions about creating a book from scratch and what we've done to make this one special.
What's the process for typesetting, and what do you use?
[Colin] We ask for the final manuscript in Pages, and then set it out using InDesign. We work on each part of the book separately, chapter by chapter, and then package it all up to create the final book file ready for editing.
Do you have standard typefaces or design aspects that you always use for the Practical Guides?
[Nick] We use the Milo family of typefaces throughout the Practical Guide series as the serif and sans serif pair work well together. (You’ll be able to read more about pairing typefaces in Tim Brown’s Pocket Guide next year!) The covers all have different fonts which we choose with input from the author. It helps give each book its own identity.
Looking at the general page layout, the text is laid out to take thumb space into consideration, and the pages at the opening of each part are always black so that when you’re flicking through the book you can find them easily.
What's your process for working with authors on images?
[Nick] We ask authors to provide us with complete illustrations, images and diagrams with the necessary captions or attributions. But we realise that's not always possible to do. If they can't give us an exact image then we'll ask them to provide us with a guide image and talk through what needs to be done, and then we redraw it. Diagrams and graphs are fairly straightforward to recreate, the author just needs to give us the information.
Did you do anything differently for Managing Web Projects?
[Nick] As you read the book you'll spot pictures of example documents bearing two company logos and names you won't have come across before: Over Design and Leaky Taco. This is because they were created especially for this book. Breandán suggested creating branding for these companies to apply to some of the examples. This way you get a clear idea of how the kind of processes shown relate to your own company projects. This won’t be the only time you see these logos - Breandán’s working on a supporting document that’ll hopefully be launched alongside the book which will feature the companies again.
How did you come up with the logos?
[Colin] Breandán talked us through how he thought the company logos would look. From there, we talked about the style the illustrations should have and I started to sketch out some ideas. I experimented with type and composition until we had a few options. These were run past Breandán and we settled on the final ones.
How do you decide on the colours for each book cover?
[Nick] We give the author a general choice of colour. Then we pick a solid Pantone colour and use its CMYK counterpart for the PDF.
The text and illustrations are in, the cover and type have been decided on. What's left to do before it's sent to the printers?
[Colin] Once the text and illustrations are ready, we add in the imprint details and work out a final page count. The document is sent over to an indexer to work on and, once we get that back, we add it in at the end. We do one last round of edits to make sure we haven't missed anything, then one last idiot check. When we're happy it's all in order we prepare the final PDF to send to the printer. Then we crack on with the ePub. And then we have a rest.
Managing Web Projects will be available to buy from Tuesday 27 November at www.fivesimplesteps.com.