26 Oct Testing Design Work
Testing Design Work
Remember you are producing a paper document (book). Although you can view on your computer screen it is best to test your design work on paper. Its appearance will be very different. The appearance of documents will alter with changes in resolution too. Your readers will have a final product (book) that they can hold. Pages they can flick through, rather than flat pages printed from your design document, or viewed on screen. So if possible, make up sample documents that match the look and feel of final copies. These should help you check things such as whether page numbers and running heads will be visible, and so on.
When you have finalised the page-layout, print out all the pages and stick them together. Ensure they resemble the finished document. Check and recheck.
When it comes to evaluating and reviewing a design, be mindful whose opinion you get and most how you ask for it.
As human beings we often seek the approval of others. So you show it to your spouse, boss, family, friends or make the rounds getting hundreds of opinions.
More often than not these opinions actually do more harm than good and cost you a lot in author alteration fees. The simple reason is people look at things differently when they are evaluating something. They are making opinions on likes and dislikes. This is when ‘make the font bigger’ and second guessing happens. In an attempt to over analyse a great design it is possible to get squashed in the evaluation process.
On the whole, the elements of book design are important. Page layout, body type, display type, chapter openings, 2-page spreads. Even images, photos, illustrations, graphs charts, sidebars, icons, and tabular material are more often than not composed or joined to, typographic elements. A designer when turning your manuscript into a book goes beyond layout. A great design accounts for all the formatting used in the manuscript with consideration to the demographics of the audience. The message it will deliver, the path the eye will take and more. The designer offers you their expertise.
Do you trust the designer without a second opinion?
Yes and No. Of course trust is part of the process. If you want to ensure the validity of others opinions, do so by using these vital tips.
1. Print out or display the design in front them. Do not speak. Wait.
After a few moments turn it over (or turn it off your screen). Ask some simple questions that will provide indicative feedback:
“What was the first thing you looked at? ” or “What was your eye drawn too?”
“What do you believe the primary message of this design says? ” “Is there anything specific you remember about the design?”
2. Never ask … “Which one do you like best?” Design communicates an idea. It is not important if someone ‘likes it, Yet it is important the message gets communicated. A pretty font may distract the reader and not communicate the desired message and so forth. It is important thus to ask “Which one communicates [the message] clearer?”
3. Don’t ask specific questions such as “What do you think about these colours? “ Personal preferences aren’t useful. Just because someone prefers green to red or dots to dashes, doesn’t mean it is the right choice for your design. Look at other designs in that book genre or niche. What or why does it stand out?
4. Watch the readers eyes. This is indicative of where they will look first. If it has multi pages (interior) watch how they browse through it. Did they skip over the first few pages? Did they spend more time on one page rather than another? Were they stuck on something? Did they move around the book cover /interior with interest. Did they frown at something that they found distracting. Good design helps the reader to understand the principle message without reading everything in front of them.
5. Don’t react, sleep on it. When your expectations are not met, it is best not to react with “That’s not what I want.” There is usually a reason for the design and it may grow on you. Having expectations up front is often a recipe for a negative reaction. Designers are professionals who have learnt typography. It takes time, practice and familiarity to work with the tools of design. Ask yourself if it represents the brand of your book or your new publishing company. Does it communicate the message effectively. Feel free to discuss this with your book consultant.
6. Readers First. When evaluating the design of your book, think about the readers who you wrote it for and your goal for publishing it.
7. You can design your own book, but if you do, you can’t expect expert results. A sales-oriented self-publisher will engage professionals. Work in partnership to ensure the book compares with books from traditional publishers. Throughout the process the aim for using typography tools and design skills is ease of comprehension. To present the author’s work with clarity at every level.
Above all, we believe a good design is crucial for the comfort of your readers. If you would like any assistance with design, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.