Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Book Design and Production with Cindy De La Cruz Notes 7-16-22

Presented by Cindy De La Cruz, Book Designer for G.P. Putnam, a division of Penguin Books for Young Readers, on 7/16/2022 via Zoom. Notetaker: Annina Luck Wildermuth

Book designer Cindy De La Cruz discussed the ins and outs of book design and production with the caveat that she is speaking from the perspective of a trade children’s book designer working for one of the big five publishers. Not every designer works in the same way; for instance, in smaller publishing houses, the workflow and budgetary considerations may well be different.

Cindy’s focus of work is between the book designer and the illustrator—a recently released example: How to Hug a Pufferfish by Ellie Peterson as an example.

Book design and production from acquisition until release:

· Designer reviews the book dummy and requests character and thumbnail sketches from the illustrator.

· Designer fine tunes composition, perspective, continuity with illustrator, and also attends to technical details such as initial text placement and font ideas, bleed, trim, and gutter.

· Sketches are finalized and color samples are discussed, reviewed, and revised.

· Designer and art director review final art; usually there are more revisions to the revision.

· Illustrator completes interior art and designer can finalize text placement and font.

·Cover Design –– The art must be appealing and represent the book’s message. Several sketches are reviewed and discussed with the illustrator. Decisions are made on lettering. Should it be hand created or printed?

· Jacket Design –– Use spots on the back or have a wraparound cover? The text must be legible on the spine.

· Case Design –– Decisions are made if the case design will be different or the same as the jacket.

· Endpapers –– If included, are they illustrated to tie into the story or a pattern design, or a solid color.

· Routing or “Circling:” The book layout is sent to different departments at the imprint to catch inconsistencies.

· Designer prepares files to be released to the printer and makes production decisions such as matte or gloss paper, including book jacket, and the addition of foil or glitter on jacket or case.

· Printer sends proofs and then F & Gs (folded and gathered pages) to the designer. The designer then sends it to the illustrator who makes color corrections and checks for typos.

· Proofs are approved. The designer’s job is done.

There are many steps to the book making process. It takes teamwork, an editor, art director and book designer, production team, and the author and illustrator, to bring the book visually to life. The process of book design and production can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months. The book designer often recommends illustrators for a manuscript.