Publication design

Publication design

Publication design entails the layout and graphic design for any printed or online publication. Before the designing bit starts, there needs to be an understanding of the types of design that go into different material like books, magazines, journals, newsletters, comics and even newspapers.

A designer’s task is to express the content held within the pages and on the covers in a thematic way. If a publication is an autobiography, the design needs to bring out this theme. If it is on a historical subject, the same concept of sticking to the theme should apply.

When your manuscript is ready to be published, the design is the cherry on top as it is an art of visual communication. It is one of the key factors that will make a reader pick up your book and look through it or buy it. Design helps to boost your key messages, showcase your brand’s personality, establish your visual identity, and create a bigger impact with your audience or readers.

Some publications are type-centred, while others incorporate illustrations and splashing colours. Whichever the case, some of the things they have in common is the need for intelligent design, impressive layout and typography and readability.

Before you dive into publishing, you can have a seat down with the designer or call/email them. Explain the purpose of the manuscript and what goal you wish to achieve. You can also tell them your desired format. If you do not have one, a skilled designer will easily advise you and work magic on the publication.

The designer can further help you choose photographs that are compelling and tasteful, or even infographics and create digital interactivity which will enhance the read. As it serves as comprehensive marketing too, the end-result needs to appeal to your prospective customers.

Let’s go into fonts. From cover type to body text, your font type choices say a lot about the publication itself. Font choices can convey a message of classic authority/formality or modern and crisp, therefore from your idea and purpose of the publication, the designer will see what works best for your publication and what attracts the right audience.

Expand the possibilities by pairing fonts in harmonious ways. You might try mixing a serif with a sans serif font or utilising a variety of weights from within the same font family. Online tools such as,, and can help in creating font pairs that work well together. (Anon., n.d.)

You’ll want to establish an overall look for the publication, one that will convey the intended message to your target reader. Will you need to pack a lot of information in its pages, and if so, how will that information be presented?

Large, colourful infographics and graphs could well serve an annual report to convey stats and figures. A pledge drive brochure might marry the company’s story and funding needs with large, compelling images. Continually ask, “What will drive my message home to my ideal reader?” (Anon., n.d.)

When you think about your audience, are they older with a preference for the classic magazine-like piece, or do they want something shorter and digestible they can read online? This will help to see whether your publication will be a printed piece or a high-quality digital format as an e-publication.

Seek a professional expert team that once they gather to work on your publication, they will help conceptualise and building a road map to help guide you from idea to successful execution of your publication.