Submarine Media Pty Ltd


Book Design tips (Academic books) February 2017


With Academic/Scientific books the aim is maximum clarity. Font choice and font size is especially important in this regard, as is the regularity of the formatting and the neatness of the layout. Simple, elegant serif fonts, typically no more than two fonts used on any particular page, or perhaps it is wiser to keep to two variations on one single font. Decorations should be simple and linear. The margins of the tables need to relate to the margins of the text in a simple, logical way. Everything should be easy to read, simple to look at, clear and elegant.


One thing that looks annoying, which ought to be fixed, is the paragraph with a single word hanging over onto the next line. Kerning should be adjusted for this purpose, also to ensure that there is no single line at the end of a chapter with the rest of the page blank. The paragraphs ought to be fully justified so that the right margin is not ragged.


The fonts should not be too small or too large. The size of title fonts ought to be a whole number ratio to the size of body text fonts, so that when pages are opposite one another the lines of text correspond (a rule of thumb, but not hard and fast as not many people will notice this.)


Any internal colouring of tables or charts ought to be subtle, not too garish or overpowering, and illustrations or photographs where they are expressive or informative should be as large as possible, preferably taking up a whole page.