Reference books and charts in InDesign.
Reference books and making charts in InDesign is more complex than most books. Charts, especially, take more time to create. Charging a higher design fee for reference books and cookbooks too, is quite fair given their complexity.
What you need to know …
Reference books have many details with charts and graphics. They need designs that communicate information more easily for the reader.
Case in point:
We took over the design and printing of a particular reference book over a dozen years ago. Although we had many years of experience designing books, we learn even more from revising and printing this book once or twice a year.
Words of advice for reference books with frequent revisions
- Keep the same look and feel for the cover, providing that it is a successful cover. Also, know that the author wants to maintain the look for their brand.
- Always use the client’s branding. Include their logo, colors, and typefaces.
- Color coding in book sections or chapters helps. Plan the design, but implement it only after the author is approving of the plan.
- Use Stylesheets for Paragraphs, Characters and Objects.
- Parent pages often prove to be vital for reference books.
It is so important to use the tools within InDesign, so changes can be made globally instead of one instance at a time.
Branding and color
When working with branding, check the Pantone Color Bridge ® against the inks or colors. The client may use specific colors on their website or materials they print. All too often, the CMYK inks for process color on press do not match the RGB colors for websites and screen monitors.
Since the CMYK ink might not be able to be matched to the client’s RGB colors, have this discussion with them. Show them the Pantone Color Bridge for proof. I prefer to use the one for stock with a coating. All too often, the designer or printer get the blame for a difference in color when there is simply no alternative. They may lose the job to someone else who cannot replicate the color either.
A final word of advice on reference books
When taking over a project from someone else, you may find that it is too big a job to do all at once in a short time frame to meet immediate deadlines. We sometimes make significant changes as we collaborate with our clients, but some changes will be made in subsequent years. This particular client always has a strict deadline. Therefore, we cannot not take extra time to overhaul the entire structure of the design in the first year.