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Make a Coffee Table Book: How to Create Your Own Design

Ever felt like creating your own coffee table book? Then you’re in the right place. Read on to learn how to make a coffee table book of your own.

Coffee table books have been around for less than a century. Take a look at a list of the best coffee table books and you’ll see they’re full of potential. From photography to history to automobiles, there’s a little something for everyone.

But since it’s a young and evolving art form, there isn’t a lot of information available if you want to make a coffee table book. This could lead to some problems down the road. Without strict design principles, your book might never be fit for publishing.

If you’re interested in making your own book, look no further. This guide will cover the creative and technical aspects of professional book design.

make a coffee table book

1. Decide on a Topic

Content precedes design. Before you can worry about the aesthetics of your coffee table book, you need to know what you’re writing about. This will later impact your options of styles, layouts, and themes available to you.

As you know, a coffee table book is all about presentation. It’s imperative that you pick a topic that makes use of fantastic visuals.

Do you already know the main thesis? Fantastic. But you still aren’t ready to move to the design portion.

Write the majority of the content first. This will set the tone and the way your book approaches the topic at hand.

In writing, the literary tone is an attitude or perspective proliferated by your word choice. Whether gloomy, or dark, or humorous, your prose will carry its own tone. The photographs and design you ultimately choose should complement the textual content.

2. Make a Coffee Table Book With Style

So, you’ve written your coffee table book. Pat yourself on the back. Now you’re ready to dive into the most important part of your publication: the design.

It all starts with style. Let’s say your custom coffee table book is a collection of coastal photography. What kind of colors, shapes, and associations will people make with this artwork?

That’s for you to decide. Maybe you’re looking for a nostalgic feel because you took these pictures two decades ago. You’ll want to include elements of design that harken back to a bygone era.

Remember that your photographs aren’t the only visuals in a coffee table book. Your typeface has a style of its own, and it’ll have a massive impact on the overall design of your collection.

What is a typeface? That’s a fancy word for font.

You’ll want to choose a font that meshes well with the theme and artwork in your book. In general, you don’t want to use more than two different types of font. Otherwise, things can get messy and unprofessional.

When choosing a font, you’ve got other design choices to worry about. What size will the text be, and what color? Will the font look good in print?

And most importantly: Are you legally allowed to use this typeface? You need special permission to utilize certain fonts in commercial works.

3. Create a Mock-Up

You can create an effective mock-up without great computer graphics skills. There are plenty of programs and websites available to help you set up a front cover and example page without too much trouble.

Take this time to put your initial design to the test. Odds are, it won’t look as good on paper as it does in your head. You’ll want to make tweaks and changes that address these issues and further refine your design.

Give some thought to the layout and make an effort to change it up. If you always have a full-spread photo on the left page, it can get a bit repetitive. Consider throwing in some collages here or there for variety.

If you’re working with a printing service, you may not have to supply a mock-up. However, you’ll likely want to create written guidelines for the publisher’s designers.

4. Prepare Your Files

You’ve got your visual elements ready. Or do you?

It is essential that your photographs are in high resolution. Otherwise, the low pixel count will make them blurry and jagged when they’re printed out on paper.

Even the text requires special preparation. To eliminate pixels, you’ll want to design them with vector.

Vector artwork is created in special programs that result in smooth designs. This is important not only for the final finish but it allows you to change size without quality loss. Adobe InDesign and Illustrator are perhaps the most well-known vector program, but others are available.

For more information, refer to our printing guide.

5. Get Technical

Book design goes beyond the artwork and text. For example, have you considered which material you’ll use on the cover? The right cover finish can go a long way in making your book look professional.

Coffee table books are larger than traditional publications. Yours should be larger than 8.5 x 11 inches. You should know your desired dimensions in advance for design and layout purposes.

Look at your paper options. Gloss art paper and matte art paper are perhaps the most popular. It’s good to stick with these standard options since they tend to run a bit cheaper than specialty alternatives.

The most important design on your coffee table book is the cover. From cloth to vinyl, there are many materials and components that will impact the book’s finish. Work with your printer’s designer and request physical samples to better visualize the final product.

Ready to Publish Your Coffee Table Book?

It’s easy to make a coffee table book with the right advice. But once you’ve decided on a design, you’ll need to contact a professional printing service to get it published.

QINPrinting has 25 years of paper printing experience. We’ll walk you through the design process every step of the way. Get started today with a free instant quote.

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