In this tutorial, we break down the basics you need to know when designing your next book template.
Whether you are looking into self-publishing or designing a book template, you need to know the essentials of book design. There are many advantages to making your own InDesign book templates—it is financially rewarding, and you can help other people out by making their jobs easier.
We’ve put together a list of vital components you need for a professional-looking book template. While some of these elements are optional, it is good to know the different parts of an entire book layout.
Books are divided into three major parts: the front matter, the text, and the back matter. While not all books contain every single element in the major parts, they do contain at least one. Let’s start with the cover and work our way through to the end of a book layout. Look out for our suggestions on tutorials, courses and assets to help you get started on your first book template.
Book Cover Template
Successful book covers are striking and the first thing readers will see. This is the one chance you get to lure them into the book. Visually, the copy on the cover should be legible and concise. If you are creating a template, choose a genre and get inspired by it to create a striking cover. Be careful not to give too much away on your cover—you want readers to be intrigued.
When designing a book cover template, keep in mind that the dimensions of it will be reduced drastically. The cover won't be only used as a real size book but also as a cover on thumbnails. EBooks are becoming more and more popular, so having your cover work at a small scale is essential.
Below, we have a roundup of some of our favorite tutorials on how to design a book layout template. Let's take a look:
Learn how to create a book cover and spine in this fairytale-inspired book cover design tutorial. You will master the use of display fonts and mix it with wood-cut style images to create an amazing book cover.
Explore one of our short courses on Envato Elements on how to make a book cover. You'll learn how to lay out a front cover artwork in Adobe InDesign and how to expand it into a full wrap-around design.
Learn how to create this InDesign book layout template in a few easy steps. You'll learn everything from how to make a book cover design template to designing a book layout. The result is a professional-looking book layout template that's easy to use and adapt.
Book jackets tend to be complicated to design due to their size specifications. In this tutorial, you'll learn how to design a book jacket template with the help of a diagram. The diagram helps explain how to structure it and the basic measurements you'll need to create your own book jacket template.
If you are new to book design and are in a hurry, we've got some amazing book cover design templates at Envato Elements and Graphic River. This cover template is minimal and elegant. It comes with free fonts, and you can customize it easily.
The Front Matter
The front matter is the first few pages of the book. These pages are usually unnumbered or include Roman numerals, and they include information from the author and publisher. It really depends on the genre of the book to decide if these sections should be included. One option is to add a couple of these pages, and should your end user not need them, these pages can be easily deleted. Let's take a look at the sections:
- The Half Title contains the title and author of the book. It is the first page you see when you open the cover, and it lands on the right-hand side of the spread.
- If there’s one page you’d like to include in your template, make it the Copyright Page. This page contains technical information about the book. This section can include the publisher’s name and address, copyright information, ISBN, edition notice, date of publication, number of prints, disclaimers, warranties, and safe notices.
- Content Page or Table of Contents are pages that list major sections of the book with page numbers. This will help the readers navigate their way through the book.
- The Acknowledgements Page includes the author’s words expressing gratitude for other people's help in the creation of the book.
- The Foreword provides a context for the book and is written by someone other than the author.
- A Preface is written by the author and tells the readers how the book came into being.
The Body Matter
The contents of the book are called the body. These pages house the main copy of the book, along with an introduction or prologue. While the book cover template will get your reader’s attention, the inside will let them decide how comfortable they will be reading it. The following elements will determine the page design of the body section and, with careful attention, help your reader enjoy it:
- Page Margins, depending on the book format, can be equal in size all around the page or different. When designing the interior book layout template, keep in mind that readers will need to keep the book open by holding the pages with their thumbs. Try to have a significant amount of room on the outside margin. If you are designing a softcover book layout template, the book itself won't open flat. In this case, leave a considerable amount of room on the inside margin. The top and bottom margins will be different depending on whether you are using folios.
- Folios need to be kept consistent and to the bare minimum. Page numbers will help readers locate themselves in the book. Some books can also include running heads, and here you can display chapters and sections within the book or even the book title.
- Chapters are convenient to divide sections in a book. You can have chapter pages start on the right-hand or left-hand page or both (as a spread). Chapter opening pages don’t usually include folios or running heads—this helps the design stay clean. To make them interesting, consider using decorative and illustrative materials that can help you enhance the work of the author.
Depending on the genre of the book, the body matter can also include the following:
- Non-fiction books will have a Conclusion page. This is where the author sums up key ideas of the book.
- Fiction books will include an Epilogue. Authors can reveal a character’s destiny, hint at a sequel, or even promote upcoming books.
The Back Matter
The back matter is found at the end of the book. Again, these pages are optional, but use this as a guide to what the end user might need:
- The Index is ordered alphabetically and usually included in non-fiction books. It lists terms used throughout the book and what pages these can be found on.
- A Glossary is a list of words that are integral to the story in the book. Longer books may include characters or places.
- A Bibliography is a list of works that have been cited throughout the book. Here you can include articles, books, interviews, etc.
- About the Author is a good place to add a small biography, profile picture, and upcoming books.
Book Format (Paperback, Hardback, and eBooks)
There are many rules when it comes to deciding on a book format. End users will usually be looking for a specific size that they’ve been advised on, so it is smart to create a standard book format template. Standard sizes exist for specific printing and distributing reasons. Here are the most commonly used sizes:
- Demi: width 138 mm and height 216 mm
- Royal: width 156 mm and height 234 mm
- Crown Quatro: width 189 mm and height 246 mm
- A-Format: width 110 mm and height 178 mm
- B-Format: width 130 mm and height 198 mm
- C-Format or trade paperback: width 135 mm and height 216 mm
With the rise of technology, eBooks are becoming more and more popular. Instead of sizes, aspect ratios are commonly mentioned in eBook design. Everybody’s screen will be a different size, but here are a couple of common aspect ratios:
- iPad: 4:3
- Kindle: 1:1.6
Cover Book Fonts
Typography is the real core of book design. With thousands of fonts on the market, choosing the right one is important. You want to make your reader feel comfortable, while also adding the right personality to a book.
There are appropriate type choices for book cover design templates and body copy layout. Book cover design templates have very few words, so it is essential to make them eye-catching. Display fonts are designed to be used at a larger scale and contain a good amount of personality in each letter. Below, we have some amazing display fonts from Envato Elements:
Alfred Hitchcock is the master of suspense. This Hitchcock-inspired font is perfect for a mystery genre book!
This rough style font with lots of character is perfect for many book genres!
This uneven display font is bold and simulates handmade letters. Additionally, you get a free font, a perfect pairing!
Body Copy Fonts
Body copy fonts, on the other hand, need to be quieter—the opposite of display fonts. Serifs are a great choice here as they are easy to read due to the small ‘feet’ at the end of each letterform. Use them at the right point size, between 8 pt and 10 pt, with just enough leading to add breathing space, and you are set to go.
Below, we have a couple of fonts you can use to typeset your book template and an introductory tutorial on how to typeset books:
This crowd-pleaser is an easy-to-read font that's perfect for typesetting your next book template. Addington has a large x-height, which makes it highly readable.
Darius includes several weights, which is great if you are looking to play with type in the book. The sharp wedge serifs are elegant and great if you are looking for a serif font with personality.
Adobe InDesign is the number one choice when it comes to publishing software. If you want to know more about typesetting, this tutorial will teach you the basics of the typesetting process.
Printing and Publishing a Book Template
There are many alternatives for publishing a book, from professional printing houses to online printers. Back in the day, it was difficult, but nowadays it is a very hassle-free process.
Blurb is a great online printer. It offers a wide range of sizes and great value for producing multiple copies of your book. Blurb also allows you to sell your book in its bookstore as hard copies or eBook. Other eBook websites that allow you to sell and publish are Lulu, Kobo Writing Life, Amazon Kindle Store, and Google Play.
Below, we've got a couple of tutorials if you are looking to create your own eBook and some tips on ePUBS:
In this tutorial, we show you how to easily convert your designs into interactive PDFs or ePUBS that are ready to sell and share online.
Any printed magazine and book is available online these days. Grace Fussell shares her top 10 professional tips for creating digital publications.
Steps to Making a Book Template
In this article, we talked about the components that can be included in a book template. Whether you are creating a paperback, hardcover, or eBook template, you can be sure that this guide will inspire you to take your first steps in designing templates.
Let's take a quick look at what we touched on. Also feel free to use the following steps as a checklist:
- Know your medium: Decide what kind of template you want to design, as book formats can vary. eBooks are rising in popularity, and digital screens come in many different shapes and sizes. Printed books also have standard sizes, so check for the most popular book format out there before you start designing.
- Design a book cover template: Craft a book cover template that suits a specific genre and style but is easy to customize and slick for your end-users to use. Use display fonts that will attract readers and lure them to peek inside!
Decide on your Front Matter: While there are a number of optional items to include as front matter, sometimes it's helpful to include them. It's easier for users to delete what they don't need than to create something from scratch.
Design the Body Matter pages: Carefully craft the interior design. Pay close attention to details like margins, folios, and opening chapter pages.
- Don't forget about legibility: Choose appropriate fonts for the cover and the interior pages. End users will thank you when a big part of their job is resolved like choosing readable serifs that are comfortable for the eyes.
- The Back Matter matters too: Depending on the book template you are creating, you might want to add a few extra pages for authors or designers to provide supplementary information about the book.
- Time to produce: Including a help file in your template is a great way to guide your end users to finish their projects. Simple and quick instructions on how to export a file for printing or suggestions on where to upload an eBook can be a great help. Small details like this will have your clients coming back for more.
Making a book template is a process that takes some work and many, many decisions as to what to include. The end result is rewarding when you see your templates being used by authors and designers. If you are not familiar with Adobe InDesign, Envato Elements and GraphicRiver have an amazing library of book cover templates and book layouts for you to explore.
If you are new to book design, we have some great courses and tutorials that can help you get started on your first project. Maybe you'd like to explore some cover tutorials? We've got many tutorials on how to design a book cover! Check the links below!
- Books15+ Best Book Covers to Design Online With a Maker AppMelody Nieves
- Book CoverHow to Create a Vintage-Inspired Clothbound Book Cover in Adobe InDesignGrace Fussell
- Book DesignBack to School: Design for Self-PublishingGrace Fussell
- IllustrationHow to Design a Children's Book: Cover and Internal PagesRowena Aitken
- InDesign TemplatesHow to Make a Book in InDesignGrace Fussell
- InDesign Templates50+ InDesign Templates Every Designer Should OwnGrace Fussell