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Join author Nigel French in Designing a Book Cover as he walks through several approaches to creating professional, engaging book covers using Adobe Creative Suite applications. This course covers document setup, composition and layout, illustration, typography essentials, and printing. Exercise files accompany the course.
When creating the spine, if you're in the UK or in the US, your spine should read from top to bottom. If you're in Europe or elsewhere, check what is the local norm. First thing I want to do is I want to check the width of the spine. In our hypothetical example, the width of the spine is five-eighths of an inch, or 45 points. Of course, ask your printer what is your spine width, based upon the page count of the book and the paper stock that you are using. But we are supposing that we've been given this information by the printer and we are going to change our spine width accordingly.
Now the way I'm doing this in InDesign CS5 is different to how we would do it in CS4 because in CS5, we can have pages of different sizes. in CS4, we cannot. In CS5, we have a page that is the spine, that is this one right here, and we have a Page tool, which doesn't exist in CS4. So, I'm going to select the spine, I'm going to come to the width and type in 0.625 in for inches, or 45 pt, and that increases the width of that page, so I now need to come and select the back cover and move that to the left so that it buts up against it and the front cover and move that to the right.
There we have now the correct spine width. So I'm now going to choose my Type tool, and I'm going to come to my Layers panel and make a layer for the spine. Not absolutely necessary but, it certainly won't hurt, and it's nice to have the different elements of the design on separate layers. So with that layer created and selected, I am then going to use my Type tool and click and drag, and I'm going to create two separate text frames here, one for the author and one for the title.
I'm going to first of all type in the author name, and since George Orwell is such a well-known and established author, he's just going to have a last name, and that way we can make the last name that much bigger and more impactful. Now, when working with spine text, black is a hard color to beat because it has the most impacting contrast and all uppercase is also very hard to beat, and that's what I'm going to be using, black text all in uppercase.
Descenders and ascenders in the type don't really work well typically with a spine. So, I'm going to select that text, Command"6 or Ctrl+6 to go to my Font menu, and the font I am using throughout here is Gotham. I'm going to use Gotham Bold. If you don't have Gotham, it is not a font that comes with InDesign so you would have to have it separately from that, but if you do not have it, you can use Myriad Pro or Helvetica, and I'm going to increase the size of this a bit, something like that, just to get it in the ballpark area of size that I'm after.
And now I'll switch to my Selection tool and I'm going to rotate it and I want to rotate it through 90 degrees clockwise. And then sort of dock it into position, turn on my guides by pressing W, and I would like my text frame to be the height of my text frame, what appears to be the width because it's rotated, but it's actually the height of my text frame to be the width of the spine, and I'm going to have it start at that guide right there, which is 18 points from the very top of the page.
So that I can concentrate just on the spine, and this is a technique I've been using throughout and you've seen me using it but not in the context of just the spine, I have set up three different layers: spine mask, back cover mask, front cover mask, but when I turn them on, will hide the other elements of the design and show me just the one that I want to view at that particular time. They're nothing more than big white rectangles on these layers. So if I look at the front cover mask, it puts a big white rectangle over the back cover and the spine and the back cover mask does the equivalent but for the front cover, and then the spine mask includes two solid rectangles, one on the front cover, one on the back cover, revealing just the spine, so I can look at that in isolation, and this is what people are going to see when they look at your book on a bookshelf, just the spine.
It's often the first thing that people will see about a book. So it needs to be given a fair amount of consideration. Of course an obvious point, but make sure that you turn these off before you print it. We don't really want the solid white rectangle. It's just for our viewing purposes. Having done that, I am now going to rotate my view. I am going to come to the View menu > Rotate Spread, I can either rotate my head or I can rotate the page and I'm going to go for rotating the page. And I'm now going to zoom in so that I can see my type and I think at this point we can probably do without the guides, so I'll press W. I would like the type to be centered vertically.
It's a little bit too big, so I'm going to take it down in size and then I want it to be centered vertically so I'm going to come to the Object menu > Text Frame Options and make the alignment Center. Now, that is perfectly vertically centered but it might not look it. It's not optically centered, and this is to do with the fact that it doesn't have any descenders or ascenders. So if we were to actually measure this, if I draw myself a rectangle right there, I see that that is 16.5 points and then if I move that down there, aha, that's only 13.5 points.
So we need to nudge it up and I could do it numerically but with something like this I think it tends to work best if you do it by eye. We can either apply a baseline shift to the type or we can add some bottom offset to the text frame. Both will get you to exactly the same place. I think I will do it with a baseline shift. So I'm going to select the text, baseline shift is this option right here or it's the keyboard shortcut Shift+Option +Up Arrow or Shift+Alt+Up Arrow, and I think just one nudge is probably good enough.
So let's now zoom out a little bit, and I'm going to select that text frame, turn my guides back on. I have this my bottom margin, and it's to that point that I want to drag a duplicate of that text frame to. And I want to then make this text right -aligned, Command+Shift+R or Ctrl+Shift+R. I'm then going to zoom in on that portion of the screen.
I might need to make this text frame a little bit larger, because now I'm going to highlight that text and replace it with the book title. Let's move that Layers panel out of the way and we want it all caps, so I'm going to put my Caps Lock on. And I need to make that text frame a bit bigger still and I'm using words as opposed to numerals for the title because it's just a little bit easier to spot.
Now I don't want that overlapping that band of gray that looks brown but it is actually gray. So I think what I want to do here is I want to make the text as big as it will get within the confines of the spine. So I'm going to select it and then use the keyboard shortcut Command+Shift or Ctrl+Shift and the Up Arrow. I just need to be careful how that overlaps and then if the black is not reading, we can change the color to Paper.
Lastly, we need the logo and I need to move this up one grid square. I need to leave one grid square for the logo. So I'm just going to move that one grid square back and I'm now going to undo my Rotation.
Readjust my view size. Turn off my guides by pressing W. So I'm going to come to the File menu and choose Place, and in the Beyond the Front Cover folder I want this file, CIS_logo. CIS Press is the fictitious publishing house. I have my Show Import Options turned on which is why I see this intermediate dialog box. I can just move right through that and I inadvertently had a frame selected and it has gone into that frame, which I didn't wanted to do.
So I'm going to press Command+Z, and then that will give me my graphic on the picture cursor. I am now just going to click and drag down the bottom there to place my logo and let's zoom in a little bit. We need to give it just a tiny amount of space left and right and beneath it. So I'm holding down Command and Shift and adjusting the size of the frame and then I'm just nudging it a little bit up and then horizontally positioning it by eye, so that our spine will now look like that.
And let's see this in the context of the front and back covers, so I'm going to come to the Layers panel and turn off the spine mask. That was a silly thing that I did. I managed to put this on the spine mask layer. So I realize my error and I can then drag that down to the spine layer and not the spine mask, hide that and there we have our front cover, back cover, and hopefully very readable spine.
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