Introduction to Book Layout and Preparing for Print

Introduction to book layout and introduction to preparing for print are two separate inductions that are both based in Adobe InDesign and both work hand in hand. Introduction to book layout covers how to set up and create a document for a book in InDesign, then introduction to preparing for print covers how to save and export the document correctly for printing as well as imposition.

When creating a document for print it is important to keep in mind the following:

  1. Audience
  2. Format (book size)
  3. Construction (binding)
  4. Extent (number of pages)
  5. Elements to include (special features, pop ups, flaps, gate folds)
  6. Deadline
  7. Printing needs (colour or black white?)
  8. How is it being printed (digital, litho, screen printing, letterpress)
  9. Book cover (soft or hard?)
  10. Do I have everything I need? (Photos, illustrations, 300dpi scans?)

Before creating the document it is important to create a flat plan detailing what will be included in the front matter, content and the end matter. Once this is done you can go onto creating your document. In this induction we looked at how to create a new document with facing pages, then how to create a grid and determine the font size and baseline grid. We then went on to learn how to create master pages, one for our grid to go onto and one for our numbering system. Finally we looked at type and how to create paragraph styles, frames and adding columns to a frame.

After setting up our documents we moved onto introduction to preparing for print. We began by learning how to find information on the images within the document in order to check their actual and effective PPI, as well as the colour settings for the document. Once all of those settings had been checked we started to look at how to export the document as a PDF for print, this included making sure the correct version of PDF was chosen, making sure the document was exported as spreads instead of pages, including marks and bleeds, and checking the correct colour conversion setting is selected.

Once the document has been exported as a PDF it can be opened in Acrobat Pro where you can use the colour output preview settings to make sure the document is exported correctly, as this is how the printing company will view your document when you send it to them.

Finally we looked at doing our own imposition for our documents, despite the fact most printing companies will do this for you it is handy to know in case they request you do your own or for printing your own mock ups before going to print. This stage included a lot of technical information as Adobe InDesign is not designed well for doing imposition, in order to correctly impose our documents we had to add a postscript file to our software. Once this had been done we went through the process of creating imposition preset using this postscript file as the printer. Using this preset we selected print booklet, chose the booklet type we wanted and the signature sizes and printed the file. This file when printed had to be saved with a .ps extension instead of an .indd extension, the .ps file could be opened once saved and then exported as a PDF which is the file type most printing companies will request.

This induction was incredibly helpful, especially preparing for print. Previously I had been afraid to produce books as final outcomes for my projects as I was unsure on how to correctly set up a document and how to do the imposition for my pages, although I could easily find information online on how to set up a document I was unable to on how to impose my pages therefore this information was invaluable to me. Since doing this induction I plan on creating many more as part of my coursework as I can now confidently and efficiently create the documents and print them, therefore allowing me to focus more time on creating high quality content.