• Jan 23, 2016

    design, InDesign, typesetting

    Typesetting with non-breaking spaces

    Years ago, I helped a major museum create a list of abbreviations (and other elements that typically appear in scholarly manuscripts) before or after which it would be good to have non-breaking spaces. You know, like after the p. in “see p. 284” or before the in. in dimensions (8 x 8 in.).

    Typesetting non-breaking spaces

    When I’m commissioned as typesetter, I bring in these non-breaking spaces at the initial typesetting stage. InDesign has a powerful Find/Change feature that makes this a simple task. Doing it early on ensures that none of these awkward breaks will appear in first pass pages and saves lots of time and effort on behalf of the designer and editorial staff.

    “I can’t handle reflow at this point!”

    On occasion, I’m brought in to finish up design and production on a book when the designer is unable to get the work done on time. The entire book will have already been laid out and at least one round of edits may have been done. Generally, the editor will mention that there are numerous bad breaks due to the designer not adding these non-breaking spaces and will ask me to fix all of them. I have to point out that if I make the changes globally at this point, line breaks will change and text may reflow from page to page, which is a big problem if the index has already been developed. (These books usually do not contain InDesign-generated indexes.)

    “I can’t handle reflow at this point!” is the typical response. This means I have to find and replace these spaces one by one and fix any bad line breaks or text reflow. That’s quite a time-consuming process. So save your publisher some money and make these changes before first pass. Your editor will love you.

    Jan 23, 2016

    design, InDesign, typesetting

  • Fine Art Book Designers #3: Katy Homans

    For the past ten years, I’ve had the privilege of typesetting books designed by the very talented Katy Homans, so I was thrilled when she agreed to be interviewed for this series. Katy is known for her cover designs for New York Review Books; her collaborations with photographers, such as Lee Friedlander; and her complex, multi-volume catalogue raisonné designs. In addition to being a talented art book designer, she is as generous with her time as she can be.

    Tell me a bit about your background, your education, how you got started as an art book designer.

    I’ve had a marvelously privileged education. I discovered a love of pattern sewing costumes for high school plays; studied at the rare book library in college; went to work as a letterpress printer for David R. Godine; held various design-related jobs; and finally attended the Yale MFA graphic design program with a semester at the Royal College of Art in London. There I discovered the work of Robert Brownjohn, maverick conceptual designer of ’60s New York and London, and was able to write an extensive thesis about him and his work. Starting at Godine I’d been designing books, so it was easy to keep working while I was in school and then afterwards. Having studied art history as an undergrad has helped me enormously.

    catalogues raisonnés

    Who are some of your favorite artists (whether you’ve worked on their books or not)?

    With no exceptions I’ve come to appreciate the work of all the artists I’ve worked with, from Wendy Ewald to Lee Friedlander; Rembrandt to 18th century Indian drawings to John James Audubon to Shahzia Sikander. That’s been one of the great bonuses of designing art books, the opportunity to look closely at such a wide range of material. I try to get to the exhibitions for which I’ve designed catalogues: the originals inevitably surprise and delight.

    Please describe a few of your favorite projects. Are there any interesting stories about how you came to work on them? Any big challenges that popped up during the project? If so, how did you handle them?

    Collaboration is my favorite medium. I worked on the design of a series of posters for the schools of Tanzania (Wendy Ewald’s project) with a small group of local teachers in a classroom with a dirt floor and one lightbulb. My first major book with Lee Friedlander (Letters from the People) was done with Lee on a xerox that could go to 25%, 75%, or 128% (something like that). The greater the challenge the greater the reward; the conversations keep moving, and we’re all surprised in the end.

    Do you have any interesting stories from press checks? Do you get to travel much to interesting locales for press checks?

    There is always a benefit to going on press, and great camaraderie between designers and printers. The most exotic location I’ve visited is Tanzania, but the most unfamiliar approach to art-book printing was a plant in rural Pennsylvania.

    Have any of your books received any special awards you’d like to mention?

    I have had my share of awards! But the greatest reward is always a successful collaboration.

    Are you an artist yourself? If so, what type of art do you create? Would you like to share any of it?

    Art appreciator, not maker!

    If you had to choose another career, what would it be?

    I would have added teaching to my practice.

    Tina Henderson Book Designer - website images

    Katy was also profiled on the Yale Art Books blog.