Now that you have a beautiful cover that is going to draw people in, you need to start thinking about your interior design (layout). This is where the reader will spend most of their time and a disorganised layout will prevent the reader from enjoying your book (or worst case, not read it at all). Your layout should balance creativity and readability, meaning that the design should be attractive whilst adhering to industry standards. You also need to consider the genre of your book. What do other books in the genre look like? Every genre is different, just take a look below!

However, below is a list of standard elements that will affect your layout:

  1. Trim size

This refers to your book’s size. You can choose from standard sizes (trade, A5, pocket) or choose a custom size (210 x 250 mm). Your genre and content will influence your book size. Think about who is going to use the book: an A4 landscape book might not be the right choice for a novel that your reader quickly wants to slip into their bag on the way to the park!


  1. Typefaces

This refers to font your text is going to be set in. Create the look of your text pages by playing with different typefaces, weights, text sizes, and making sure these elements all speak to one another. You can choose from endless options, but you need to make sure it is readable and suits your content. The ‘periodic table’ below showcases some of the most popular typefaces used today. For more information on typefaces, see our article covering typography.

  1. Page structure

This refers to page elements like headings, sub-headings, chapter and part openers, page numbers and running headers. Headings and sub-headings should be designed to show the correct hierarchy, for example, the heading of a chapter will be bigger and bolder than a heading within the text. Headings and sub-heading can also be numbered to show hierarchy. We call these heading levels. Other elements that a book could include are, for example, endnotes and footnotes, cross-references and text that needs to be distinguished from body text, such as quotes.

  1. Images and graphics (graphs, tables, diagrams)

This refers to visual elements that accompany your text such as photographs, illustrations, graphs, tables and diagrams. Visual elements can often make the meaning of your text easier to absorb. Avoid using visual elements that do not relate or support understanding of the text, as readers may find this confusing. Visual elements should be planned out and be inspired by the text.

Examples of different text designs


This is a text-only fiction book and there are no visual elements that accompany the text. Here, the focus is on the typography and making sure that the typefaces chosen work together and complement the text. The text design is simple, with ample margin space and a readable serif typeface has been chosen for the body text.
Example of a fiction book layout that is text-only

Children’s book

The main focus here is the illustration with minimal text. A creative and fun typeface has been chosen and is set is a larger font size to make it more attractive to and readable for children.
Example of children's book layout


The cookbook layout balances text and photography bu splitting the book’s spread into one side for text and the other for a full page photograph. 
Example of cookbook layout

All these elements need to work together to create a cohesive look and feel for your book. The good news is you don’t have to figure it all out on your own. From Jacana’s vast library, we will pick layout styles that we think will work for your book, to allow you to express a preference for a certain style or combination of design elements.

If you would like to get a quote for publishing your book, you can contact the Staging Post at or call us on 011 628 3210. 

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