Book Design Glossary
Terms and their definitions to common book design lingo.
Below you’ll find a list of terms and their definitions to common book design terms.
100% Black: The shade of black used in black and white printing. The CMYK color values for 100% black (also known as “flat black”) are 0,0,0,100, which means it contains no colors other than black.
4-Color Black: Also known as “rich black,” this is a range of deeper black hues which are made up of all four colors of ink. 4-color black should be used for large areas of black in books that will be printed in color.
Back Cover/Full Cover: A single image file containing your back cover, front cover, and spine. Back cover and full cover are frequently used interchangeably when describing a book’s files.
Bleed: Excess printed area that’s trimmed after printing. Having bleed in your files ensures that full-page images take up the entire page and are not left with a fine, white edge after trimming.
CMYK: An abbreviation for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and BlacK, which are the ink colors used in 4-color printing.
Display Fonts: Fonts typically used for headlines, sales handles, titles, or headings. They’re typically decorative and more attention-grabbing than a typical serif or sans serif font.
Eproof: An electronic proof of your final files, which you can use to verify the files before they’re sent to the printer.
Formatting Tag: A written tag inserted into your manuscript while it’s still a Word document that lets your formatter know something special needs to happen in your layout.
Full Interior: Your fully formatted book. During full interior layout, you’ll want to make any and all revisions to your book.
InDesign: The industry standard software used for page layout.
Revision: Any change you wish to make in a document.
Sample Chapter: A single, formatted chapter of your book created before the full interior goes through layout. The sample chapter is used to determine exactly how to format the rest of your book.
Sans-Serif Font: A font without serifs. Popular sans-serif fonts include Helvetica, Arial, and Avenir.
Serif Font: A font with a small line attached to the end of each stroke. Popular serif fonts include Garamond, Baskerville, Minion Pro, and Times New Roman.
Source Files: The “native” files of a document, from which the rest of your project is built. For a book’s interior layout, this would be a fully packaged InDesign file.