Book Page Layout: Typesetting Terms, Examples and Samples

What Does a Print Ready Typeset Page Layout Look Like?

thumbnail image: single typeset page with crops, grayscale, color bar and alignment marks, bleed and slug

The richness and quality of your book's page layout design (or typesetting) is crucial to your book's overall finished appearance. How it's laid out and produced for printing is essential. Although many companies, layout technicians and book designers still can use Quark or PageMaker to produce your book's layout, Adobe's newest offering: InDesign, is currently considered the leader of the pack or the head of the class slightly ahead of the rest, when it comes to page layout and book component designs produced by printers.

PDF Format Files, Page Layout Progams: InDesign

Although Adobe InDesign is currently the primary program used to produce high resolution, high quality PDF source materials for all types of books. PDF is not actually the native InDesign format for creating or saving files. In fact, many programs actually produce PDF files suitable for printing books. PDF is an acronym used for Portable Document File. A lot of the precision of the PDF format comes from its generation based on EPS print related items. EPS stands for Encapsulated Post Script, which is actually a printer language, that high end film machines and digital presses use to EXACTLY locate each dot, of ink, size, color, density, and at a very high line screen of resolution (sometimes over 2400). This EPS printer language requires precise fonts, with perfect curvature and fills, same thing for pictures. In the past, people actually ordered scans of their photos in EPS format, so they could go straight to films and 4 color press operations with no real chance of the colors and locations of color items being misplaced or out of gambit.

thumbnail image: single typset verson-page, without highlighting and typesetting terminology inserted, email with further questions

Since InDesign is made by Adobe, and speaks type, color and placements thereof in fluent EPS "encapsulated post script" and its derivative PDF file format, many (but not all) printers, publishers, and layout engineers often consider InDesign, to be the current heir to venerable Adobe Pagemaker page layout program. Currently most printers prefer the simpler, "trouble free" nature of working with files that are generated in, and that can be adjusted in, the native InDesign format, as the press operation requires. Many ask that we provide them with "trouble free" PDF files generated by InDesign as their preferred way to send print ready files to the printer.

Wanted by Printers, Publishers: Print Ready Typeset Pages

Here is what one looks like, with a basic style applied and ready to output to film, digital press, or large offset printing operations. Just below this picture, is a list of terms, that printers and book designers use regularly, and are helpful to doing anything related to publishing and printing books.

image of single VERSO typeset page with crops, grayscale, color bar and alignment marks, bleed and slug, without typesetting terms highlighted

Book Design and Printing Terms: Typical Typeset Pages

  • Crops, Crop Marks
  • Bleeds, Page Bleeds, Edge, Top and Bottom Bleeds
  • Gutter, Glued Spines, Saddle Stitched Spine, Sewn Spines, Hybrids
  • Slugs, Cropped Edge of Pages, File Data, Approvals, Work Flow, Dates, Signatures
  • Recto
  • Verso
  • Miscellaneous Items

Typeset Page from Book with Terminology Highlighted

image of single RECTO typeset page with crops, grayscale, color bar and alignment marks, bleed and slug, with highlighted typesetting terms
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