Working with self-publishers & small presses is a wonderful thing: they are dedicated to each project & open to new ideas. The work turns into a very collaborative process and I can offer new approaches to the book design.

This is a project we’re about to finish for a new customer, a small publisher: a poetry book for children.

Poems are very delicate creatures, and normally I wouldn’t dare manipulate the layout of poetry. However, the client specifically requested a book designer’s approach for the typography and layout.

By reading the poems I realized that each one had its own individual identity within the whole group of poems. I thought it would be interesting to bring out the story of each poem by using the typography to reinforce that unique character or situation.

I envisioned a book that the reader would find engaging & attractive to the eye. So, I mixed text and illustration by allowing the lettering to form parts of the illustration.


One of the reasons I started looking for alternatives to the more traditional approach was that the publisher wanted her target audience to be children from 6 to 12 years old. Six-year-olds need bigger font than 12-year-olds. Using different font sizes throughout the book opens the book to a broader audience, whereas setting all the text in one size would target a more specific age group.



Since the book will be printed in black ink only, a few pages with black background sprinkled throughout the book is a good option for breaking the black on white (caution! you need to discuss this option with your printer).