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Can an Ebook Look Good?


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The answer is: yes! An overview of the state of ebook typography and what's possible in that digital publishing space. Created by Erin Mallory and Laura Brady.

Published in: Education

Can an Ebook Look Good?

  1. 1. Erin MalloryManager, Cross-MediaHouse of Anansi PressEbook TypographyLaura BradyPrincipal, Brady Type
  2. 2. Overview1. What is Typography?2. Common Misconceptions3. What is Possible?
  3. 3. “Typography exists to honor content.”— Robert BringhurstThe Elements of Typographic StyleWhat Is Typography?
  4. 4. Elements of Typography• Enhance the content• Legibility• Readability• Aesthetics• Accessibility
  5. 5. Common Misconceptions“Books are the ultimate consumerist fetishobjects and yet e-readers have the leastcharacter of any object you can buy.”— Stephen Marche“Why I’ve Given Up on My Kindle,” Esquire
  6. 6. “It can’t look good, right?”• Digitized vs. Digital• Meat grinder• Poor QA• Devaluation of ebooks
  7. 7. CommonOCRErrors
  8. 8. Poor QA
  9. 9. Degraded Print Design
  10. 10. Degraded Print Design
  11. 11. How To Work Around DeviceDefaults?Option 1:You don’t
  12. 12. Option 2:Test TestTest
  13. 13. “A book is an object. An ebook is aservice.”— Baldur BjarnasonOption 3:Rethink the book
  14. 14. Option 4:Design to sound typographical standards• Survive user intervention• Survive device fragmentation• Degrade gracefully
  15. 15. Fonts• NEVER EMBED FONTS• Readers will just change the font anyway• Most devices can’t display embedded fonts• You don’t have / can’t afford the licence• ALWAYS EMBED FONTS• How else can I make it look exactly like the printversion?• Most devices can display embedded fonts• You already own the font so no problem
  16. 16. What is Possible?“[B]ooks aren’t sitting grumpily in economy class onthe airplane to the future. They’re in the cockpit.”— Richard Nash“What is the Business of Literature?”Virginia Quarterly Review, Spring 2013
  17. 17. White Space
  18. 18. ParagraphIndents
  19. 19. EditorialSpaces
  20. 20. Drop Caps
  21. 21. Small Caps
  22. 22. Structure
  23. 23. Headers
  24. 24. Sidebars
  25. 25. Block Quotes
  26. 26. Image +Caption
  27. 27. FloatingElements
  28. 28. EmbeddedFonts
  29. 29. Device Fonts
  30. 30. Pop-UpFootnotesEpub3 only
  31. 31. MediaQueries
  32. 32. Typographical Controls• Orphans/widows• Hyphenation• Letter-spacing• Columns• Page-break instructions
  33. 33. One Final ThoughtColour isFREE.Use it!
  34. 34. Don’t give up.Be creative and persistent.Raise the bar.— Amanda Gomm, Digital Bindery
  35. 35. Erin You!Laura