I will admit that I was a little taken aback when I found out that Ms. Gil-Montero assigned me to lead the team for the interior design of Why Poetry? by Joe O’Connor. This was not my first foray into the realm of interior design for books, but my only previous experience was a little chapbook I made out of my own work, which had no consequences for quality or lack thereof.
So I knew about a lot of the details we would need to take into account, including fonts, page numbers, sizing, and spacing. Some things that were new included the copyright page, the table of contents, the acknowledgments, and the author biography—all supplemental material that made the book more “official.” In addition to creating the design for these elements, my team was in charge of writing the copy for most of them.
Luckily for me, I had three awesome team members who were prepared to fearlessly jump into the design process. Clair, Haleigh, and Jake all made essential contributions every step of the way. Before we even opened InDesign, the software we used to design the book, we had to choose fonts, proofread the manuscript, and write the acknowledgements, the copyright page, and the table of contents.
Using the website dafont.com, each of us found five fonts that we thought we could use for either titles or body text. We could not use just any font, though. The fonts we chose needed to be free for commercial use, since we are selling the book, and they needed to be TrueType fonts, meaning that the font files ended in .ttf, so that the text would look the same after we sent it to the printer.
Meanwhile, Haleigh meticulously proofread the manuscript, Clair drafted the acknowledgements, which we later sent to Ms. Gil-Montero and Joe for approval, and I typed up the copyright page, copying most of it from Eulalia’s previous chapbook, Prepoems in PostSpanish by Jorgenrique Adoum.
Finally, we met to start the actual design. Out of all the font options we came up with, we chose one serif font for titles (Angleterre Book) and one sans serif font for the body text (Roboto Light). This arrangement mirrors the cover design by Micaela’s team, which featured a heavier font for the title of the chapbook and a sans serif font for Joe’s name. I also liked the sans serif font for the body because Joe’s poetry is very open and honest, and the unadorned sans serif font reflects that character.
After all this preparation, the actual designing part felt somewhat anticlimactic. We established the guidelines that made boxes for titles and body text; we decided what size to make all the text. The rest was mostly copying and pasting text boxes and the text from the manuscript. (We took turns, so no one got carpal tunnel.) Then the very last step was to make changes after Ms. Gil-Montero proofread the designed copy. And I’m really happy with the way it turned out!