Intelligent Design (in Publishing)

Enough about me. Everybody knows what text editors do. (Or do you? Tune in later this week to find out.) Let’s talk about what text editors can’t do. Specifically this:

So these guys are fighting
…and these girls are fighting
over the perfect beverage.
No. But good guess.
They’re actually fighting
about whose cover is best.
See that? Well, we text editors can take approximately 0.5% of the credit for what you see. These eye-catching covers would not be catching any eyes if text editors were in charge of creating them. The same goes for books’ interiors–minus the words, of course. Authors and editors handle the words, but if the words are presented in an uninteresting format, what you’ve got is a Net Boring Book. 
Awesome text + Boring Design + Boring Images (or, gasp, No Images) = Boring 
You can thank our photo editors and designers for coming up with the visual magic that makes Lerner books so much more than words on a page. 
Check out that interior. Hard to look away, huh?
They do this against rather severely stacked odds. Consider the photo editors. Their job is to take my often vague–or, more often, unrealistically specific–suggestions for what kinds of photos to put in a book, and then to actually find photos that are 
A) appropriate for the subject matter–that is, a photo of Carmelo Anthony is great, but not if the book’s about Kevin Love; 
B) appropriate for the age level–this becomes particularly tricky when, say, ancient Greek statuary is involved;
C) of good quality; and 
D) affordable. 
It’s almost impossible to score a bull’s eye on this Venn Diagram, especially when editors like me are telling you to look for photos of either “a building from ancient Rome” or “the south-facing facade of the Pantheon at sundown, with a tourist waving in the foreground.” We’re a tough crowd to please, we text editors–yet photo editors and designers not only manage to meet our expectations, but in fact exceed them. 
Did you see this coming?
(Neither did the scientists of the 16th and 17th centuries.)
This post is, in layman’s terms, a shoutout. Designers and photo editors don’t get enough credit for their crucial, imaginative work. And many of them, especially Danielle Carnito, are too busy doing that work to blog about it themselves, so the least I can do is tip my hat in their direction.
“Whoa. I was about to throw this football, 
but then it hit me–
my book is so well designed.
I’ve just gotta ruminate on this for a minute.”