The Design of Natural Satellites

If you ever wonder if a designer really looks at every single aspect of a book when designing….yes. Yes we do. For this post I asked designer Lindsey Owens to give us some insight on choices behind the design elements in our new Twenty-First Century Books title Natural Satellites: The Book of Moons by Ron Miller — here’s the scoop:

Much of the design for Natural Satellites fell into place around Miller’s illustrations. Miller’s work is so striking and gorgeous, and I wanted to be sure the rest of the design emphasized it, rather than fought with it. This made for perhaps the easiest cover design process I’ve ever experienced; all that was needed was a simple type treatment with an outer glow to evoke the cosmic feeling of outer space.

The interior design followed suit. To take full advantage of Miller’s illustrations, I wanted many of them bleed off the page to give them as much real estate as possible, which immediately lent an engaging dynamic to the layout. Because the images boast the heavy colors of outer space, the accompanying design utilizes soft and subtle creams and blues that don’t overwhelm the page. The black on the chapter opener pages also feels at home with the illustrations, and keeps those spreads from feeling too light in comparison with the others. 

The same idea inspired the treatment for the image captions. I didn’t want the captions that sat on the illustrations to impede with a shape of their own; luckily, the predominantly black landscape of outer space provided a great back drop for white type. Likewise, the captions positioned beneath the framed photos are just as simple and subtle.

In addition, the circles featured on the chapter heads, folios, and inset sidebars nod to the text’s focus on moons. The circle shape itself is simple enough to add interest but not so much to draw attention from the illustrations and the text. Here, too, I make sure of the soft outer glow to help them read more like a moon rather than a flat shape.

Thanks, Lindsey, for sharing your design mind with us today!

One thought on “The Design of Natural Satellites

Leave a Reply