Book Layout & Design Ideas │Layout 1

This blog series is designed to provide some basic book design ideas for your books, magazines, or ebooks. The spreads you see here, and the added notes, are not meant to be reflections of perfect book design or book layout, only a baseline from which to begin your own book journey.

Layout 1.1

Book Layout Idea 1.1

Here, I’ve run an image across the gutter, but not across the entire width of both pages. Please note: There is nothing essential to the image lost in the gutter. If I did have something essential in that portion of the image, I would simply choose another design. Also, note that the image title is in gray, while the caption below is in full black. This helps separate the two, allowing the viewer to quickly recognize there are multiple lines of text. All of the elements—the image, the title, and the caption—align on the left, which I ensure by using “guides” in the layout software.

Top book layout tip
For a seamless, double spread panoramic experience choose Layflat Paper.

Layout 1.2

Book Layout Idea 1.2

What I’ve done here is run the image across both pages, leaving a small, white border. I don’t always leave a border, but here I like how the white anchors the image, which is mostly black. I think the contrast works well. I’ve also reversed my title and caption and placed them on the image, in a non-critical area. I could have placed the title and caption on either page of the book based on this same rule.

Layout 1.3

Book Layout Idea 1.3

This is just one example of how to run a landscape image on a portrait page. Running images small isn’t a bad thing. In some ways, it’s even more intimate than running it across both pages. I’ve centered the image but weighted it slightly to the top half of the page. I’ve centered the caption and aligned the title. The page on the left is blank on purpose. White space helps to simplify your message, allows your work to breathe, and emphasizes that the image is important and should be considered as such.

What are your top tips when it comes to book design? Share your comments, questions, and ideas on these layouts below.


  • Peter John Wharton says:
    Jun 4 at 07:52

    Such useful advice. ‘SHOWING’ not ‘TELLING’ Brilliant, Mr, Milnor. Thank you.

    Peter Wharton,
    Queensland Australia


  • Daniel Milnor says:
    Jun 7 at 05:07

    Hey Peter, thanks for taking the time to comment. Sorry I was slow to reciprocate. I like creating these posts as I don’t see many discussions on the topic, at least not in this form. More on the way.

    1. Peter John Wharton says:
      Jun 11 at 08:40

      I agree – (not too much on this important topic), so your contribution is very welcome. I’ve just been catching up on your Ingram piece. ‘Hit the Books with Dan Milnor & Ingram: Selling and Distributing Your Book – Webinar Recap
. Such a wealth of important material. Thank you once again.

      1. Daniel Milnor says:
        Jun 11 at 08:55

        Hey Peter, I enjoy writing back, which is what makes something like a blog more attractive than social. I like the conversation. Just so you know, we also just finished a webinar with Kickstarter, so if you are literally going to Kickstart…this might be a good listen.

        1. Peter John Wharton says:
          Jun 14 at 06:20

          Indeed – I am attempting to ‘tune in’ to as many of these webinars as i can. Just a little problem with the zones (I live in Australia) Your webinars etc., are very helpful. I spent the last 25 years of my teaching life at the Queensland College of Art – a college of Griffith University and naturally appreciate the support learning you make available at Blurb.

          1. Daniel Milnor says:
            Jun 14 at 07:28

            The webinars are on YouTube, so you can return as needed. Teaching art in America has become a quick way to lose one’s job. Glad to see Australia is keeping it alive. Next month’s webinar is more about photography, so it should be fun.

          2. Peter John Wharton says:
            Jun 15 at 06:04

            I will look out for it . . .

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