What You Need To Know About Children's Book Design (2023)

It's no doubt that a well design children's book can win more children's love. In this post, we will from content to the binding, to explore how to design an excellent children's book.

What You Need To Know About Children's Book Design (1)

As the saying goes, "Three-year-old looks young, seven-year-old looks old". This is a summary of people's experience in observing their own growth. From infancy, children's perceptual ability, cognitive activities, thinking, emotion, and behavioral activities have been initially formed and developed. Books, as the most extensive carrier for conveying and feeling. They play an especially important role in supporting, educating, and guiding human beings in the early stages of growth. To respect the rights and interests of children, support children to discover their potential, guide children to grow up healthily. So that every child has the best start in life and a living space with unlimited joy. So, the core concept ofchildren's book designshould be healthy, interesting and educational.

The return of children's books to human's initial cognition and feelings has higher requirements in design fantasy, association, thinking, innovation, etc. The form of children's books is not only alienated from internal and external forms. But also to rely on the development of current technology. Perfecting its use in materials, binding, printing and other crafts to make the perfect combination of art and technology. These are not only to play the role of conveying children's education, but also a pursuit and yearning for returning to nature.

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Four key points of children's book design

1. Alienation of form

Children's understanding of shapes is constantly deepened from rectangles, circles, squares, triangles to cylinders, cones, etc., from plane figures to three-dimensional figures. Similarly, in the children’s book design process, attention should be paid to children's cognition and methods. Just as book design requires the unity of content and form. Designers need to have childlike innocence. And only when they fully understand children's psychology can they design good works.

Under the imagination of the wild and unconstrained style, children are not bound by the inherent form. Children's books with special-shaped format are more common. The selection of special-shaped format should pay attention to the selection of content and the control of realistic limitations. The appearance of books is out of the control of the technical level. And there are strange circles, fan shapes, etc., which increase the cost. Children's learning knowledge will continue to update the speed. So the value positioning of children's books must be greatly reduced, which is like children growing taller. Clothes need to be changed later, and their retention value is lower than adult books because they are replaced more frequently.

To get rid of the shackles of the plane, the movable "pop-up book" has been launched as early as the 19th century. When flipping through a book, the pictures on the book present a three-dimensional shape. The advantages of such books greatly explain the interactive and interesting nature of children's books, and can better guide children to read books. It is children's nature to love to play, and the tools for playing are called toys. Learning is an important process for children's growth, and the tools for learning are mainly books.

Thus, the combination of toys and books gave birth to the concept of "toy book". The toy book has the unity of content and form, jumps out of the confines of the plane book, and creates a real and direct three-dimensional space. The alienated form increases the fun and functionality of reading. Allowing children to actively "play" with books, fully embodying the interactivity conveyed by books. Also enabling children to fully experience the fun brought by books.

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Today's children's books are designed to simulate shapes, touches, deformations, sounds, etc. These are the results obtained in the exploration of children's books. These are reflected in children's learning and interaction. But, in view of the special features of children's abstract memory. It is necessary to design a book that can guide children to recognize and imagine the information conveyed by books more intuitively.

2. The use of materials in children's book design

What You Need To Know About Children's Book Design (2)

Materialsare the most important carrier of sensory experience. Also, the means for readers to experience the "five senses" of vision, touch, hearing, smell and taste. There are a wide range of materials used in book design today. And the addition of various organic materials enables their characteristics to be displayed in books. Children's books, like children's toys, have higher requirements for composition and texture than adult books. Besides, to the application of paper, it is more necessary to choose natural fiber materials, such as silk, cloth, wood, leather, etc. Among them, the soft texture of cotton fabrics is mostly used as a carrier for children to contact and feel the world. It is safe and harmless, beneficial to children's health, and the price is low. Not only used in children's toys, natural fiber materials are also more widely used in children's products.

In some children's books, a small amount of fur, chemical fiber, etc. are used as auxiliary materials, and are used in specific places to recognize the world. Helping children to recognize, experience and feel the world through the "five senses". But, this will have certain limitations. The understanding of information conveyed by books is more derived from the experience of adults, such as authors and designers. And to a certain extent ignores the exploration and growth of things in the childhood stage. It is easy for children to form the inherent thinking of social groups.

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To achieve the unity of content and form, form and children's psychology in children's books. The designer needs to have the same imagination as children. Such a childlike innocence is very necessary. Children's understanding of the world begins with concrete, real, visible, and tangible objects. Books convey knowledge to children in the form of objects, so that children can gain cognitive experience. For the materials, books mostly use the colors of images with certain inherent characteristics that children are interested in, and are selected according to children's understanding of physical materials at each stage. Hands-on and mutual assistance will enable children to learn by themselves. As well as the ability to live in harmony with nature and society.

3. Children's book binding way

What You Need To Know About Children's Book Design (3)

The binding method of children's book design is more to play a practical role in the alienation of form. In today's market, where alienation forms emerge in an endless stream, there are various novel binding methods. But, more binding needs to consider children's physiological characteristics. Children's physiological coordination is not stable enough. Their actions are somewhat random and destructive. This requires safe and effective binding design methods.

Nowadays, convenient and practical methods, such as glue binding and saddle stitch, are widely used in children's books. But according to children's behavior characteristics. These binding methods can not get safe and tough effects. The binding method of children's books caters to the innovative form of alienation. Meanwhile, pay attention to the growth characteristics of children at different stages.Board book binding, hardcover, ring binding, etc. methods can apply in design books. They are more suitable for children's reading habits and methods .

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4. Children's book printing technology

Printing is a technical process in which graphic information is copied onto a carrier. In the modern age of advanced printing technology. The display of text, images, and colors on materials perfectly enriches the meaning originally given to books. It can be said that printing provides a guarantee for the effect of book design and the last form of book form. Similarly, in children's book design, the printing process also affects the quality of the book and the expression of the designer's creative ideas. A new foothold for an idea ultimately needs to be displayed in a suitable printing method.Children's book printingis major built on the communication and exchange between the children’s book printer and the designer. Clearly positioning the designer's intention point, and properly conveying the carrying information.

But, children have limited interaction with printing at the end of the entire design process. So they pay more attention to the final communication effect. This requires designers to have a childlike innocence while creating. Also need to pay attention to the use of printing technology in the final design expression process. The improvement of printing technology has made the visual experience perfect. The improvement of printing technology has fully deepened the "five senses" experience of children's book design.

Aiming at the magical and curious psychological characteristics of children. In the design of children's books, designers should be full of imagination, fantasy and romanticism. Children's reasoning ability and logic ability are poor, they can't synchronize with the way of thinking of adults. They are very sensitive to intuitive objects and images. Thus, the design of children's books must be full of childlike innocence, from content to form. Designers should return their thinking to the initial stage of life.

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What You Need To Know About Children's Book Design? ›

How long is a picture book? Story-based or fiction picture books are usually 32 pages long and vary between 500 to 1000 words. They are designed for pre-schoolers and children in the first few years of primary school, and are usually intended to be read aloud as a shared experience between an adult and child.

How many pages should an illustrated children's book be? ›

How long is a picture book? Story-based or fiction picture books are usually 32 pages long and vary between 500 to 1000 words. They are designed for pre-schoolers and children in the first few years of primary school, and are usually intended to be read aloud as a shared experience between an adult and child.

What makes a good children's book illustration? ›

Children's book illustrations need to be accessible and easy to interpret. They also need to grab the attention of the particular age range that you're creating them for and must communicate the emotion of the story.

What are 5 characteristics of a good children's book? ›

10 Characteristics of a Good Children's Book
  • A Good Children's Book Has Meaningful Illustrations. ...
  • Interesting and Varied Language is Used Throughout. ...
  • The Story Includes Relatable Characters. ...
  • A Good Children's Book is Developmentally Appropriate. ...
  • Important and Teachable Lessons Are Presented. ...
  • The Setting is Intriguing.

What is the basic structure of a children's book? ›

Beginning, Middle and End

A good children's book will have an evident beginning, middle, and end. This helps the child reading the book grow and learn along with the main character. There should be a problem or incident the main character needs to solve from the beginning.

How much does it cost to illustrate a 32 page children's book? ›

Bestselling author Joanna Penn estimates that the average pay for a 32-page picture book is $3,000 – $12,000, meaning a 32 page book with 20 illustrations equates anywhere from $150 to $600 per illustration. Publishing expert Anthony Puttee estimates a slightly lower standard rate of about $120 per illustration.

What should you not do when illustrating a children's book? ›

Don't try to show too much in the illustrations. They should add to the story, but if the illustrations need to show too much, it will become confusing, messy or be lost on the reader or child. Don't be too conceptual or abstract… especially for younger children.

What percentage do illustrators get for children's books? ›

In addition to your advance, your children's book contract will include your royalty rate. According to the Graphic Artists' Guild Handbook, average royalty rates for children's book illustrators are 3.5 to 6%. If you are both the author and the illustrator, average royalty rates are 7% to 12%.

What is the best art style for a children's book? ›

Cartoonish illustrations

It is the first style that comes to mind when we talk about children's book illustrations. Characters in these drawings often have exaggerated features and unnatural colors or traits that make them more relatable and understandable for children.

What is the popular children's book format? ›

Children's books are typically a 7” square or 7” x 10”, so that is often a good choice for your kid's book layout. However, you can make your children's book whatever size you prefer. Larger book sizes, such as 8” x 10” and 8.5” x 11” are also popular.

What software do children's book illustrators use? ›

Some of the best-known illustration apps are Procreate, Adobe Photoshop Sketch, and Paper. Whether you're working in the digital realm or with pen and paper, mastering a few essential book illustration tools will see you well on your way to developing your own unique style of illustration.

What is the best color for a children's book? ›

Red is a good fit for a scary chapter book or picture book about emotions. Yellow is happy, meaning a yellow book cover signals an uplifting, lighthearted, feel-good story. Blue is, of course, calming. A dark blue cover is perfect for a bedtime story.

What makes a children's book high quality? ›

Like a piece of art, a good children's book is greater than the sum of its parts. It is honest, has a sense of wonder, and shows respect for the young child. The text and illustrations are integrated to raise the quality of the book.

What should every children's book have? ›

It has an important lesson. The story is easy to follow for your chosen age-range. The illustrations are high-quality and professional. It's relatable to a wide range of children.

How much money can you make writing a children's book? ›

On average, though, the royalties from children's books range from 1% to 5% of the RRP of the book. A higher percentage may be given to authors who are either i) extremely experienced and well-known, meaning that bookstores will buy the book simply because of the author (NB.

How do you make a children's book and sell it? ›

Step-by-Step Guide to Publish a Children's Book
  1. Know Your Target Audience. ...
  2. Refine Your Manuscript. ...
  3. Find an Agent (for Traditional or Indie Publishing) ...
  4. Submit Your Manuscript to Publishers. ...
  5. List of Children's Book Publishers. ...
  6. Purchase an ISBN number + Barcode. ...
  7. Scan Illustrations at a High Resolution. ...
  8. Copyright Your Book.
Nov 22, 2022

How much does it cost to make a children's book? ›

But overall, you should expect to spend around $1,500-$6,000. (Yep, that's right! It took me a while to wrap my mind around it.) Keep in mind that when I talk about costs, especially the cost to self-publish a children's picture book, you need to consider the specificities of the genre.


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