August 24, 2023
Should you consider landscape books for your next book project? When you’re designing a printed project, the orientation is part of your decision. Should you choose portrait or landscape books? In this article, we’ll explain landscape books, portrait books, and when you should use either orientation in your projects.
How do you want readers to see your finished, printed project? A portrait orientation is the most popular choice because it’s compact, easy to read, and adaptable to many projects. Printing books in portrait orientation is simple and affordable compared to landscape books. Books, journals, directories, catalogs, brochures, and organizers all work well with a portrait orientation.
Landscape orientation, however, is better suited to art books, coffee table books, ledger books, certain technical manuals, and some children’s books. If you are trying to decide between portrait oriented books and landscape books, you should also consider the book’s size and binding style. When publishing on a self-publishing platform, make sure your book fits the requirements of your e-book publishing formats.
Portrait orientation is the standard for most books. A portrait oriented book is smaller in width than it is in height.
Portrait orientation feels natural to us because it fits well in the hand and is the orientation we typically see in photographs and artwork. Portrait orientation is the most affordable printing format because it results in less waste than printing landscape, square, or other formats. Portrait oriented books fit comfortably on shelves and in tote bags.
Traditional sizes of printed books are:
Portrait orientation is a good choice for all these sizes and genres.
Landscape books are those that emphasize horizontal artwork. One example is a book celebrating photography that features a picture on each page.
Art books, fashion books, and books that focus on geographical regions also lend themselves to a landscape format. When you design your book, the right margin size is important. Consider whether you want the photo to fill the entire page, creating a full-bleed print, or whether you want to balance your images with white space for an elegant look. The amount of text is another factor when creating a book that’s primarily visual.
Putting together an art book or coffee table book is a major project that requires a high level of artistic design to match the high quality of the images you’re displaying. Start by creating mockups before you start planning the printing of these landscape books. You can do this by planning the layout on pages of legal-size paper laid out in a landscape orientation.
Paper mockups give you a preview of what landscape books will look like once printed. Making them may seem like a lot of work, but it’s a good way to preview your book before you make costly printing mistakes. Besides, many authors find mockups fun to make because they give you a good idea of what the finished product will be.
Look at similar landscape books in bookstores or at the library. What trends do you spot that make these landscape books look appealing? How did the designers balance white space, pictures, and text? Do the landscape books include a mix of full-color bleeds, single images, and graphic cutouts? You may find that your ideas for margins, text, headlines, and captions may change after viewing a few examples.
If you choose a landscape orientation, your printing costs will be higher. Most printers are set up to produce portrait oriented books, which are the most popular format.
When a book is printed, printers align the grain of the pages with the book’s spine. This produces a book with easy-to-turn pages that fits well in the reader’s hands. In portrait oriented books, this means the grain is parallel to the longer side of the book. That’s why this type of binding is sometimes called “long side bind” or “long edge bind.”
In landscape books, the grain is parallel to the shorter edge. This produces a book that can feel top-heavy when someone holds it. It’s also a book whose pages are more difficult to turn. During the printing process, large chunks of a landscape book’s margins are cut off. This is part of the natural waste involved in any printing project, but landscape books produce more of this waste.
Book printing presses use blocks to hold the pages together during printing. These blocks are mostly used for portrait oriented books, and resetting them for landscape books can result in lost pages and large amounts of scrap material. Working with an experienced printer will reduce this waste.
A landscape oriented book also needs a larger front cover and back cover. Producing this larger size will increase your printing costs.
If you’re printing a children’s book, it should be in one of the standard industry sizes:
Children’s books can be landscape or portrait oriented. Since a children’s book has a small number of pages, there is more freedom to design the book without worrying about waste or excessive cost.
Although portrait oriented books are the standard of all genres, you do see children’s books in landscape orientation because this orientation allows the book designer to include the full-color, full-bleed pictures that make children’s books so beautiful.
When you print brochures, flyers, and other marketing materials, you have many options for size and orientation. The standard size is what’s known as standard letter or computer paper size, which is 8.5 x 11 in the U.S. and A4 size in the rest of the world.
Flyers and brochures are printed materials that play an important role in any marketing campaign. Typically, flyers are inexpensively printed announcements that you mail, distribute by hand, or hang up on a bulletin board. They are designed for quick use and are especially helpful to announce one-time events like a sale or a new business opening.
Flyers are handy because they are affordable to print and equally affordable to distribute. They don’t have to be printed on the highest-quality paper. They should, however, be eye-catching and contain your contact information.
A brochure is like an expanded flyer. It goes into more detail about your product, service, or organization. Unlike a flyer, a brochure is designed to be kept, read repeatedly, and handed around several times. Typically, it is printed in color on higher-quality, more durable paper. Brochures cost more to print and distribute, but they are a necessity for any professional promotional outreach.
There’s another difference between flyers and brochures. Brochures are folded. They are usually printed with these folding styles:
These folding formats work for brochures of any size and any orientation.
Like books, brochures and flyers are typically printed in portrait orientation. They are easy to read and fit comfortably in the hand.
When you start a new print project, the orientation is an important part of the layout. Whether you choose portrait or landscape, you will get the best results when you work with an experienced, professional printing company. Talk to Publishing Xpress about our stellar customer service and affordable rates.
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