Pleasures of Design

The opening or preliminary pages of a publication – usually called “prelims” – give the designer of even a simple booklet, the opportunity to flex his or her typographic muscles and display the type rather than concentrate on continuous text.

The design of the prelims should always reflect the style of the rest of the document. If the text is centred then the prelims should be too. They should also follow the basic grid.

In bookwork the prelims usually include a half title, title, imprint, contents, list of illustrations and introduction; but for more ephemeral publications the half title will almost certainly be omitted and the rest of the information can be combined on one or two pages. So the title page or even the cover might include the contents list and imprint.

In this way the number of prelim pages can be varied to suit the length of the document. This can be very useful if it is being bound in sections rather than single leaves. Sections are made from folded sheets, so the number of pages has to be a multiple of 4 (or better still 8). Varying the number of prelim pages may be a convenient way of achieving this.

more ... The opening pages – Part 2