Children’s books are some of the most colorful and fun things. They carry within them a world of fantasy and life lessons in story form. Be it a book full of poems or a tale in 50 words, books weave their presence in every child’s life.
Children read books for pleasure and for educational purposes. To design a children’s picture book, you’ll need to consider lots of factors: purpose, book size, page count, quality of images, the flow of text, color, and more.
Target Audience: Identify the age bracket you want to focus your storybook on. Even 6 months makes a difference in the choice of a book a child reads. Understanding your audience is of utmost importance.
Research: On what children are into, the kind of books currently working, formats, styles, genres, the works.
Length of the book: The word count for children’s picture books is typically between 250 and 1,000 words. Remember the younger the child, the shorter the story and the lesser the words. Some books have only a word or two per page.
Editing: Once your story is ready, get it edited. The best is to get a fresh pair of eyes with solid knowledge of the language to do it. If you wish, there are professional editors available online.
Remember, the text should already be edited before the design work begins. You may have an idea as to how you want your book to appear, but following a fixed flow helps in determining the quality of the outcome.
Read the story out loud several times and note where natural pauses occur. Also note which words, phrases, sentences, or paragraphs lend themselves to an illustration.
Illustrations: You can either choose to use stock illustrations or create ones of your own. If using stock illustrations, ensure they have no copyright issues and have a high enough resolution to print.
Plan how to divide the story among the pages and how best to illustrate each 2-page spread. When designing a storybook, it is a good idea to create a storyboard or a mock-up. This ensures a visual representation of what you have in mind.
The most common types of illustrations for children’s storybooks are – two-page spreads, full-page illustrations, and spot illustrations.
Trim Sizes: The trim sizes available for children’s color picture books and board books are practically unlimited, ranging from very small to large. The best and safest thing to do is to stick to the standard size so the book can be printed in an offset printer, digital printer, or print on demand.
Page counts: Once the inside pages are ready, put a lot of thought and effort into what the cover page will look like. This is your book’s face, the sales pitch, so make it exceptional and unique.
The standard page count for a children’s picture book is 24 or 32. Twenty-four is often the minimum page count for perfect binding (slimmer books can be saddle-stitched). Multiples of 8 or 12 are most cost-effective for offset printing, and POD printers require multiples of 4.
Fonts: While choosing a font, make sure it is readable and is of a large-ish size. A simple serif or sans serif font should work best.
Do remember that your children’s storybook will include non-story pages as well, such as the title page, acknowledgment page, and copyright page.
Book Cover: What kind of cover will the book have – a paperback, hardcover, or will it be a board book? A hardcover book printing would ensure that the book lasts for a longer time considering the end-user is going to be a child. Stick to standard sizes and you’ll have lots of options for printing. Popular mid-sized children’s picture books are:
8″ × 8″ (square)
8″ × 10″ (portrait)
10″ × 8″ (landscape)
One may assume that because a Children’s storybook is easy to bring out as it has so few pages. On the contrary, this is what makes this a difficult task. Here, every word, color, font matters much more. And yet, this offers the unique amalgamation of design and words. So remember to enjoy the whole process.