Designing a Book: A Study in Scarlet

In the fall of 2018, spurred on by the approaching holiday season, I decided to take on an ambitious project: designing an entire book and printing it at the MSU Main Library. I knew someone who was becoming a big Sherlock Holmes fan, but hadn’t actually read the first book yet. I decided to design my own version and give it to them as a Christmas present.

I used Google Drawings, my favorite mockup tool, to make the preliminary cover sketch. I came up with two options, got feedback from coworkers who had also read the book, and created the final version with InDesign.

The final design was a blend of both

I got the inside text from Project Gutenberg, since A Study in Scarlet is in the public domain, and formatted it in InDesign. I created my own table of contents and my own cover page, then put everything together and had it printed in the MSU Library Makerspace. Both me and the recipient were pleased with the result!

I learned a lot about InDesign with this project, as I had never used it so extensively before. But it was also my first time printing a digital project in this way, and I discovered that my cover didn’t look as professional as I had hoped in physical form. If I had the chance, I would redo the cover and add more front matter to replicate an officially published book. But, as it is, it was still immensely satisfying to see something evolve from my mind to a tangible product.

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