What I learnt about formatting—part 4

Text heavy versus breaking up the page with images and bullet points. Which would you rather read?


Quilt book layout—part 2

Today we’re continuing on with looking at basic layout concepts if you’re writing or want to start writing a quilt book.  There’s a lot to think about especially if you’re doing all of the work yourself.

You’ll probably want to fill the pages cover to cover with information and images but take care to include some negative space (blank areas) on every page.  This gives the reader a place to rest their eyes on the page instead of having to look away for a visual break.  You won’t want the book to feel text heavy (even though cutting the amount of pages in the book will make it cheaper to produce).

Other ways to break up the page include:

  • Images break up the page well and gives the reader a break from a heavy load of text.
  • Try a little text box of information to make an important point.  The text box can have a fancy border if it suits the chapter and page.
  • Using a bullet point list of items instead of paragraphs of text.  These are great when a lot of information would otherwise be formatted in paragraphs.



Bullet points break up the page nicely.


One subtle thing you may want to think about is aligning text and images horizontally across the page like I did below.  You may not always be able to do it, but there should be a few places across the page that you can do it.  I also did it across every two page spread.  I think it makes a difference.


Aligning text and images Fiona Schiffl

This was an easy page to align horizontally.


A glossary of terms used within the book in the back of the book will be helpful to readers.  When editing the book, keep the contents and glossary up to date.  Whilst writing the book, it’s helpful to highlight or make a note where all of the terms listed in the glossary are within the text—trust me on that!

A glossary will help those new to your subject matter.  It also means that precious paragraphs aren’t wasted within the main body of the book explaining terms that people with a moderate knowledge of the topic don’t need to read.

An index after the glossary can be used if you need to put more detail in about where items can be found that the contents page doesn’t cover.  You may or may not need an index.  Some authors will reference photos, illustrations, brands of tools used in the book and where to get them, or acknowledge the quilt makers in the back of the book.  You may need to put a bibliography in your book too.  I avoided using brand names for items in my books as I didn’t want to have to reference them.  Be aware that if you do use one edition of a tool, book or software program, they may be upgraded later on making your references or instructions on how to use them obsolete.

These basic layout concepts work for just about any non-fiction book.  In any case, go with what works for you and your book.

Happy quilting and formatting,


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