66% of children’s book readers seek better book design

Chris Stead
 | Updated March 8, 2021

66% of children’s book readers seek better book design

Chris Stead
 | Updated March 8, 2021

Whether you’re hiring a designer and artist, or doing it all yourself, make no mistake, book design is one of the key indicators for purchase by children’s book readers.

It’s right there in the name: picture book. Your lovely words help drive the story forward and flipping through each page, but the illustrations and design are equally as important. In fact, you could argue they are more important to young children. They’re not reading the words: their parents are. They’re looking at the pictures to fire their imaginations and hoping that the words spoken will help them understand and learn what they see. To make the fantasy real.

But let’s not forget the reader. Exhausted and hungry in most cases, parents reading a book before bedtime want maximum reward for minimum effort. They want something easy to read, and beautiful enough to make them forget about their own troubles. To escape with their children for just a few moments under the shadow of dirty dishes and messy floors.

We have the proof. Recently we conducted a survey with parents to establish their purchasing and reading habits. From that we published the 2017 Children’s Picture Book Report, which is overflowing with valuable insights. One stat I was particularly surprised by was just how much weight children’s book buyers are placing on quality book design.

I was surprised because there’s not too much in the way of quality book design emerging from the self-published landscape. With all due respect to those of you reading this, design is a career. Designers are professionals. Illustrations need to be print ready and wholly complimentary to the major notes along the entire story. Text positioning and font choice need to be legible, fun and thematically relevant. And together, the overall layout needs to be playful, yet fully functional.

What did the survey show about quality book design?

When asked what they dislike most about children’s picture books, the results were clear. Only 34% pointed to story elements: such as the imparting of morals or a narrative that didn’t really relate to children. This left 66% to point the finger at poor production.

Quality book design matters! Respondents were clear about where they felt children’s picture books authors were letting themselves down. Poor illustrations led the way with 26% of children’s book buyers pointing to that as their biggest hate. A further 21% were often pained by hard to read text. While 17% noted a poor layout as their biggest issue with children’s books.

It’s invaluable information for any self-published author when deciding where to invest in professional assistance in the creation of their book. There’s no doubt a large chunk of your potential audience is impacted by the quality of your book’s production. It’s particularly important for those planning a series of books. In these instances, a negative impression in one entry will no doubt sink their interest in exploring any of the other titles.

How To Ensure Quality Book Design

We have an every growing library of free guides here at Old Mate Media that can help you learn more about children’s picture book production. There’s a lot to think about and many puzzle pieces to play with. Plus each puzzle piece needs to work well with its binding brethren. The end product isn’t just the sum of its parts. Each piece enhances the next so that together, as a whole, the book is exponentially greater.

If you still feel you need professional assistance after looking through the guides, get in contact. Look at the services tab in our menu, and select the area in which you need help. Ask any questions that come to mind. We create books for people all over the world, every day.

Chris Stead

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