Children’s Book Design

Realizing your dream of becoming a children’s book author

When Ingram Content Group paired up with Lightning Source and began printing full color, hardcover books in 2007, they made it possible for many talented authors and illustrators to make their dreams come true to publish a children’s book.

This new age of Print On Demand (POD) with Ingram Spark makes it possible to print a beautiful full-color, laminated hardcover children’s books in small quantities, at affordable costs, that can make your dream a reality.

A sample of a cover illustrated and designed for a children’s book. This touching story is written by Donna Reed and illustrated by Yvonne Vermillion. Donna had a very real dream about her Watchfrog book and persevered until her dream came true.
Hal Blakeslee and his son Tom Blakeslee had a vision of publishing Children's Books from the stories and verses Hal had written and collected over the years. After his father's death Tom started The Blakeslee Company and continued the vision to publish these wonderful stories and verses in beautifully illustrated Children's Books in his fathers memory.

You’ve written a children’s book. Now what?

That’s an excellent question. We have the answers and expertise we would be happy to help you better understand the process with our professional experience and friendly advise. In the meantime you are welcome to browse our helpful articles and self-publishing tips.

There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to children’s books that should be addressed before going to far into the process. So let’s take a look at a few of the decisions you will need to make in this process.

Deciding on a Book Trim Size and Binding

Book Trim Sizes for Children’s Books

Ingram Spark offers a variety of sizes and binding styes suitable for color or black only children’s books. Deciding on a final book size will help plan your illustrations to fit on the page correctly. Ingram Spark does not currently offer any landscape binding sizes (wider then tall) so this could be a very real problem if your illustrations were designed for a landscape page. If you find yourself with finished illustrations that won’t fit your book size we can possibly work with them by adding design elements or extending illustrations to fill in for the awkward fit.

An example of a children’s book layout using added design elements to fill out pages and fit landscape illustrations into double page for 8.5×11 portrait book size. Illustrations are placed so crucial elements in the illustration are not hidden in the gutter.

Book Binding types for Children’s Books

Perfect Bound (Softcover) Children’s Books

Perfect bounding books work well for some types of children’s books. IngramSparks has a 50 lb. white paper to keep the cost down for workbooks, coloring books, and teaching manuals. The Premium color 70 lb. white, though it cost a little more, is preferable for full coverage illustrations to minimize image bleed through from the other side of a page. Here are a couple of examples.

Color Illustrated Softcover children’s books are most often designed for Ages 3–8 with inside pages printed in full color. The finished book will have a full color cover with a choice of matte or gloss laminate.

Coloring books, Primary Workbooks, and Activity books. These types of books are usually designed for Ages 3–8 with inside pages printed in black only. The finished book will have a full color cover with a choice of matte or gloss laminate.

A cover design for a perfect bound primary workbook.
Page layout design for a perfect bound primary workbook printed with black only on the inside pages.

Laminated Hardcover Children’s Books

Color Illustrated Hardcover children’s books are most popular of children’s books for young readers Ages 3–8. They are most often designed with inside pages printed in full color. The finished book will have a full color cover laminated and bound to front and back hard boards. We recommend Ingram Sparks Premium Color with 70lb. white paper give a beautiful crisp quality to illustrations.

A cover designed for a full color hardcover book for an early Ages 3-8 children’s book.
A children’s book layout designed for a full color children’s book.

Illustrated Hardcover children’s books designed for Ages 8-10 Middle Grade Readers the inside may be printed in black only depending on the subject matter. The finished book will have a full color cover laminated and bound to front and back hard boards. There is a choice of 50 lb. and 70lb. white paper.

A full color cover for a hardcover children’s book cover for Ages 8-12 in the Middle-Grade Reader Age Group.

Illustration Planning (Storyboard)

Storyboard description for this illustration was: A young boy and his dog making friends with the frog living in a pond on the farm.

Planning story illustrations will help determine how many illustrations will be needed, and what parts of the story to illustrate. Illustrations may also need to include an area where text will be placed, or designed as a full page illustration with the text placed on a separate page. This process is referred to as a storyboard.

A storyboard will help determine what text will be placed on each page and the subject and content of the illustration to accompany the text. It will also make sure you have adequate illustrations to distribute illustrations evenly throughout the book layout.

A storyboard will also make sure your illustrator provides enough illustrations to be consistent with the flow of the story without leaving gaps in the layout.

Illustrations Styles