Book design tips for running heads

Running heads

Striving for more beautiful self-published books, here are some book design tips focused on running heads (the headings appearing at the top of pages). Running heads serve as signposts for readers and may include the page number, book title, chapter title, section title, etc. When this information is at the bottom of a page, it’s referred to as running feet.
  1. Running heads/feet are not to be used on display pages like the pages in the front of a book: half title, title, copyright, dedication, and epigraph. None on part title pages, either.
  2. There should be no running heads on chapter opening pages. If a book is displaying the page number in the running head, the page number is to be moved to the bottom of the chapter opening page or omitted. (I think it’s most helpful to move it to the bottom.)
  3. Elements in the front of a book (front matter) that are more than a page usually have running heads after the opening page. It is standard practice (see The Chicago Manual of Style) that these are the same on the left as on the right. For example in the Preface, the left-hand page would have a running head of Preface and the right-hand page would be Preface, too.
  4. Running heads/feet should not be used on pages containing only an illustration, picture, or a table.
  5. For how to handle running heads on the pages in the back of a book (back matter), one should consult The Chicago Manual of Style or hire me to design your book [smiley face].
(Click here and scroll down to the “Book Design Tips” heading if you missed my first installment.)

Help for Independent Presses

Book Design and Production

Have you written a nonfiction or fiction manuscript? After it has been professionally edited, I can design the interior pages and cover, plus guide you through the maze of book publishing and printing. To get started, call me at 503-690-2438 to discuss your project and my helpful guide for authors.