Silvia Moreno-Garcia and I have worked on several projects together, so when she came to me with The Route of Ice and Salt, she and I were well acquainted with each others’ work and style. She’s the best-selling author of Mexican Gothic (not designed by me, but the interior is lovely so go check it out), as well as seven other traditionally published books, so she knows how publishing works and what a good book interior is. She’s also a publisher in her own right, so when she came back to me needing an interior done for another author, I immediately said yes.
The Route of Ice and Salt is a novella that’s set in Dracula’s sea voyage from Transylvania to England, detailing what happened to the crew and others aboard that ultimately ended in their demise.
Being a novella, the work is shorter, and Silvia had two main goals in mind: to maximize page count, and keep the traditional feel of a classic design. A quick glance also told me we would need a design that would be able to facilitate a variety of lengths of chapter and section titles, too. She was also waiting on an essay as the afterword to get finished up before we were quite done, which was zero problem at all. I like to get all of the content at once, but sometimes you have to make exceptions!
We started our own journey with a phone call, and she and I came to an immediate agreement on how to approach this book:
Ideas for this book interior came very quickly, so I went straight to digital to begin developing Silvia’s three design options.
Idea 1 and 2 were both based very heavily on the desire to keep the look completely traditional. I used different illustrations and woodcuts in both, and stuck to the font used on the cover–Caslon–to maintain consistency.
Idea 3 was a little different. I went with frames and a gothic font, more of a ‘this is what modern people think of when they think of a gothic style, even if it’s not historically accurate.’
Silvia’s feedback was quick! She liked option 2, but wanted to bring in elements of option 1, especially on the title page. And guess what? That’s exactly what I did.
Classic, golden-ratio book margins would serve the dual purpose of keeping the book longer, plus give the work that classic literature appeal. Deciding we’d pair those details with smaller dimension (5x8) and we were on our way.
Case Study: The Route of Ice and Salt
“The process of creating the interiors for this novella was quick, efficient and easy. The final result is a good looking, versatile design that effectively communicates the Gothic nature of the story.”
— Silvia-Moreno Garcia
I have to say, I loved the luxurious margins, filigree squares (right out of a book in the 19th or early 20th century), and black boxes that contained the headings and titles. Working with this book was efficient and simple, and lovely. As it happened, we only needed two passes to get this right (the benefit of having a thoroughly edited and proofread manuscript). Once I had added the finished afterward to the back of the book, we were done with print. A few days later, the ebook was finished and looked beautiful to match.
Part of every book done with every Gold and Platinum Ampersand project is the transfer of the copyright to the author and/or publisher at the end of the project. So, I did the final processing and packaging, then sent the source files (plus all print-and-upload-ready files) to Silvia once we were finished. It’s a beautiful site, watching those files fly.