booksIf you’ve never had a document or manuscript typeset before, you might find yourself faced with a whole host of strange terminology and unfamiliar jargon.

We’ve put together this quick article to help you separate your serif fonts from your sans serif fonts, understand your book format, and grasp the concept of a house style.

If you’d like to dive even deeper into typesetting terminology, you can check out our full glossary here. Otherwise, let’s get started.

1. Brief

The design brief is the most significant piece of communication between you, as an author, and your typesetter. The brief outlines the scope and intent of the task at hand. It should provide a reasonably detailed plan of the document or project and might include specific features, such as the printing specifications.

The brief is used by your typesetter to create a quote. So, the more detail you can include, the better. If you’d like a little more guidance on briefing your typesetter, have a read of this article: 8 mistakes people make when working with a typesetter.

2. Copyediting

‘Copy’ is a term used to refer to any written words, whether that be text in a book, online, or in a Word doc. ‘Copyediting’, therefore, is the process of checking this text for basic grammatical, spelling and typographical errors, as well as inconsistencies in style.

Your typesetter should offer copyediting services, too. That way, you can be sure your manuscript is error-free and ready for publication.



EPUB is one of several formats used in eBook production. This term is an important one to know, as the EPUB format is fast being accepted as the industry standard.

EPUB is an extension of XML. It allows publishers to create a single digital file that can be used by various eReaders, including dedicated readers (e.g. Kindles), tablets (e.g. iPads), smartphones (e.g. iPhones), laptops, and desktop computers.

4. Format

In the typesetting and publishing world, ‘format’ refers to the sizes of books. The format is generally expressed with the depth followed by the width. The most commonly used formats include the following:

  • A– The format of mass-market paperbacks, particularly for non-fiction and literary fiction. This format is typically trimmed to 198 x 128mm.
  • B+ – Another format used for paperbacks. This format is typically trimmed to 208 x 135mm.
  • C – This format is generally used for the paperback edition of a text published at the same time – and in the same format as – the hardback edition. This format is typically trimmed to 234 x 153mm.

5. House style

When several elements – such as font, graphics, and typographical layout – are applied across a number of documents to produce a consistent overall look, this is known as a ‘house style’. The goal of a house style is to present a united corporate image for an organisation.

6. Readability

Readability is the number-one aim of typesetting. A book or document that excels in readability is easy and enjoyable to comprehend. Here are a few of the factors that influence readability:

  • Typeface
  • Point size
  • Number of words on a page
  • White space
  • Arrangement of graphic elements 

7. Serif and sans serif fonts

Serif fonts have small cross strokes that project from the ends of the main strokes of a number, letter, or special character. Times New Roman is an example of a serif font. It is typically accepted that serif typefaces are easy to read, especially when used in extended passages of printed text.

Sans serif fonts, on the other hand, do not have these little strokes. Helvetica is an example of a sans serif font. Due to varying screen resolutions, most online publications use a sans serif typeface for their body text.

Give your publication the best chance of success

Ensure your document or manuscript is enjoyable to read with high-quality typesetting. Learn more about our services here, or get in touch with our friendly team on (07) 3395 2022.