The story of editorial design for book ¹/₂

nana Jeon
nana Jeon
Jul 30 · 11 min read

: Cookbook

Today I would like to share my work on the editorial redesign of Japanese cookbook, The premium cuisine of Sima 志麻さんのプレミアムな作りおき, into Korean.

First of all, I would let you know, some of the images of the book, I used in this article, that all rights are reserved by Shima.


I have a lot of experience in print design such as book, booklet, zine, poster, x-banner, etc, for the last 5 years. For most of my projects, I design it from scratch with the design assets provided by clients. However, with this project, the final InDesign files were provided in Japanese and I had to redesign all to fit Korean translated from Japanese into a new layout. Throughout this article, I will share a redesign process and how I identified the problems and approached the solutions.

Table of contents

  • Design process
  • Design problems (📍) & solutions (💡)

Design process

Book editorial design has a different process unlike any other print work, booklet, poster, sticker, etc. It is divided into 2 steps.

Step 1: Selecting & redesigning master pages

The first step is to select master pages with an editor. The layout from the master pages will then be shared with other pages, more than 100 pages for this design work. By doing so, we don’t have to redesign the layout for every single page separately. For this project, the editor Ji Eun and I selected 16 master pages.

Selecting pages to make draft design

After selecting master pages, I organized the hierarchy of headings, sub-headings, body, and captions. Also, I researched suitable typefaces and looked at the copyrights of them to see if it could be used commercially. And then I redesigned the master pages in different 3 types, discussed them with the editor and chose the final draft design. I spent most of the time in this step.

Organizing the typography of the hierarchy
Original layout design in Japanese

Step2: Redesigning all pages

After the final draft design was decided, it was time to move the translated content from the Word to the design. Typically the original text layers include its own Character Styles and Paragraph Styles when given to us, however, for this project, the files received from the client did not include them.

So I had to make the new Character Styles and Paragraph Styles for the final draft design (see the screenshot below) and applied it to all pages too.

If you wanted to learn more about how to make style sheet, I would recommend this video, How to Master Text Formatting by Using Style Sheets.

In this project, I used two typefaces, Adobe Source Han Sans KR and Source Han Serif KR which are the same font as Google Noto. And I decided to go with a lot of variations due to the various hierarchies, titles, subtitles, caption and glyphs.

* A shout-out to Google and Adobe for making this great open source font. 🙏

Design problems (📍) & solutions (💡)

Before I started the design work, I thought it would be a simple design work, for example, copying and pasting Korean into the new layout and do some minor editing such as updating typeface, font size, kerning, leading etc. However, I found that there were much more complex design problems I had to solve. Let’s see what I faced and how solved them.

📍 Problem: Missing fonts

Missing fonts in InDesign

The very first problem I faced was that the Japanese fonts were missing. Without the correct Japanese typefaces, it was quite difficult to compare the original layout with the new layout because it did not provide the correct position and space in the layout.

💡 Solution: Compare with the original PDF file

The best solution would be to receive the Japanese fonts from the client however, unfortunately, it was not the case this time. So my solution was to compare the original layout from the PDF files which were provided by the client. It was not perfect but worked ok.

📍 Problem: Missing Plug-ins

I never had a chance to use plugins in Adobe InDesign before. At first, I just ignored the pop-up window like the image above and clicked the ‘OK’ button. However, this caused a problem when I had to make the package file later like the images below.

* Normally I hand off clients a package folder which includes all the assets, linked images, Document fonts, InDesign file and PDF so that the client can edit the design without my help.

This document cannot be packaged due to missing plug-ins.

I was not sure where to find and how to install the missing plugins. I spent quite a bit of time to find a solution like being Sherlock Homes. Finally, I found it which was not what I expected.

💡 Solution: Save as IDML file.

When you save the file, you can choose the file format as InDesign CS4 or later (IDML). Once you save the file as IDML format, the plug-ins will be gone as the screenshot below.

Though It is important to make sure the final design outcome without those plugins are what the client has envisaged. In this case, the client was happy with the final design.

In case if you know any better way, please share with me 😄

📍 Problem: Different languages

Languages are complicated. The rules of typographic of each language are different. Adobe InDesign is well organized to design for each language. InDesign has different options and configurations depending on which language you are working with. For example, Korean provides additional settings as the screenshot below.

💡 Solution: Set the language of InDesign app

I always reset InDesign app language which I am working with for the specific project. In this project, I have reset it as the Korean version.

To update the language in InDesign, go to Preferences in the Adobe Creative Cloud and change the App Language.

* If the language is still in English version or didn’t get changed in InDesign, uninstall InDesign and install it again.

📍 Problem: Vertical writing (↧) to horizontal writing(↦)

Changing the writing direction from vertical to horizontal was not an easy work. To do it, I had to go through certain steps.

💡 Solution: Change the page order → swap contents from right to left → make a new horizontal text layer

First of all, I had to change the page order in the master page and swapped all contents from right to left including text layers, caption layers, photos etc.

Secondly, even if the text layer had a character style and paragraph style, I could not reuse it and it was actually easier to remove text layers and make new horizontal text styles.

This took longer than I thought and probably I should have taken this into account with my initial estimate. It was good learning.

Vertical writing in InDesign

* Korean (Hangul) was designed for vertical writing in 1446. Sadly, after inventing the computer and diffusing computerized typesetting as Western languages, Korean’s vertical writing culture has gone very fast compare to Japan or China. Because of, I assume, Korea’s “Pali-pali (Hurry up)” culture.

📖 Read more

📍Problem: Low Legibility and readability

When I saw receipt pages, the layout had a high density and was inconsistent. It was difficult to distinguish the contents. The editor and I decided to make a new layout design. See the layout design with the original design below.

I believe the legibility is one of the most important factors for editorial design, especially, where there are so many different contents and hierarchies. I wanted to redesign it so readers could recognise immediately what it was, as soon as they saw the layout style.

To do that, it was important to present the details (micro typography) such as letter, word, line-spacing, column, etc to make a readable design. There are 3 solutions I’d like to share below.

💡 Solution: One primary colour

The original design had three colours such as brown, red and blue. I guess the previous designer intended to give legibility using those colours. However, I thought there are too many colours on one page and there isn’t any connection between those three colours. So I decided to use only one colour, orange. Also, I have changed the font size, font weight and line height to replace what those three colours were used for, for example, separating the paragraphs.

💡 Solution: Add a different gap between different paragraph.

The original design had the same leading value in all contents such as Ingredients, Method and Memo sections. It looked like those three contents had the same level of the hierarchy. I increased the leading value of Method paragraphs and changed the font face, size and leading of Memo paragraph.

That provided much clearer space between sentences and paragraphs which improved the readability.

* Of course, it was discussed with the editor before redesigning.

💡 Solution: Consistent layout.

When I saw those original Receipt layout (left images), it was hard to read because text layers had a high-density and it overrode with the photo layers. Also, the position of the layer wasn’t consistent. Thus, I made the master layout design for the Receipt page like right images above.

The position of the photo, title, subtitle and body is always the same. It helps readers not have to spend much time to find where to read. Also, I reduced the photo sizes to give more space to the body text for better readability.


I truly believe that the editorial designer must care about details with letters, words, lines, paragraphs and columns for better readability. If you wanted to learn more on that, I would recommend this book, Detail In Typography by Jost Hochuli.

Thanks for reading a long story.

📖 Reference

  • Check out more details about this project 👉Go to Behance
  • Book: Detail In Typography by Jost Hochuli
  • what is the difference between legibility and readability

Readability is how easy it is to read words, phrases, blocks of copy such as a book, a web page or an article. Legibility is a measure of how easy it is to distinguish one letter from another in a particular typeface.

📝 Note

Actually, when I worked on this project, I set the language of the InDesign App to Korean. However, when I was writing this article, I set the language of the InDesign App to English to explain it better.

© Copyright of the book: 志麻さんのプレミアムな作りおき

Copyright of The premium cuisine of Sima 志麻さんのプレミアムな作りおき: SHIMA SAN NO PREMIUM NA TSUKURIOKI by Shima Copyright © 2017 Shima / Korean translation copyright © 2019 by Charmdol All rights reserved. / Original Japanese language edition published by Diamond, Inc. / Korean translation rights arranged With Diamond, Inc. through Botong Agency

💌 Any questions or feedback

I would love to hear your feedback on how I can make this article better for you. Please leave your comments below or through my Twitter.

🎈 That’s all for now

Please check out the next article: The story of editorial design for book ²/₂
: The Art of Toy Story 4

Stay tuned and gives me 👏loves if you liked it.

Design & Code Repository

Hello there, I am nana, living in Sydney, multidisciplinary Visual Designer with coding skills; web, graphic and print. Specialized in interactive & responsive UI with accessibility in mind.

nana Jeon

Written by

nana Jeon

UX & UI design with code🐨❤️

Design & Code Repository

Hello there, I am nana, living in Sydney, multidisciplinary Visual Designer with coding skills; web, graphic and print. Specialized in interactive & responsive UI with accessibility in mind.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade