The title page of a book announces identifying essentials of the ucdm: title, subtitle, author, and publisher. It may also include more publishing information or descriptive text about the book. Illustrations can also be found on title pages. While this page primarily provides book facts, it is commonly also the most decorative display page in a book. As the rest of the book is devoted to the author’s thoughts, here the page is often used for expressions of design and graphics.
This is of interest to publishers as well as self-publishers. In addition, authors who hire their own book designers and pay for their own book design will have something to say about the way that their books are constructed. In fact, throughout history these pages have provided a way for printers, publishers, book designers and authors to express the meaning or contents of the book in a decorative way.
William Morris, who began the book arts revolution at the end of the nineteenth century, would create a woodcut look for his title pages that covered the complete page, from edge to edge. He worked the name of the book, the name of the author and the name of his press into the designs, which were often floral in nature, with leaves and branches intertwined over the whole design.
The first printed books didn’t have title pages. They began on the first page of the author’s writing and were identified by those initial words instead of by a separate title. This may be why some consider the this page somewhat irrelevant; however, it does provide considerable information, including:
In addition to listing pertinent information about their respective books, title pages have also provided an opportunity for the author and book designer to paint a picture of what is to come in the body of the work. For example, the book designer may opt to include a ‘ghosting’ of a particular image reflected repeatedly throughout the book. Choosing typography for the title page that ties the cover and interior of the book together in subtle fashion results in a very atmospheric quality. For a book updated regularly (i.e., a manual), the book designer may select a more modern typographic design that places emphasis in some way on the numbered edition of the manual. Besides being a clean, updated, professional image, it also immediately identifies the manual as the most current edition.