Book design is the art of incorporating the content, style, format, design, and sequence of the various components of a book into a coherent whole.

In the words of Jan Tschichold, book design “though largely forgotten today, methods and rules upon which it is impossible to improve have been developed over centuries. To produce perfect books these rules have to be brought back to life and applied.” Richard Hendel describes book design as “an arcane subject” and refers to the need for a context to understand what that means.

Front matter, or preliminaries (“prelims”, for short), is the first section of a book, and is usually the smallest section in terms of the number of pages. The pages are numbered in lower-case Roman numerals. Each page is counted; but no folio or page number is expressed, or printed, on either display pages, or blank pages.

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