How to make a book with multiple title levels less confusing?

I am designing the layout for a textbook. The book is organized into themes at three levels:

Modules
    Units
        Lessons

When looking in the table of contents, this organization is easy to understand, e.g.:

Module 1: North America
    Unit 1: The Age of Sail
        Lesson 1: Columbus
        Lesson 2: Magellan
        ...
    Unit 2: The Pioneers
        Lesson 3: Home on the Prairie
        Lesson 4: The Native Americans
        ...
Module 2: Australia
    ...

Once one begins to flip through the book, however, it is not so easy for readers to mentally visualize this structure or to find the pages they want. I examined some other textbooks, but found they had the same problem.

So far, I have designed two types of titles which are easily differentiated. The first is the text printed large, with a photograph behind spanning two whole pages:

 _________________________________
|                |                |
|                |                |
|                |                |
| Unit 1         |                |
| The Age of Sail|                |
|                |                |
|                |                |
|________________|________________|

The second is the text printed slightly smaller, but it is given its own white space at the top of the pages:

 ________________ ________________
|                |                |
| Lesson 1       |                |
| Columbus       |                |
| .............. | .............. |
| .............. | .............. |
| .............. | .............. |
| .............. | .............. |
|________________|________________|

I cannot find any way to make the “Modules” level appear much larger than the “Units” level.

How can I organize the chapter titles in this book so this organization is more clear?

Answer

Something no-one has mentioned yet: Running headers.

enter image description here

This is where every page tells you the title of the section that you’re in. Most layout applications like InDesign have features for this where you place a running header text variable in a master page set to look at a particular paragraph style and it pulls in the text automatically, with rules about what text to use out of the section number, name, both, or something else.

There’s no reason why you can’t mix multiple types of running header together for something that might look like this, at the top of every spread:

enter image description here

You might prefer to split these out across both pages in a spread, for example:

enter image description here

…you get the idea. There are no hard and fast rules, just consider what works for your particular needs and what is intuitive in your particular case. Which are more important to someone browsing the book out of section/unit/lesson numbers? Will any of these numbers be what they are looking for? How related or separate are these things? etc etc


Running headers can get a bit tricky when ranges are involved (e.g. Lesson 2 – Lesson 4 on the same spread), we’ve got a question on that.

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Source : Link , Question Author : Village , Answer Author : Community

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