Create a Custom Theme

In this article, you’ll learn how to use the Custom Theme Builder in Atticus to create a one-of-a-kind design for your books. 

If you’d prefer to save some time and simply customize a preformatted theme, you’ll want to watch Part 1 from this series, Customize Preformatted Themes.

To achieve a completely unique aesthetic for your book, start by clicking on the Create Custom Theme button in the formatting tab of Atticus, with your book open. 

Choose General Layout

You’re presented with three choices:

  • No Image
  • Background Image
  • Image Element

No Image Layout

No Image will simply style your chapter number, chapter title, and subtitle. You can change the font, sizing, and alignment for each element. 

This section will need to be custom set regardless of which General Layout you choose.

As you can see, you can set a unique font, font size, and alignment for each element.

Once these choices are set, you can also choose the font size and alignment for print books’ header and footer.

Let’s see what we can accomplish using the Background Image layout.

Background Image Layout

If you choose the Background Image format, you can choose an image to be placed behind the text of your header. If you are planning to publish your book in both print and eBook versions, try to choose an image that will look appropriate as a full page image as well as simply a header image.

For print versions, depending on the size of your image, it may also extend down the page into the body content of your book. eBooks do not offer full bleed nor will they work well with images behind the body content, so you are restricted to just the header setting for digital versions. 

It’s also important to remember when you’re choosing your image that it costs more to print images in color, so it’s a good idea to choose images that will be as attractive in greyscale as in full color.

For additional help properly sizing your image, check the description box below for the related post, Image Sizing for Print and eBooks.

Image Element Layout

If you prefer a single image or icon to a background for your header, the Image Element layout will place your image above or below the elements in your header, depending on your settings. 

You can align the image as you prefer and adjust the width of the image up to 100%, which is full bleed in print books and to the maximum margins allowable on an eBook.

The Image Element theme inserts an uploaded image in one of four locations in your header:

  1. Above the Chapter Number
  2. Between the Chapter Number and the Chapter Title
  3. Below the Chapter Title
  4. Below the Subtitle

If you want to have a single image used throughout your book, repeating on each chapter, you will reduce the file size of your book, at least for eBook versions. 

To really set your book apart, however, you can also create header images that are unique to each chapter of your book. In the description box below there is a link to a short follow up video to walk you through that process.

Save and Finalize

Once you’ve customized your theme, make sure you give it a name and save it for future use!

You’ll be redirected to the main theme menu where you can further adjust the settings. If you haven’t yet watched Part 1 in this Design Your Book with Atticus series, you can refer to that video for more guidance.

The main difference between customizing a preformatted theme and further customizing a custom theme is the addition of the Image feature toggle for any books designed with background header images or image elements. Make sure this is checked for your images to show up in the previewer and on export. 

Design Your Book with Atticus – Next In Series

In Part 3 of this series, you’ll learn how to select and format special pages for your Front and Back Matter. 

Last Updated: 11/01/2021

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