O’Reilly Media Illustration Guidelines

This document will help you understand the procedure for using screenshots and technical illustrations in your project.

O’Reilly’s books and products have a uniform, branded appearance that has been well received by our customers for over 30 years. Unless specifically agreed upon, all drawn figures will be created to adhere to O’Reilly Media’s style and branding guidelines.

Examples of our illustrations can be viewed here.

If you have any questions, please contact us.

Catherine Dullea
Technical Illustrator


When creating drawn art and screenshots, please keep in mind the size limitations for a printed book. For instance, 16x9 PowerPoint slides will not scale correctly and will result in illegible text.

The maximum figure size for standard O’Reilly “Animal” titles is:

4.8” x 7” (345.6px x 504px)

Please note that the “Pocket Reference” series is considerably smaller.

2.8” x 5.5” (201.6px x 396px)

Regardless of figure size, any text elements cannot be less than 8pt or they will not be legible. Please keep this in mind when taking larger screenshots or creating larger diagrams with lots of visual information, as all figures will need to be resized to fit within a printed book.

Drawn Illustrations

Use whatever method is most comfortable for you when first creating your illustrations: they can be sketched, described in text, or generated using a drawing application.


Screenshots will be processed to ensure correct sizing, and may be slightly darkened/lightened to meet printing specifications.

The following methods are best practice as recommended by our design team for capturing images

How to take a screenshot on Mac:

  1. Shift + Command + 3 takes a screenshot of the entire screen. Shift + Command + 4 lets you highlight a specific part of the screen to capture
  2. It saves to your desktop as a PNG. Just leave that file as-is.

How to take a screenshot on Windows 10 with the PrtScn key

  1. Press PrtScn. This copies the entire screen to the clipboard. …
  2. Press Alt + PrtScn. This copies the active window to the clipboard, which you can paste into another program.
  3. Press the Windows key + Shift + S. …
  4. Press the Windows key + PrtScn.

If you need to add callouts (such as arrows, boxes, or explanatory text) to your images, please include two versions of the image: a “clean” version without callouts, and a version that indicates the callouts you want. Our Illustrator will use standard O’Reilly fonts and specs to add callouts to the clean file, using your example as a guide.

Naming Your Files/Organizing with a Figure List

A well-organized figure list allows us to move your book through production more quickly and accurately. The figure list should contain the filename, position of the figure in the book, and other information, such as; required callouts, or notes.