Design is about communication; it is the tool that helps communicate a message to the reader. Great design speaks to hearts and minds, enriching the reading experience (Saylor 2000), and one of the aspects of design are the paratexts. According to scholar Lawrence Sipe, the picture book paratexts function as signs in semiotic terms. Each part has the potential to contribute to the overall meaning of the title.

The supporting parts of picture books, often referred to as paratexts, enhance and extend the picture book experience. These elements have been conceived and designed to support the overall design of the book.

Supporting parts are divided into front matter and back matter. Often several elements are gathered on one page. For instance, the dedication and copyright may appear together on one page. Illustrators and designers sometimes create small vignettes, also called spot art, that hint at the story within or use other elements from the story to tie the book together.