Re: Page Layout

Subject: Re: Page Layout
From: Jeff Hanvey <jewahe -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: chasity mcwilliams <chas -at- fcs -dot- uga -dot- edu>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2000 13:31:22 -0700 (PDT)

--- chasity mcwilliams <chas -at- fcs -dot- uga -dot- edu> wrote:
> Can anyone point me to a reference for learning
> about page
> layout?

The source that immediately jumps to mind is by Karen
Schriver (Dynamics in Document Design: Creating Text
for Readers. It's about $36 at Amazon).

However "page layout" means different things in
different media. A technical manual is designed
differently than a magazine. Online is often a lot
different than page design (for online layout, visit,, and about a
million other sites - I did my master's thesis on the
topic, and have a bibliography at home if you want
some sources).

For more immediate hits, try searching the web for
pages about graphic design - minus the sites
advertising to do it for you.

Basically, good design means:

1. Balance white space with text/images.
2. Create a consistent layout. Use the same colors,
types of images, type faces, et cetera, throughout the
3. Keep things proportional to one another. A large
graphic will always draw the eye. Several smaller ones
will balance out. (Unless, of course, you have a
reason for that large graphic).

Numbers two and three are basically about creating a
rhythm to draw the eye across the elements in the
order you want them to be seen. Arrows are good for
this, so are headings and bullets. A themed also works
well (usually, however, themes don't work for
technical documents, since they seem a bit whimsical).

Whatever the case, the design shouldn't be so loud
that it calls attention to itself, but lends meaning
and defintion to the document.

Three other pieces of advice:

1. Don't use a lot of of fonts. Use the bare minimum
possible in the document. Usually the font face
changes to indicate something (a heading or caption,
for instance). Along these same lines, don't use a lot
of italics and bolds unless they have a reason to be
there. Usually, a 14-pt heading in Arial is solid
enough to stand out from a sea of 12-pt Times without
making it bold.
2. Don't use a lot of colors. Four are usually
sufficient. It is hard to balance colors beyond that
and leads to the possibility of unintentional clashes.
3. Don't use a lot of graphics. Use them when they can
give more meaning to the text, or to break up the
monotony of long passages.


Jeff Hanvey
Memphis, TN

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