White space

Subject: White space
From: geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA
Date: Mon, 3 Feb 1997 13:20:06 -0600

Jane Bergen wondered about the use of white space. Jane,
you could probably find some "scientific studies" on the
optimal amounts of white space if you look hard enough, but
implicit in any such study is the notion that the actual
amount will vary from project to project. So I'd recommend
not getting hung up on the numbers... no one size fits all.

You can do a simple demonstratation of the importance of
appropriate amounts of white space. First, take a text
file--any text file will do--and print it solid from page
edge to page edge, as close to the edges as your printer
will print. Spend some time trying to pretty this up with
formatting, but not too much time... you won't be able to
produce a workable document, even if you're just doing a
phone book. (For example, you'll lose the headers and
footers, and some of the text will get bound into the spine
of the final book.) Now take the opposite approach: print a
single word per page, centered on the page. Not very
effective either, huh?

A trivial example, perhaps, but it demonstrates the point
nicely... somewhere between zero and 100% white space will
be required. The actual amount will depend on what you're
presenting and how you're presenting it. The only way to
determine this will be to do a few test designs.

--Geoff Hart @8^{)} geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
Disclaimer: Speaking for myself, not FERIC.

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