Re: Trends in (PRINTED) Page Layout

Subject: Re: Trends in (PRINTED) Page Layout
From: PETER STEPHEN ONG <pong -at- SFSU -dot- EDU>
Date: Sun, 23 Feb 1997 17:36:46 -0800


Sorry, I got a little side-tracked on the last letter. Thank you for
pointing that out. Allow me to explain what I need.

What are the current trends? I know they differ from document to document
(such as procedures, manuals, specs.), but what is common in all
practice to use in documents? Here are some questions that I cannot find
in books or magazines at my library, nor can I answer since I have not
graduated yet.

I will incorporate the most important trends into my report and give an
oral presentation to my class. In effect, your replies will influence the
next generation of Technical Writers!

I am limiting all these questions to white legal 8.5 X 11 inch
paper. (Mainly because that is only what I can print on! :-)).

1) Use more or less white space? When and where to scarifice?

2) Have one to three huge paragraphs on a page or divide a page
into several mini paragraphs?

3) What is the norm for subheads? Bold or underlined?

4) Bars running above or below headers and footers? Are H&Fs
centered, justified, or flush left?

5) Is the trend towards in-house printing or taking it to a
printshop? (For 8.5 X 11).

6) If in-house, what is the norm for pinting? Laser, inkjet, or
color inkjet? (I use color inkjet).

7) What are DPI standards for in-house and public documentation?

8) Are more people using PageMaker or FrameMaker and why?

9) Do writers prefer to use steps, numbered steps, round bullets,
or diamond bullets? What do the majority feel is the best way
to get the message across?

10) Are writers told to write more or less to explain and convey
the message these days?

11) Are writers expected to know how to use graphics software
(Photoshop) and include them in their pages? Or is text
still the main form of communication in this field?

12) Do writers spell everything out in manual form or are
they drifting towards more of a "Reference Sheet,"
"numbered steps," or "bulleted" style?

13) Is the use of color beginning to become standard for most
projects involving heavy text?

14) Is page layout and document design done all by computer or do
writers still do cut-and-paste and blueline printouts before
the final version?

15) Roughly how many people get to lay out a page design and
decide how it should look? Mainly one? Two? Three? Eight?
The boss? Project manager?

16) S.F. State teaches: Instructions & Procedures should use
numbered steps, bullets, headers/ footers, and subheads.
Manuals and descriptions should have title, subhead, block
text paragrpahs. Are there other conventions out in the
workplace for these documents?

17) Do most writers write in 10pt, 12pt, or 14pt?

18) What are the most popular serif fonts and sans serif fonts
used? What were the former popular fonts and why did they

19) Do most writers use the software templates and their
company/ own style guides to write or start from

20) Any other trends I may have missed?

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your experienced comments. I realize
that replies and trends will differ from company to company, but rest
assured, sorting them out will be MY problem :-).


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