Re: Manual design 101

Subject: Re: Manual design 101
From: Stuart Burnfield <slb -at- FS -dot- COM -dot- AU>
Date: Fri, 28 Feb 1997 01:07:04 +0800

Anne Chenette <anne -at- XOX -dot- COM> said:
> Help! I need some simple tips for designing a manual set.

I assume you're short of time and don't have the budget to pay for a
consultant.

Copy good stuff you like the look of. Find manuals with a similar scope,
subject matter or audience to yours. What works and what doesn't?

I like the FrameMaker manuals and a lot of the stuff from Sun. If I
can't decide something myself, I see how they handle it. Apple usually
pays a lot of attention to design, so I expect their manuals too would
be good.

Note that there's a danger in lumping together lots of individual good
deas from different sources. Everything on the page -- type face, size,
white space, leading, line length -- is affected by everything else.
Treat each one in isolation and you get the Builder's-Dream-Home
Syndrome. All the fancy touches from all the houses they've built over
the years, and it usually ends up as a gaudy eyesore.

If you're really desperate, see if your DTP software has a set of book
templates. They won't be great but they should be tolerable-to-adequate.

Good luck.
---
Stuart Burnfield (slb -at- fs -dot- com -dot- au) Voice: +61 9 328 8288
Functional Software Pty Ltd Fax: +61 9 328 8616

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