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  • Presenting basic procedures in the specification and gatherings of the elements of the printed page -- type surfaces, photography/art, color and space -- to create order and interest.
  • Collecting editorial and graphic components on each page, where each page must seek out its own design. Print design should be planned to convey a clear message through a collection and connection -- putting in space -- of words and images. Content should drive the design.

Principles of design

There is no page in print but what the practice of the principles of design is evident, and criticism of the page will inevitably rest on the manner of emphasis and the completeness of realization. The principles are: harmony, contrast, proportion, rhythm. The intent of their practice is to achieve unity. The rule for design: Before breaking a rule, know it and be purposeful in the break.


Consider the publication as a unit

  • Every publication reflects the tension between the editorial desire for sequences of pages free of advertising and the commercial desire for influx of advertising everywhere. Resolution of the tension depends on the number of the pages allotted to the editorial well. the extent and the editorial accommodation of advertising shapes the structure -- the spirit -- of the publication. Positioning of departments (collections of related by separate items) in the front and back of the publication offers a flexibility, which is essential to makeup given the swarm of fractional ads that surface in these extensive sections which sandwich the main editorial well.
  • Marginal space contains the type page, the area of the paper page to be filled with type, images, and interior space. In so doing, margins establish a thread of continuity for the publication.
  • In a decision fraught with consequences, the type page is divided into columns in given width and number before any element is placed on it.

Gather the Elements


  • Gather it. Block it. Titles and photographs edged against space in the layout will take on a prominence beyond the given of size and weight. The commonest of blocks appears between title and introductory text. A reason to split the block with title is rarely found.
  • Mass space most safely to the edges of the layout, flowing into margins.
  • Vary the depths of minor blocks of space running horizontally on the page for gains in rhythm. Fractions of an inch can count, quietly increasing the interest and activity of the layout.
  • Count as undesirable space with is the detritus -- the leftover -- of layout. A layout organized form the outside inward, without thought to possible interior block and purpose in the layout, will inevitably throw up irregular, multi-sized patches of space -- "trapped" and unwanted -- that disorient design.


  • Seek size. Because the photograph is the dramatic element most certain to command reader interest, logic presumes that where space is available it will be given over to the photograph.
  • Seek size contrast. Where two or more photographs fall on the page and no editorial concern mandates identical sizing, size one photograph larger than next largest by at least a 3:1 ratio.
  • Gather photographs. The impact of the collection will be greater than a strew of them
  • Seek directional contrast. The photo assemblage should stress either the horizontal or vertical direction.
  • Seek tonal harmony. The photo assemblage should project an over-all grey to black cast and not a mixture of tones. Photographs from various sources or with different subjects matter may make impossible a harmonious gathering on the score of tone.
  • Seek maintenance of proportion. Where range in size assures contrast, adherence to a given proportion can simultaneously convey a sense of order
  • Seek to control movement. It is desirable to direct movement inward to the gutter and away from the edge of the page.
  • Satisfy spatial aspects of photo composition. Ideally, open areas in the photography should go to the edge of the sheet, skies to the top and foregrounds to the bottom with strength of the composition to the interior of the page. Near views fall to the bottom, close to the reader, with distant views to the top, away from the reader. Its is reasonable to position the photo where the photographer looked as he shot; that is, and aerial view would go to the bottom of the page.
  • Stay with the oblong. The straight edge of the photo is conducive to the establishment of patterns and the order they bring the page. Only rarely should resort be to special shaping of photos or to contour ornamentation. It is not ornamentation, however, to use finishing rules to enclose photos of indistinct edge.
  • Limit bleeds. Interrupt an outer margin with photography only once for best effect.
  • Stay with photography. The photographer's statement should stand without embellishment or distortion.

Typography of Text, Titles and Subdisplay

Type is the most available element, always at hand to command the reader's attention and interest when put on the page in size and distinctive arrangement and position. The quintessential achievement of typography is when the letter is legible, its composition even in tone, all specifications of size, line length and spacing, assure ease -- more than that, pleasure -- in reading.

  • Upper and lower case composition reads more easily than all capitals, that the good size is in the vicinity of 10 points, and that the best line length will average about 40 characters
  • To print text in any color other than black is to diminish its readability, also an inevitability whenever text is reversed or overprinted on color or photography.
  • Typographic subdisplay embraces lead ins and lead outs of titles and readouts ("pulled quotes," "information nuts,", etc.) inserted marginally or within text columns in symmetrical or random fashion.


Non-Photographic Illustration

With photography everywhere in evidence, the rare appearance of the work of the artist-illustrator brings a powerful change of pace to the publication.

Color: Process or Spot

  • Initials
  • Boxes/sidebars
  • Display typography


For all the predictions of the past century of the triumph of illustration -- read, especially, photography -- it is the alphabet in all its designs and sizes that remains in control of the periodical page.


As with text composition, margins supply a measure of continuity even to publications where that is not a first concern. Once margins are established, the practice is to leave them undisturbed except by the folio lines and photographic bleeds.



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