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26

Well… your bullet doesn't have to be silver as long as you hit a vital spot. Sadly, there isn't one. There's an awful lot of people who are unable to visualize design (thankfully, otherwise we'd all be wearing foam hot-dog suits for a living), which is why they come to us. A few points you should try to make: 1) "I'm the expert, and you would be wasting ...


16

Western language visitors read left-right, top down. Go to any Hebrew or Arabic website and where's the logo? Top right. The convention originates, I suspect, from letterhead design. Early websites were analogs of paper, and that analogy still dominates web design, although we're gradually weaning off it. The other common analogy, a store front, still has ...


15

Not to detract from lawndartcatcher's excellent answer, there are some additional pointers that might help: Don't ever make the client wrong, especially when they are. Clients are human (for the most part, anyway), and if there's one thing a human can't stomach it's being wrong. This is so much the case that proving to someone that they're wrong absolutely ...


14

Advertising. While it's a noble idea that it was done for readability, newspapers, in general, have columns that are overly narrow compared to most given readability information/data. Having multiple columns allows for a very versatile ad grid, and, traditionally, newspapers were in the business of selling ads. It also allows more stories to appear on ...


14

Linked below is a short but good read summarizing different studies on line lengths. Studies were done as far back as the 1880s demonstrating that optimal line-length for reading was between 3.6 - 4 inches. Even 50 years later, this was still the deal: One of the best studies was done by Tinker and Paterson in 1929. Using 10-point black type on white ...


13

I used Scribus recently on a personal project. For an OS GD app, it's quite impressive. I'd definitely put it above PageMaker in terms of usability and features. that said, it's far from finished and does have some annoying quirks (such as you can't undo text edits). InDesign is pretty high end, but for personal, smaller project, Scribus might be just ...


13

As DA01 mentions, having a focal point doesn't necessarily mean the page will be unbalanced. It's good to have at least one focal point in the sense of accentuating the main message(s), for example a call to action. Now, elements can be distributed differently across a design and still be balanced (if you are using a grid, then you start with a certain ...


11

Yes. Do one or more of these: Use larger text Use a bolder or simpler typeface Use a spot colour, varnish, foil or clear laminate for the text Increase the tonal contrast: If your text is black, make it rich black and/or slightly lighten the darkest areas of the image If your text is reversed out (white paper), slightly darken the lightest areas of the ...


11

The idea of a 'baseline grid' tends to be abused...especially on the web. The baseline grid is really for use in multi-column publications. The idea is to have consistent horizontal 'lines' across all the columns. And it should be used by default, but you should also know when NOT to use it. Your bulleted list example is a good case where it's probably ...


11

A good analogy I heard regarding this problem that you can use on the client is this: take a look at how a Wal-Mart is laid out versus how a high end retailer like Nordstrom's or Von Maur is laid out. The Wal-Mart is cluttered and stacked wall to wall with as much stuff as they can fit in there while the high end stores have their product displayed with ...


9

Ideally, nothing. Instead, use the actual content. Content is integral to a successful design, but, alas, even today, it's still treated like an afterthought all-to-often. Otherwise, Lorem ipsum is pretty much the habit.


9

Yeah - that'll work. http://www.lipsum.com/ is what I usually use.


9

The question can have a quite wide answer that needs days and days of studying, but I'll give a try on something short. You have to design your layout following an invisible grid, like in paper so on the web that will help you on keep everything on the right alignment and tidyness. The difficulties are that on the web, sizes and proportions are changeable, ...


9

I totally understand the frustration of being in weak in grids and typography, specially if you are a self taught graphic designer. To me this is very open ended question and that there is no right answer to point out for you. In my personal experience, it is how you train your eyes and get feedback from your fellow designers would certainly improve your ...


9

Ignoring the how old the onlooker might be, how high up, low down, indoors, artificial light or not, dark train stations, weather, is it a print sign or a screen, reflective road sign etc etc. There are a few tools that will help you calculate this, and there are some best practices. If you really want to get into this, your keyword will be signage. ...


8

The problem with your link is proximity and emphasis. If you want people to notice it you need to add design to the entire page such as background colors to direct the user to different parts. That is a starting point for adding emphasis to the Upload Prenda. Depending on what you do with backgrounds, graphics, and the design you may also need to adjust ...


8

I've used a method where the boxes are actually pieces of post-it notes. Today I use cellphone sized ones because they are usually big enough. You can cut them in shape put text on them. But the best function is that you can move them about. Even better your client can move them about. The thing is the mockup stage can not look too finished. People who are ...


7

The 2 fixed columns with 1 fill column has been referred to as "The Holy Grail" of CSS layouts. Check out: http://www.alistapart.com/articles/holygrail/ The example on that page is geared for fixed gutters and variable center column, but the concept is the same.


7

Problems with baseline grids are easier to resolve if you keep in mind this overriding rule: the only purpose of graphic design is to facilitate communication. That's what you are hired for, what you are paid for, and what you are depended upon to do. A grid (or any other design element) is useful an appropriate only if it achieves that purpose. Information ...


7

Are there any objective reasons to prefer one layout over the other? Yes. But they're usually tied to context--namely the specific goals and type of content being displayed. In other words, yes, one can find objective reasons to do it one way or the other, but it's going to vary based on the content, users, amount of content, type of tables, etc. And ...


7

Just by looking at the final page layout? I don't think there's really any easy way to tell in most cases regardless of the type of publication. I think that if a layout engine has been refined to produce good layouts and a human has cleaned up the results (i.e., Xtags with QuarkXpress), then it would be all but impossible to tell. Science and math ...


7

Small columns of text are easier to read than large ones. Imagine a newspaper sized line that stretched across an entire page. It would be very easy to skip a line. Using columns can make it easier to read, especially when the focus is on text on very large papers. The same concept is used in brochures, which tend to be folded over paper.


7

Line lengths are usually measured in words or characters per line (or at least in my experience). I don't think print and digital are any different — the same general rules of typography apply. Short lines can create design issues and slow reading down, long lines can be unwieldy. This study may be helpful: This study examined the effects of line length ...


7

I work for a group called Active Living Coalition for Older Adults (alcoa.ca) — we were looking into design issues affecting websites and found this site to be very helpful: http://www.nia.nih.gov. Regarding print, the stronger the contrast the better. For type size, we use 12/14pt for body text, nothing lower (footers/headers, footnotes are 10/12pt). I ...


7

Edit: btw Paul Rand was working with what is called swiss-style design. The way I see it; the grid get way too much attention. The examples you give are not really purely typographic style as such. The ability, training and possibilities of play is underrated. Creating a visual language like Rand did, is part of his - almost - cult status among designers ...


7

In the US, the standard manual for all of this is The Chicago Manual of Style, published by the University of Chicago Press. It defines the order of front matter, back matter, the things that are necessary and those that are optional. The front matter begins with the first page inside the cover. In a book, that is the "half title" page. An epigraph or a ...


6

This is a difficult question. What you are asking for is a checklist which includes the set of everything. The answer is really "no" there is no checklist, and "no" fancy DTP software will not help you: DTP software is designed to be open ended and non-rigid. That said, your ideal checklist is going to be the specific template guidelines and a list of all ...


6

Hey, I resemble that remark....


6

In professional design circles, "layout" and "Word" don't generally appear in the same sentence unless accompanied by various expletives unsuitable for a public forum. So it's not hard to get better than that. What's best for you very much depends on your needs. You're asking professionals for an opinion, and naturally enough we tend to suggest the tools we ...


6

The baseline grid in web design is a need academic puzzle but mostly impractical from a hard-coded mathematical standpoint. Since CSS has no concept of a baseline for type, it's technically impossible to get baselines to match. You can come close to spacing things, but you eventually end up with something that may make sense when looking at the numbers, but ...



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