Here are three options:

Option 1 (centered charts, two-column text)

enter image description here

Option 2 (text on left, charts on right)

enter image description here

Option 3 (left text, right charts on odd pages, right text left charts on even pages)

enter image description here

I am personally a fan of Option 1 because:

  1. It delineates the sections very clearly (very neat chart-followed-by-text flow)
  2. It avoids the whitespace seen in Options 2 and 3 (which is necessary to make the chart line up with the text that describes it)

However, I can see the appeal of Option 3 for a print publication, since the text is always on the 'inner' column.

I have little formal qualification in graphic design, and am therefore dealing with a lot of unknown unknowns. What are some things to consider when choosing a layout for a publication with charts and text like this?

(feel free to suggest alternative layouts as well; however, a single column of text won't do as it'll be considered too long and off-putting)

  • How many pages is this going to be roughly, and how many charts ? Will there be a chart for every page ?
    – Lucian
    May 24, 2020 at 7:43
  • 1
    If a chart is small enough to fit within one column width (perhaps jutting out a bit into the margin), you can just do that. Have a two-column layout with smaller charts inline in one column and bigger ones straddling the columns as in layout 1. May 24, 2020 at 12:04

1 Answer 1


"Best" is relative term. It all depends upon flow.

I can't read the text in the images, but how the figures relate to the text is a large part of where they should possibly be placed.

In addition, there's a possibility that size of the images/charts needs to be adjusted based upon context (which again, I can't read).

In short.. there is no "best". Use whatever you feel provides the most seamless flow to the reading.

The only thing I can state definitely, is the full page width text description above the graphic in Option #1 is pretty bad. Do not span columns with secondary text if the layout is to be a two column layout.

  • Thanks for this view! Could I ask why the full-width description is so bad? Those descriptions are intended to function as section breaks. They're not secondary text.
    – Thev
    May 25, 2020 at 19:39
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    Breaking the visual path of a 2 column layout with text that causes a a shift in the mind set while reading is more a hurdle than anything else. It's one thing to have a figure that is offset but relatively the same width, but to span the page you ask the reader to think in columns, then NOT, then think in columns again. This is, obviously, mot my opinion than anything else. But no figure should use descriptive text wider than the figure itself.
    – Scott
    May 25, 2020 at 20:08
  • To clarify, the full-width text is not a description of the chart. It is a heading for the entire section. Does this change your opinion?
    – Thev
    May 25, 2020 at 20:30
  • 1
    Yes. In that case it's too insignificant and too close to the figure itself. I'd center it and break it into two lines, where the bottom line is longer than the top. Again... all opinion.
    – Scott
    May 25, 2020 at 20:32
  • I took your suggestions - it looks very much better. Thank you very much :)
    – Thev
    May 26, 2020 at 5:36

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