Technical Editing & Production



Color in design




Critical thinking paper

Find and compare at least 3 technical documents that use color, preferably documents with different rhetorical purposes. Try to find ones that use both full color and those that use spot color. Also, avoid comparing marketing material; try to use technical documents. Thinks to consider are:

At the end, in a separate paragraph, write a single sentence that states the core idea that makes this essay interesting.  It’s the single take-away idea on which you built the entire essay. This isn’t necessarily the thesis, but it’s that nice spark you got while staring out the window and contemplating what is really worth saying/reading about this topic.

Discussion questions


A client has decided to use 2 spot colors (black plus 2 others colors) in the manual design. The mock up someone created has color in the running header for the page numbers, colored headings (level 2 and level 3 are different colors), and a design on the first page of each chapter.

Is this a good way to integrate color into the design? If you were asked to include spot color in a manual, what should receive the color? How do you figure out what colors to use and if your choices were useful and worth the expense?

weak answer Color helps attract people's attention, so good use of color will improve the document. Adding color lets you highlight specific areas and draw the user's attention to that spot. You need to use colors that fit the rhetorical situation.


Reexamine your corporate annual reports and consider how they used color. What specific rhetorical effects were the designers attempting to achieve? Did they achieve it or did they just use a bunch of pretty pictures?





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