English
6700

Document Design and Production

Spring
2016

 

Design of the overall document readings

There is a lot of text here. Probably too much to read in detail. But that's ok. Understand the main points, so you know what questions to ask later. You don't have to carefully study all of the readings each week.

Reading scan patterns

Comments

Readings

reading-patterns.docx

Voice

 

Making decisions about the media

Comments

Readings

Kimball & Hawkins p. 75-82

Voice

 

Design decisions for single pages

Comments

Readings

Kimball & Hawkins p. 87-102

Voice

 

Binding the pages

Comments

Bindings are not a physical thing until production. However, the decisions on how a document will be bound must be made early in the design process since it influences decisions on margins and overall layout.

Readings

Kimball & Hawkins p. 102-107

Voice

 

Trimming the edges

Comments

Readings

Page size and text size

 

Voice

 

Crop marks

Comments

Crossed lines placed at the corners of an image or a page to indicate where to trim it are known as crop marks. Crop Marks may be drawn on manually or automatically applied with some desktop publishing software programs.

Crop marks are typically used when printing to a larger sheet of paper than the final trim size of the document, especially when doing bleeds. They indicate where to cut the paper.

In this image, note the crop marks are inside the colored area, so the pages will have a bleed edge. The registration marks are used for color printing.

Readings

What are crop marks?

Crop marks in Word. Most desktop publishing programs can add crop marks automatically. Word can't.

 

Voice

 

Signatures

Comments

Professionally printed books have many pages printed per sheet of (large) paper, which is then folded and cut where necessary to produce a gathering or signature of several smaller sheets. Thus, a signature is a large piece of film or paper that accommodates individual pages and, when folded, orders the pages sequentially.

If you take a piece of paper and fold it into eighths, then cut off the top, right, and bottom folded sides, leaving the left outer fold, you have a signature. Depending on the size of the paper, signatures accommodate 4, 8, 16, 32, and sometimes 64 pages. Once printed, they are folded and gathered, bound and glued, trimmed, and voila, you have a book. The overall design (page count) should be adjusted to fill all of the signatures, other wise the book may have blank sheets at the beginning or end.

This page is 4-up, so there are 8 pages on the paper with 2-sided printing. Click for a bigger view.

Readings

Getting signatures in Word

Voice

 

Organization of documents

Comments

People will always impose structure onto a set of material. That imposed structure may not match the design teams implicit structure. The designer needs to ensure they do match.

Readings

Organization

Voice

 

Selective processing

Comments

People only pay attention to and retain what fits their expectations and which they deem relevant. Poor design can cause relevant information to be ignored.

Readings

Selective processing

Voice

 

Organization and aesthetics

Comments

Design must fit the needs of the readers. You are designing to communicate information, not to win awards because of the unique design.

Readings

Organization and aesthetics

Voice

 

Logical ordering

Comments

The visual cues and formats must complement the inherent
structure of the information. The overall design needs to logically make sense with respect to the content.

Think of the people who use a palm tree lined beach background for a PowerPoint presentation on their book report. They picked it because they think it looks cool, not because it had anything to do with the book. The visual presentation fails to match the content.

Readings

Logical-ordering

Voice

 

Minimize complexity

Comments

The goal is to minimize complexity, not try to reduce it completely or eliminate it. There is a point at which further reduction also reduces the communication of the message.

Complexity can exist in both the design and the content. Both need to be minimized.

Many informational documents try to take a complex subject and reduce it to a few easy to understand bullet points. The end result is that the reader might be able to repeat those bullet points, but they can't explain what they mean or how they connect to each other.

Readings

Minimize complexity

Voice

 

Specific design techniques

 

10 foot view

Comments

View your designs from 10 feet away, maybe more if you good eyes. The purpose is look at the overall design without seeing the text as words. You can get the same effect on the monitor by looking at the page displayed at about 20%, but the image perceptually looks very small. Some things to consider:

  • The text has turned to gray blocks. Does the page look dense? Is there too much white space?
  • Are the sections visually distinct and set apart? White space around the headings accomplish this.
  • How inviting does the overall page appear? Is it jumbled or confusing?
  • Do you want to read it or is the overall appearance a turn-off?
  • Is anything dominating the page? Should it be dominating the page?
  • Do you want to read a page that looks like this?

In the past, I've read some interesting comments, such as: "At 10 feet, I couldn't read it. So I moved to 7 feet." NO! If you can read it, move back. Reading the headings are ok, but the text blocks need to blur into gray.

Readings
Voice

 

Aesthetic-usability effect

Comments

Readings

Aesthetic usability

Voice

 

Ockham’s razor

Comments

Readings

Ockham’s razor

Voice

 

Full research article

 

Explicit Structure in Print and On-Screen Documents

Comments

 

Readings

Explicit Structure in Print and On-Screen Documents

Notes

Full article

Voice

 

 

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