Laying It All Out There

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We’ve all experienced confusion when it comes to the instructions of an assemble-it-yourself product, trying to send a picture in your text message, or if you’re my mom – using Google. Products and procedures that are meant to simplify and make our lives easier often prove to be a bigger headache than anticipated; and the finger of blame can be directed at designers. So when it comes down to laying out our groups term project, some key decisions need to be made that not only enhance the visual appeal of our final product, but also assist the reader in understanding exactly what we mean.


The first component is a complete look. Because our final project will take the form of a typed report, simplicity and efficiency is key. Everything from fonts, to boarder size, and picture placement should compliment each other and remain similar throughout the document. Not only should the text be large enough to read, but perhaps developed further beyond the standard Times New Roman. Boarders should leave enough room to keep the reader focused on the text, but not crowd the page too far that there becomes too much extra white space. Looking at pictures should flow well with reading, so their placement should be in the proximity of the text describing them (with a small caption if needed). The following layout does well exemplifying this idea:

standard art.jpg

In general magazines such as TIME and Newsweek do a nice job at this style of page layout. Although similar to newspapers, these magazines have a longer deadline that allows them to broaden the visual appeal of their printing while still maintaining the news/business quality the complete work provides.

Moving beyond the standard layout of a page, at times it is necessary for more than standard pictures and text. Perhaps a diagram or more interesting visual is needed to compliment the writing. In this instance, a clever method of text wrapping can enhance a presentation without compromising readability. In the following example we witness a creative layout that adds well to the article through an intriguing illustration, creative title placement, and blown up page number, while maintaining easy readability of the article:

food.jpg

Popular Science also does a nice job keeping clean lines while integrating larger visuals that are referenced in the reading:

Popular_Science_article.jpg

Extremely stylized pages are most often noted in a design magazine such as CMYK, PRINT, or Metropolis, where the art and layout of the page is almost as important as the content of the writing. However, sometimes these “graphically enhanced? articles become a point of slight confusion as is noted on Page 2 of the following CMYK selection.

http://67.15.86.114/CMYK_Documents/articles/BigPictureCMYKMAG36.pdf

Although the article wasn’t too terrible to follow, the jutting quotations, and extremely intricate and intertwining illustrations seemed to take away from the writing itself. The pages were very visually appealing, however for our project this layout would be too much. Our main goal is to come up with a solution for extreme hunger in Maputo, Mozambique. The design of our final product will be important to ensure that the material we’ve put together is comprehendible, intriguingly laid out, but never confusing.

With this in mind, the best graphic style for our presentation would be similar to Popular Science. Not only is the magazine easy to follow, but it’s also designed in a manner that feels very professional and important while also highlighting the important aspects of its visual components. Although it may be tempting, we need to ensure that we do not let the presentation of our final product out do the content, as it’s what’s on the inside that matters most.

Photo Credits:
-Popular Science
-CMYK Online

5 Comments

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This page contains a single entry by Benjamin Tully published on March 12, 2008 11:00 PM.

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