Home > Articles > Home & Office Computing

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

Composing a Page

When you are laying out a page, keep in mind that you have several elements to work with. First of all, you have the pictures that you're putting on it. Secondly, you have the background you're putting them on. Third, you have type that tells you, at the least, who or what's in the picture and possibly when and why it was taken. Fourth, you have any other design elements you want to use, such as blocks of color, lines, frames, and embellishments of all kinds from rubber stamps to charms to ribbons and more. These can be overwhelming, if they're not carefully placed. One of the main design points to remember is don't crowd. A cluttered page is unattractive and hard to read.

The Importance of Whitespace

Well, first of all, whitespace doesn't have to be white. Colored backgrounds are nice, too. But you do need to leave some space on your page. When you fill up a page with text and pictures, it's hard to look at because there are so many elements competing for your attention. Whitespace, sometimes called negative space, describes the open space between design elements. It can be between words or paragraphs of text. It can be space inside or around a picture, or between the elements of the page. It's easy to concentrate on what you're putting into a page, to the point that you ignore what you ought to leave out.

If the viewer's eye is to flow from one photo or paragraph to another, you need to give it a reason to do so. The reason can be whitespace. Whitespace is essential for providing spatial relationships between visual items, and actually guides your eye from one point to another. Whitespace doesn't have to be large. Just a generous "gutter" between text and pictures can make a big difference, as you can see in Figure 5.7. (Gutter is a typesetter's term for the space between columns of text.) The page on the left in Figure 5.7 is jammed full of stuff. The same elements, on the right page, have added just a bit of space and there's a noticeable difference in the "viewer-friendliness" of the page.

Figure 5.7Figure 5.7 This is a journal-style scrapbook page. It's important that the text be readable.

Eye Leading

The way you place your elements on the page can determine whether they're seen. The reader's natural tendency is to look from top left to bottom right, at least in English-speaking countries and in most of Europe. Therefore, you want to arrange your pictures and text so there's a natural flow from the upper-left side of the page to the bottom right. This is especially important if, as in the example shown in Figure 5.7, there's a lot of text to read. Use the photos to balance the page.

Wide margins also direct the reader's attention to the center of the page. Remember that the wider the columns of type, the more space needed between them. If you have three narrow columns of type, the gutter can be narrower than if there are only two. Also allow ample vertical space between the lines (called leading, it rhymes with sledding, as opposed to eye "leading," which rhymes with pleading) for the sake of legibility. Tightly spaced text "darkens" the page and makes it less attractive.

TIP

Flipping pictures is okay, unless there's somebody wearing a T-shirt with words, or a guy with one earring, or an obvious wedding ring, or a sign or anything similar that readers might notice.

When you use a photo, try not to place it so the subject is looking away from the page. If you have a right-facing subject, place it on the left side of the page. This way he, she, or it appears to be looking at the text, not away from it. If there are no characteristics like type in the photo that will give away the secret, you can flip a picture horizontally to give you more flexibility in the layout. Your reader tends to look in the same direction as the photo subject, and you want to keep the reader's eyes on the page.

The Rule of Thirds

Much to my surprise, when I started laying out scrapbook pages, I discovered that the same principles apply to a page as to a single photo. Make shapes work together within the context of the whole design, be it page or picture. Avoid crowding. Decide on a center of interest, and make it the focal point of the page.

Good photos and good pages have what's called a center of interest. In a portrait of a single person, it's the face. In a group of people, there's ideally one who dominates, whereas the rest are subordinate. The dominant one, because of position, size, or placement, is the center of interest. In a landscape or still life, it's the part of the picture to which the viewer's eye is attracted first. Your first step in composing a picture—or a page—is to find the center of interest. Most of the time, it's obvious. It's the dominant feature of the landscape. It's the one yellow flower in the field of red ones. In the world of advertising, it's the widget that goes next to the catalog description, or the house that's for sale. It's the reason why you're taking the picture or making the page. On a page about your child's birthday, it's the child blowing out the candles on the cake.

After you locate, or decide upon, the center of interest, look for anything that might detract from it. Is there something behind the portrait subject that interferes with him? Does he have a lamp, or a window, or some other object in the room that appears to be growing out of his head? If so, change your camera position, or else move him to a more neutral background.

Deer Me!

I once saw a remarkable portrait of the CEO of a large corporation. He apparently liked hunting, and had a trophy deer head mounted and hung on a wall in his office. The photographer who was sent to shoot a portrait for a business magazine was an animal lover, and managed to position the CEO so that he appeared to be wearing the deer's antlers. He looked idiotic. (What was most remarkable about the picture was that the magazine editor allowed it to run.)

The center of interest generally shouldn't be right in the middle of the page, unless it's the only thing of importance on the page. The center of interest also shouldn't be right at the edge of the page, because this tends to draw the viewer's eye away from everything else, and usually right off the page. It knocks the viewer off balance.

If you analyze a number of successful pages, you'll probably find that in more cases than not, the center of interest falls in one of only four spots. These spots can be defined, and even turned into a rule that artists and designers know as the rule of thirds. Quite simply, you divide the frame into thirds, vertically and horizontally, as in Figure 5.8. The four points where the lines intersect are the approximate "best" locations for the center of interest. The ancient Greeks had discovered this, along with many other geometric "rules" for artists and sculptors. They were used in everything from the design of the pyramids in Egypt to the Parthenon, to DaVinci's painting of the Last Supper, and are found with astonishing frequency in nature. If you want to learn more, visit http://www.goldennumber.net/.

Like all good rules, it's meant to be broken occasionally. (Think how much better the chocolate cake tastes after a week of dieting.) But if you follow it more often than not, your pages have a greater impact.

Figure 5.8Figure 5.8 The rule of thirds applies to any size or shaped page.

Coherent Pages

The main goal for your scrapbook pages is to be enjoyed and understood. Although it's lots of fun to use exotic fonts and quirky layouts, don't lose sight of the goal. When you have too many gimmicks on a page, your viewers don't bother with it. Limit yourself to a few interesting but legible fonts per document. Make your titles stand out by leaving whitespace around them—it's better than big black type for attracting attention.

When you are working with facing pages, try to do the two at once, or at least consider how the right-side page will relate to the left one as you put it together. Remember to put a "strong" element like a large title or contrasting color block and/or a large photo in the upper-left corner of the right page, so the viewer's eye is attracted back up, instead of continuing across the bottom of the right page, and out of the book. Figure 5.9 shows how this might look.

Figure 5.9Figure 5.9 Facing pages need to work together.




  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020