Computer Science Exam Review – IP
Elements of a Page Design
Page design layouts are most often depicted as gray blocks (the text) against a white
background (the page)
The first thing your reader sees the overall pattern and contrast of the page, then she can
begin to focus on details. Repetition is key to navigation.
Keep it simple and your document will be much easier for your reader to understand; add
too many headings, indentation levels or other elements and you will scare readers off. It
will attract positive attention if it looks simple.
Headings should be consistent, form a logical hierarchy, and have more space around them
than normal body text.
If your document must have a numbering system that adheres to military specifications,
keep the numbers lighter and smaller so that the text will stand out.
Subheadings should provide a break in the text.
In general, about twice as much space should appear above as appears below. Grid
A grid functions as a spatial organization system that you can use to establish a standard
The grid is the basis for decision, like a visual procedure.
The grid provides the structure for the layout, and items that cross columns (like headlines,
photos, illustrations, or captions) add liveliness and visual variety.
Match the format to the content.
The grid you choose needs to be compatible with the information you are presenting.
Keep it interesting. Grids can be implicit and explicit, but you wouldn’t want a border
around every component of every grid.
They give final proportion to your printed product and add some needed air around the
A margin is important because it gives the reader a place for her thumbs to rest.
Margins bring a balance to the page and should have a consistent relationship with the
overall outline of the page, which is not to say that the text block must be placed squarely in
the middle of the pages!
Adds eye relief
The rule generally is to set your document to ragged style if you have short lines, less than
thirty-six characters. By doing so, you will avoid gulleys of white space that detract from the
look of your copy.
Page numbers are navigational aids.
They are easiest to find when near the top or bottom outside corner, near the text
block, the same size as the text.
Manipulating Text Blocks
60-70 characters per line maximum
30 characters per line minimum 10 average length words (50 characters) of serif type or 8-9 words of sans serif type
If you must use a long line length, you can solve the problem by setting smaller type with
larger spaces, called leading, between lines.
Also called leading, line spacing is the white space between lines of text, once formed by
plugs of lead in letterpress printing.
Normal line spacing is usually at least two points more than the body-copy size.
The text you are reading now is 11-point Garamond with 14 points of leading. If your body
copy is 10-point type, the spacing between paragraphs.
Typing with long ascenders and descenders, the extensions that go up or down from the
body of the letter, need much more leading than a more standard-looking typeface.
Lowercase letters with descenders: g, j, p, q, y
Lowercase letters with ascenders: b, d, f, h, k, l, t
Allow more spacing between lines if the “x-height” is taller (the letter x has no ascender or
descender, thus, “x-height”). Arial has a larger x-height and needs larger leading as a result.
Spacing between letters in a word, called kerning
Some letters are always placed close to one another to make them look right within a word.
Example; capital Y or T should overhand a nearby o or a.
It has become standard, to use one space.
One exception: never use two spaces at the end of sentences if you right-justify text; you will
see larger white spots in the gray text areas that will spoil the look of your document.
Headings (Part II)
A consistent approach to the titles, headlines, and subheads in your documents will aid your
readers far more than gimmicks.
Headings can be centered, set in a box, placed at the left side of the body text, or even set as
They’re easy to find on the page because they’re highlighted, indented or “outdented,” and
the lines are usually short.
You can use dashes, symbols, outline format, or simple indentation.
The number or bullet should stand out, and all of the text on the left should line up together,
as in the example shown. If the list has long phrases or sentences, a capital letter should
Many editors consider indents a requirement.
Widely indented first lines are hard to locate and, when they follow a short last line, they
can spoil the look of the page.
Robert Bringhurst’s assertion that block style is good for memos and short documents but
its “soulless” and uninviting in longer documents. Pagination
Avoid widow lines – those are the lines of the paragraph on the TOP of a following page. Use
at least two lines of previous paragraph at the top of the page.
If your document will be translated into other languages, be sure to allow extra space.
English is more compact than many other languages.
Longer documents require the strictest adherence to an overall style or established set of
type style setting used consistently through.
The beauty of automated style setting is its uniformity – you can do less thinking about
structure and more thinking about content.
Styles also permit fast outline views of your creation, invaluable when creating a longer
document. Emphasis with text
When you emphasize text, you give clues to the meaning and add landmarks for the reader.
Each technique has pros and cons:
CAPITALS can become obstacles for the reader, since we look for the silhouette of a word as
Boldface gives strong emphasis. Boldface is best used sparingly within body text (to get
Italics can be useful for titles, quotations, foreign words, or breakouts that need to be
differentiated from body text.
Underlined words do not have as a strong an appearance as boldface, and should be used
sparingly. They don’t offer the contrast you may wish for. Underlines always intersect the
letters’ descending strokes, impeding readability.
Increase the size of the type. Changing the size of the type will change the line spacing.
USE a different typeface sparingly. Too many elements and typefaces will make your
document look amateurish.
Colour provides emphasis. If you need colour to attract attention think about exactly the
attention you want to attract.
Note that the word colour here is green since this page is in black and white. If you
photocopy a document, the words you set in colour end up looking less important.
Direct the Reader’s Eye
Typical page scanning pattern actually forms a Z. This habit of left to right eye movement
dominates most design decisions and is the basis for most conventional graphic design of
Focal Point should dominate the layout in the area where reader’s eyes naturally begin.
Overuse of graphic for emphasis can become garish and end up defeating the purpose. Use
graphic elements to pull the eye toward the most important information, or toward the
elements that follow in a sequence.
Boxes are ubiquitous and not often very attractive.
Use shading to add some depth, but a shaded background can make text boxes pop out
and make it easier to follow the data in a table.
Horizontal rule lines can signal a break in the content. Try using them above the text
you wish to set off and farther away from the text. Developing Your Layout
1. Define the purpose: What is the intended outcome?
2. Analyze the target audience: How will this interest them?
3. Describe the main and supporting points: What is the main message you want to
convey? Write it in one short sentence. Write down the supporting messages.
4. List where it will be seen/distributed: The poster is seen by random passer-byes;
while a brochure might be targeted toward a specific trade show audience.
5. Establish the concept: What creative visual idea exemplifies your message?
6. Research content: The more dimensions you can bring to the final product the better.
7. Write copy/content: Write succinctly, drawing from your main and supporting
messages. Edit ruthlessly.
8. Organize information into logical groups
9. Select layout elements: Give some thought, and emotion, to the non-text elements, such
as charts, photographs, or illustrations. Think about colour, placement, size, and make sure
they amplify the meaning of your text.
10. Experiment with layout variations
11. Photocopy different layouts: Professor’s recommendation to imagine your reader
scanning the page in the shape of a Z.
12. Evaluate the selections: design principles and check your work against them. For
Unity – Do graphics tie in with content?
Repetition – Are repeated elements used consistently to create continuity?
Emphasis – Is the focal point obvious?
Flow – Is there a clear visual path?
The body text can be represented as gray boxes, headlines as thicker lines, and illustrations
can be represented as boxes with an X.
Xerox Publishing Standard. Xerox defines the following rules for placing graphics:
1. Place a small graphic flush right with the column of text. Closeness indicates
2. Place a graphic that is same width as text column flush right and left justified.
3. If the graphic is narrow than the text column, place it flush left within the text
4. Limit the area of an illustration to the width of the margins of the documents.
5. If the graphic is wider than the text column, place it flush right within the text
column and let it extend into the white space, which is called the scanning column.
Typeface and fonts Two major families of type, san serif and serif:
Sans serif type, like Arial, HAS NO FEET
Serif type, like Century Schoolbook, HAS FEET
The serifs, which I’ve read originated in sloppy chisel technique on stone monuments, blend
words together with their horizontal lines. In sans serif type, the letters stand as individual
The letters in san serif type are undifferentiated – each stroke is about the same weight, and
there are no flourishes at the ends of strokes.
Helvetica, Arial or Gill is often combined with a variety of serif styles.
No more than two typefaces in any document.
Note that two different serif types or two different sans serif types are not combined; it
would only look messy.
As a general rule, don’t use an ornate or script style typeface along with other type.
Specialty and decorative typefaces can certainly set a mood, but they are often difficult to
Examples of type more suited to long passages of text are Optima, Times New Roman,
Helvetica, Caslon, Minion, and Garamond.
Still need some direction with typeface? Consider the following in your selection:
Overall amount of text
The subject and the type need to agree with one another; it is riskier to choose a contrast,
but it’s not illegal.
For example, what kinds of type do you see when a friendly tone is projected?
Type has a “voice.” That voice should complement the other elements.
Many serif typefaces do not copy well because the thinner strokes tend to disappear in
Try to choose type with larger counters, because small holes tend to fill up with ink when a
copy is made, making your document very difficult to read.
Font vs. Typeface
A font is a full set (including numbers and symbols) of any one size and style of type, such as
12-point Helvetica, bold. Again, keep the number of fonts down.
Body Text Size
The Xerox Publishing Standards recommends 10-point Optima type for reference
material, 11 point Optima type for student materials, and 12-point Optima type for
instructor materials, since instructors are often at some distance from their manuals.
The rule of thumb is to make the type half the measure of the line length – so, if your line
measures 20 picas in length (roughly three inches), make the type 10 point. Any type used in call-outs or footers should be smaller than the body text. The smallest
point size available is 8.
Type and Legibility
Legibility depends on the top of words; uppercase or lowercase letters can have a dramatic
effect on legibility. Using down style (just like a sentence: capitalize only the first word, and
any proper nouns) for your headlines and subheads improves legibility, because, as several
of the authorities I have consulted agree, we scan the tops of words as we read.
Value, depth and temperature
Color has value (from light to dark), depth (it can appear to recede or advance),
temperature (we see reds as warm, blues as cold), and relative intensity.
The intensity of a colour is related to the light waves that comprise it. A pure colour is
considered intense; or you might hear the words “saturated” or “vivid,” An intense colour is
as far gray as possible.
The Colour Wheel
Colour-wheel system, which has been around since 1730. The colour wheel has within it the
three primary hues (or colours), red, yellow, and blue.
It also contains the secondary hues, produced by mixing approximately equal parts of
In addition, a primary hue can be mixed with a secondary hue to form an intermediate, or
tertiary hue such as yellow-orange or blue-green
The main schemes are described briefly here:
In complimentary colour schemes colors that appear directly across from one
another, called compliments, are juxtaposed. Examples of complementary colour schemes
include violet and yellow, blue and orange, or red and green.
They seem to vibrate (some would say quarrel) when placed in juxtaposition and
stimulate the eyes significantly.
“De-saturated,” that is, duller or less vivid
Difficulty with red-green distinctions is the most common, affecting about 10 percent
of al males.
Analogous colour schemes use related colours, those that are adjacent to each
other on the colour wheel.
Contrasting colour schemes, using colours separated by two or three other colours
on the colour wheel, can produce bold or vivid effects.
Monochromatic colour schemes use the shades and tints of one colour.
Warm vs. Cool colour schemes.
Popular connotations of colours
We are all consciously or unconsciously aware of the meaning of colour. Red and orange
tones are dominant: they shout at us, conveying urgency or danger.
Extra bright tones connote high tech or modernity. Blues, grays, and browns recede into a
page and convey a very safe message.
Pastels are associated with gentleness and feminity. Sophistication is also conveyed with blues, grays, browns, and wine tones, with a small
amount of metallic for eye relief and subtle excitement. Earth tones are used to connote
natural foods, strength and healthy living.
Uses of colours
Edward Tufte lists the four fundamental uses of colour:
1. Measurement, as on a map
3. Representation of reality (rivers on a map are blue, parks are green)
In three of these cases color is working on two levels because it adds beauty as it
represents, provides a measurement, or establishes a label.
Choice of color
Cartographer, Eduard Imhoff, in Cartographic Relief Presentation. Three of these rules have
1. Bright or strong colours are “unbearable” when used in small amounts on muted
2. Light, bright colors placed net to one another in large amounts yield “unpleasant” results.
3. Muted colours, mixed with gray, provide the best background.
4. Two large fields of adjacent color contains some spots of adjacent color, like tan islands in a
sea of blue and tan land colour with a sprinkling of lakes and rivers. This last rule is specific
to maps and information design, since many artists successfully violate it.
Black type is most easily read against a soft, neutral, or yellowish white. Colors reproduce
most accurately on neutral white paper. Paper with a mottled appearance can make text
difficult to read.
How much does printing show though form the opposite side of the sheet or the next sheet?
The finish of a paper is its relative smoothness.
Examples of finishes, in order of increasing smoothness, including antique, eggshell, vallum.
The more absorbent the paper, the lower the printed contrasts will be.
Glossier papers allow more vivid colours and starker contrast. If your paper needs to stand
up to lots of handling, such as a presentation flip-folio that you will use over and over, ask a
printer for a synthetic stock.
Measured in thousandths of an inch, the bulk or thickness of papers can range widely in
pages per inch of a given weight.
Machine-made paper has a grain, just as wood does. The grain of a piece of paper is in the
machine direction - the direction paper is run through the papermaking machine. This direction of fibers within paper will affect the way paper folds. (Try to fold a piece of
paper across the grain and notice the bumps and cracks in the fold).
Direction will also affect the way paper lies within a book or catalog. If the bound edge is not
parallel to the grain, pages will not lie flat and will not turn easily.
The weight, in pounds per ream (500 sheets) of paper for a given grade of paper is often the
way we refer to paper. You have heard of 20 lb. bond or 70 lb. coated paper.
For a brochure or a cover you will be directed to 60 to 100 lb. paper, since its opacity is
critically important. Standard papers you might use for a resume, for example, can range
from 20 to 70 lb.
There are some different considerations with respect to size:
When and where will the document be read? If it’s an office reference and a binder might
work just fine, use standard 8.5-X-11-inch paper.
When to use a graphic
Some would claim that a graphic is legitimately an attention-getting device, or a mere relief
Journalism professor Eric Meyer recommends thinking about the answers to the five W’s
and two H’s that news people consider.
What are some examples of those W’s and H’s?
Who: A bio, picture
What: Key points
When: Time line, schedule, chronology, clock
Where: Map, Picture
Why: Comparison of carious approaches, pros and cons
How: A blueprint, diagram, instructions
How much: Bar charts, graphs, pie charts
Certainly a graphic can tell more than one aspect of the story: you might combine a time line
(when) and a bar chart (how much) to show annual amounts of grant funding for your
agency during the terms of its three CEOs (who). In this way, your illustration offers not
only an additional perspective but communicates the information quickly, in a way that only
a graphic can.
Photo or Illustration
You are creating a mood with any artwork, a mood that may make it worthwhile to spend
the money of colour photography or for an illustration. Whatever you use, CREDIT YOUR
SOURCE. Even clip art can be copyrighted and unable for mass distribution.
If your message is abstract an idea rather than a thing, an illustration will work
best. Plus, you can manipulate the message with an illustration more easily than
with a photo.
Use a photograph when you must describe a real thing. A photograph adds
credibility because it shows the viewer the closest possible approximation of
reality. Because they depict reality of a moment frozen in time, photographs have
the capacity to stir emotions. If you do not use a photograph, be sure to orient it
properly. People pictured should face the content, rather than faze off the page.
You want to lead readers to your message by creating a path for their eyes. Cropping Photographs
The rule of thirds is helpful in cropping photos. Divide the image (mentally) into
horizontal thirds. If your image has a horizontal line, place this line one third of the