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COMPSCI 1BA3 Study Guide - Final Guide: Information Design, Edward Tufte, Serif

Computer Science
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Study Guide

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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 you 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.

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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, buy 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
Page numbers are navigational aids.
They are easiest to find when near the top of bottom outside corner, near the text block, the
same size as the text.
Manipulating Text Blocks
Line Length
60-70 characters per line maximum
30 characters per line minimum

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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.
Line Spacing
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.
Sentence Spacing
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
a runaround.
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
lead off.
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 Bringhurt’s assertion that block style is good for memos and short documents but
its “soulles” and uninviting in longer documents.
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