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Published by: sydneymarie28 on Aug 07, 2012
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The Gutenberg Diagram’s Global Trend in Prepared Meals’ Packaging
 PKGSC 320Dr. Andrew HurleyAugust 6, 2012Sydney Souviron
“The Gutenberg diagram is a diagram that describes the general pattern followed by
the eyes when looking at evenly distributed, homogeneous information
. The Gutenbergdiagram is also known as the Gutenberg rule and the Z pattern of processing. The diagramdivides the layout of a display medium into four quadrants: the
 primary optical area
in thetop left, the
strong fallow area
in the top right, the
weak fallow area
in the bottom left, andthe
terminal area
in the bottom right 
. The theory
suggests that a reader’s eyes naturally
look to the primary optical area in the top left corner first and then move across and downthe display or page in a sweeping motion to the terminal area in the bottom right corner.Each sweep of the eyes proceeds in a left to right diagonal path to the bottom right corner.The strong fallow area on the outside of this path, in the top right, receives little attentionfrom the viewer, but the weak fallow area receives even less. If a design intends to haveany attention placed on either of these areas outside the path, they must be visuallye
mphasized. The tendency for a reader’s
eyes to follow this path is influenced by the ideaof reading gravity. Reading gravity is the left to right, top to bottom way in which peopleare taught to read
.The concept of the Gutenberg diagram was developed in the 1950s by thetypographer, Edmund C. Arnold, and was named after Johannes Gutenberg of Germany.Born in 1400, Gutenberg was a blacksmith, printer, and publisher who introduced theprocess of printing to Europe. He invented mechanical movable type printing, which causedthe start of the Printing Revolution
. The Printing Revolution helped to inspire a religiousrevolution. The printing method allowed books, the Bible, and other publications to beprinted instead of being handwritten, allowing them to be more affordable for regularpeople. The printing press also factored into the progression of science, education, and has
 3also been said to have help move the world out of the Medieval era and into the EarlyModern period
.Edmund Arnold, creator of the Gutenberg diagram, was a journalist famous foraltering the layout of American newspapers and for introducing dynamic typography to thenewspaper design
. Throughout his career, Arnold designed and redesigned hundreds of newspapers, including many famous newspapers such as The Chicago Tribune, The BostonGlobe, and The National Observer
. His
changes have become standard for today’s
newspaper, including larger type and changing eight narrow columns to six in order toimprove legibility. He also spent his career teaching newspaper design and writing bookson newspaper typography. By pushing newspaper publishers to give designers andtypographers more influence, design was able to move out of the restricted narrow verticalcolumns of type, which allowed more creativity for designs. Edmund Arnold also developedthe idea of horizontal layouts and encouraged designers to use varied graphic elements onpages
to help catch the reader’s attention
.When designs follow the Gutenberg diagram, they work in unity with readinggravity and allow readers to return to a logical axis of orientation
. For homogeneousdisplays, the Gutenberg diagram can make the layout of the page interesting and easy toread. These designs allegedly help to improve reading rhythm and comprehension of the
design’s message.
There is no true evidence proving that the Gutenberg diagram reallyhelps improve reading or comprehension. The diagram most likely is only able to predict a
reader’s eye movement for pages with heavy text information and evenly distributed and
consistent information. When the display is varied or if there is an assortment of elements,the Gutenberg diagram does not apply, but could actually constrain the design
For other

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