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h a l l N

Tony Seddon
John Foster
Peter Dawson
Sean Adams
S h a l l Noo
Ask graphic designers the world over about their preferred
approach to setting type, choosing a color, or beginning a new

u t
t U
h sse
layout, and you will rarely get exactly the same answer twice.

All designers have their own way of working and their own

Thou Shall Not Use

combinations of the thousands of techniques one can apply

when planning a new design project. But there are some dos

and donts that always figure strongly in any heated debate
about what one should or should not accept as the right way
to create the best graphic design.

Packed with practical advice, but presented in a light-hearted

fashion, Thou Shall Not Use COMIC SANS is the perfect book
for the growing group of young designers who want some

graphic design guidance. And for more experienced designers,
individual entries will either bring forth knowing nods of R


agreement or hoots of derision, depending on whether or not
you love hyphenation, have a pathological fear of beige, or
think that baseline grids are boring.

Dos and Donts
Almanac of
A Designers


US $24.99 Can $25.99

Peachpit Press
Book Level: Beginning, Intermediate
Computer Book Shelf Category: A Designers Almanac of Dos and Donts
Graphic Design

TSNUCS-PLC-PeachPit-US.indd 1 11/11/2011 12:51

u Sha ll Not
ho o Us
T o e
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u Sh a l l Not
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t s



ig D
ne d

r s
A lm a s an
n ac of D o

Peachpit Press
Thou Shall Not Use Comic Sans
365 Graphic Design Sins and Virtues: A Designers Almanac of Dos and Donts
Sean Adams, Peter Dawson, John Foster, Tony Seddon

Peachpit Press
1249 Eighth Street
Berkeley, CA 94710
510/524-2221 (fax)

Find us on the Web at:

To report errors, please send a note to

Peachpit Press is a division of Pearson Education

Acquisitions Editor: Nikki Echler McDonald
Production Editors: Cory Borman, Tracey Croom
Proofreader: Jan Seymour

Copyright 2012 Quid Publishing

Conceived and produced by
Quid Publishing, Level 4 Sheridan House, 114 Western Road, Hove BN3 3PJ, England
Designed by Tony Seddon

Notice of Rights
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic,
mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher. For
information on getting permission for reprints and excerpts, contact

Notice of Liability
The information in this book is distributed on an As Is basis without warranty. While every precaution has been
taken in the preparation of the book, neither the authors nor Peachpit shall have any liability to any person or entity
with respect to any loss or damage caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by the instructions contained
in this book or by the computer software and hardware products described in it.

Many of the designations used by manufacturers and sellers to distinguish their products are claimed as trademarks.
Where those designations appear in this book, and Peachpit was aware of a trademark claim, the designations appear
as requested by the owner of the trademark. All other product names and services identified throughout this book are
used in editorial fashion only and for the benefit of such companies with no intention of infringement of the trademark.
No such use, or the use of any trade name, is intended to convey endorsement or other affiliation with this book.

ISBN 13 978-0-321-81281-0
ISBN 10 0-321-81281-6

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Printed in China

Type and Typography


Layout and Design



Imagery and Graphics


Production and Print


The Practice of Design


Index and Acknowledgements

Thou shall
have a
Hi. Im a design school
dropout. I lasted all
of four weeks in
typography class.
A few years ago I decided to go back to school. I wasnt
happy as a graphic designer, maybe I wasnt happy as
a person. Who can say? But like any self-conscious middle
class fauxhemian with a New Yorker subscription I had
convinced myself that a graduate degree would fix me
right up. But those things are pricey, so I thought Id test
the waters first, and enrolled in a night class at Art Center
College of Design, where I had studied years before.
Unfortunately, by the time I set out on this experiment
almost all the fancy classes had filled up. No 3D model
making with the laser lathe for me. The one class that
still had an open slot was Basics of Typography.

Now, by this time I had worked as an officially

credentialed graphic designer for about eight years and
as a paid dilettante for easily fifteen. On top of that, Art
Centers night program was then designed mostly for
younger students that needed to build up their portfolio

Foreword 7
to get accepted into the degree program. I was feeling
pretty solid about my type skills, and downright cocky
about the competition. But I thought, Eh, dont be that
way. Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit
before a fall. Besides, were none of us above revisiting the
basics. Thisll be fun!

With this being the trial balloon for my return to life at

the academic retreat and resort, I was looking forward
to rediscovering the fundamentals with the excitement
of a novice and the work ethic of a semi-seasoned pro.
Instead of rushing through assignments in fear at the last
possible minute, trying to guess what would please my
teacher, Id approach each task with leisurely reflection
and joy. This wouldnt be client work. Itd be my little
treat to myself each week. Itd be the way I had always
dreamed school should be.

Of course, none of that came to pass. I wasnt taking

time off from work. I just added this to my giant to-do
list in the hopes that it would somehow keep paying gigs
at bay. Which it didnt. So I rushed, and I fudged, and
instead of learning to see old things with new eyes,
I used the same tricks on my new teacher that I was
using on my commercial work, too. It was just one more
thing I had to get out the door.

8 Foreword
That wasnt what made me quit after four weeks, though.
I couldve done it. I couldve pulled through, even though
the whole exercise had become somewhat pointless by
now. Yes, I was going through the motions, but I was
technically a student again, and maybe Id meet somebody
cute on campus. Not a trivial benefit.

But what was the real problem anyway? Was it just

the hectic pace? I was used to that. Was it that I had
to submit to the critiques from teachers or my fellow
students? Nah. That didnt bother me. It was all very
good-natured stuff, and I was better for hearing it.
No, what did me in was listening to the teacher giving
feedback to the younger students.

All of it was highly professional, of coursewell-

considered, and totally correct: Open up the leading a
little. This part over here might need to be kerned a little
bit more carefully. Have you considered the negative space
youre creating on the page?Perfectly good stuff. Stuff
Ive been told a hundred times and that Ive said to people
a hundred times in turn. But somehow I just couldnt
handle seeing it applied to these eager young students
just trying to get into school.

Foreword 9
Just leave them alone!, I thought. Yes, I agree that this
isnt the proper way of doing it. But maybe theyre on to
something! Something new! And fantastic! What would
happen if we just let them run with it?

But they werent on to anything. They were just stumbling

along, trying to get better. Whats more, they didnt want
to be left alone. They were there specifically to be
corrected, to absorb the rules, to learn and play it straight.

Still, I couldnt handle it. It triggered something in me

maybe one too many memories of haggling with clients
over one extra point of type size or a logo placementand
I had to leave. I didnt even quit. I just stopped showing up.

In the end, I learned first hand that the old saw is right:
No matter if you want to follow the rules or you want to
break them, you have to know them first and know them
well. And that is, of course, the point of all this.

You can look at this book as a guide to avoiding rookie

mistakes, or you can be an ornery bastard like me and see
it as a list of Oh yeah? Well see about that! challenges.
Either way is good. But the fact is, everything in this book
is stuff you need to know, and youre getting it from people
who have proven that they know what theyre doing.

10 Foreword
Everything here is true, and to have it gathered in one
volume is simply incredibly useful.

And its a good thing that all of it is happening in book

form, too, because I have to admit that there are at least
fourteen things here that Ive been doing wrong for years.
Would I have ever dared to ask anybody about it? Hell no.
Because thats the other thing about school. And life. You
dont wanna look stupid. This book will help with that. A lot.

Now lets never speak of this again.

Stefan G. Bucher

P.S. While I dont want to embarrass the authors, they did neglect to add the crossbar to the
lowercase t every time the word shalt appears. Boy, musl lheir faces be red! If you have a few
minutes, please get a suitable marker and cross those ts. Your English teacher will thank you.
And me. Ill thank you, too.
Foreword 11
Type and
Thou shall not use

Commentary Well, we had to put it faster than a speeding bullet. Everyone
in, didnt weit did inspire this book with a PC and the notion they could do
after all. Comic Sans is arguably the graphic design started using it on
most inappropriately used typeface in their home-grown letterheads, party
history after its first appearance in invites, curriculum vitaes, store signs,
1995. It was designed for Microsoft haulage firm truck-sides and, well, you
a year earlier by Vincent Connare (who get the picture. Comic Sans wasnt
incidentally is very philosophical about designed to do all these things, so why
his notoriety among type fans) to did every-one like it so much? Connare
supply user-friendly menus for people himself thinks people like to use it
who were a bit scared of computers. because its not like a typeface. Ouch!
When it was included as one of the What better reason can there be to not
font choices in Windows 95, it took off use Comic Sans? TS

Type and Typography 13

Thou shall use Comic Sans

Show f
Commentary Did I just say you birthday bash is a graphic designer,
shouldnt use Comic Sans? Well, I was they wont get it. Using type ironically
only kidding. One of the great things can be very effective and indeed great
about typefaces that become vilified fun, but only if the irony isnt wasted.
due to inappropriate application or Therefore, think carefully before you
overuse is they gain a platform from decide to use Comic Sans, or Childs
which they can be used to portray irony, Play, or Dot Matrix, or Bullets Dingbats,
sarcasm, satire, dry wittedness, and so or any other novelty typeface for any
on. If youve got a dispiriting message project that requires anyone to work
that you want to make light of, for out why you chose the type in the first
instance Turning 46 next week and place. If the joke isnt immediately
really happy about itparty on!, transparent, you should probably have
Comic Sans might just be the typeface gone for Times New Roman instead.
of choice. The problem here is, unless Ha hado you get it? No? TS
everyone youre inviting to your

14 Type and Typography

Thou shall accept that Times
New Roman has its uses
Commentary The thing is, Times default typeface for Word. Its also one
New Roman is an incredibly useful of the most widely used typefaces in
typeface. Its well designed, with mass-market paperbacks, particularly
elegant letterforms and displays, and in the States. This is why we graphic
excellent readability and legibility designers get all sniffy about using it.
characteristics. Its also very But are we being fair? Im not so sure.
economical with space, a property that If its not such a great typeface, how
harks back to its origins as a typeface come its used more than any other for
designed for The Times newspaper in so many varying applications? I think
1931. Its biggest problem is that its its time to accept Times New Roman
totally ubiquitous so has lost its for what it is and give thanks for its
character. Everyone with a PC can usefulness. But will I be using it for my
identify it, thanks once again to next commercial design commission?
Microsoft, whove bundled it with No wayits Times New Roman, for
Windows since 1992 and made it the goodness sake! TS

Type and Typography 15

Thou shall not use
Zapf Dingbats

Commentary Good design is about mother is a noted designer, she will

good ingredients. If one were a chef, design an invitation for her weekly
the best spices, vegetables, and meats bridge game with Zapf Dingbats.
would be necessary. A bad chef is Your poster for a client such as the
someone who chooses the pre-made Melbourne Opera or the Louvre Museum
cake mix, rather than making a deserves better. Unfortunately, while
wonderful cake from scratch. Zapf they are useful and in some instances
Dingbats are well drawn, and have an (the triangle and simple star)
excellent pedigree, created by Hermann acceptable, Zapf Dingbats will create
Zapf. But they are ubiquitous and off work that is dull, ordinary, and expected.
the shelf. They work well for handmade As a designer, one of our jobs is to
signs for lost dogs or birthday parties. create delight. Create a custom form for
Like most design elements, a good rule an arrow, asterisk, or scissors. If great
of thumb is to ask this question: Could design were in the details, why would
my mother design this? Unless your choosing a banal detail be correct? SA

16 Type and Typography

Thou shall worship
classic typefaces

Commentary What designates right to join the classics clubArcher

a typeface as a classic? Firstly, (as used in this book) being a good
it doesnt mean the typeface has to example of a releatively new font that
be a hundred years old, as any typeface has become a classic very quickly. The
providing a marker for a prominent digital revolution has placed thousands
graphic style can be considered a of (often quite bad) fonts at our
classic. I was fortunate to work with disposal, but for me its the typefaces
designer and writer Tamye Riggs on that have best made the transition from
a book about classic fonts in 2009 movable type to digitized font that are
and she came up with a great analogy true classics. These are fonts that will
involving fonts and automobiles, always remain relevant and should
whereby every year seems to produce indeed be worshiped, although
its own classic car. The same can be respected is probably a better word.
said of fontsany typeface that makes Use them wisely and oftentheyll
a credible mark on typography has a never let you down. TS

Type and Typography 17

Thou shall learn about
typographic classification

Old Style
Commentary Its normal to make late 15th century, which means they
type choices based on the feel you are more elegant and easier to read.
get from a typeface, but knowing Decorative or Novelty faces are highly
at least a little about typographic stylized and completely unsuitable for
classification, this being the grouping running text (among other things),
of typefaces which share similar design especially as there is often only a single
characteristics, can help you reach a weight in the type family. Display faces
more informed decision when it comes are versions of a standard font weight,
to specialist type usage. For example, often roman, that are slightly bolder in
the Transitional serif typefaces from order to render them more effective
the mid-18th century, such as at larger sizes on signage. A little
Baskerville, are refined versions of Old background knowledge on a typefaces
Style serifs dating back as far as the origins can go a long way. TS
Typefaces shown are Centaur, Baskerville, Modern No .216, Albertus, Memphis, Univers, Gill Sans, Bauhaus, Eurostile,
Shelley Allegro, Sign Painter House Casual, Featherpen, Fette Fraktur, Rosewood, and Vantasy House.

18 Type and Typography

Glyphic Slab
Square Formal
Casual Calligraphic
Type and Typography 19
Thou shall not choose the
latest cool typeface for every
new project you work on

Graves and Sons MORTICIANS

Commentary As designers, were all mortician, MetroScript might not be

susceptible to a bit of typeface mania a good font choice, no matter how
every now and again. You know how much you like it. Likewise, Futura
it isa MyFonts newsletter arrives in might not be ideal for the badge of the
your Inbox, you scroll down, and there local amateur baseball teams uniform,
it is. You think, My God! That font is unless of course they all work together
amazing. I must buy it and use it on at an interior design store and are in to
the project Im just about to start. 1920s European architecture. These are
But hold on just a second. It might extreme examples of course, but think
be a great typeface that you cant live carefully about the appropriateness of
without, but is it truly right for the your font choices, and try not to get
project? More to the point, will your carried away by your own personal
client respond well to it? For example, favorites when a tried and trusted
if youre working on a new logo for a font might serve you better. TS

20 Type and Typography

Thou shall learn that
trendy typefaces do
not always prevail

Commentary Life is full of regrets haircut in high school. Is that school

and errors. Why did I say yes to that photo one that you use as your
last cocktail? Perhaps the adoption headshot for publications? No. Each
of 12 children was overkill? Trendy of us, at one point, has fallen into a
typography is one of the most trendy and tragic hairstyle. Trendy
egregious of these errors. Curlz may type is the same. Template Gothic
seem wacky and fun, but it will ruin was groundbreaking in 1990. Four
your life. As designers, we have the years later, all of these projects were
pressure of remaining aware of shifts dismissed as, So 1990. These projects
in popular culture. Understanding what now sit unseen in designers flat files,
is trendy is part of the job. The obvious like a high school senior photo, hidden
reason for choosing classic over trendy from public view. SA
typefaces is that the trendy fonts will
soon be out of style. Classic fonts have
survived the test of time. Consider your

Type and Typography 21

Thou shall accept that
legibility and readability
are more important than
typographic styling

Commentary Our purpose as designers through and understand the content

is to communicate effectively, but the of the text, it is also nasty on the eye
number of options available to us can and makes for an unpleasant reading
often be beguiling. To start with, an experience. I always turn the page if
array of typographic stylings can be it appears typographically confusing
applied to a headline or a body of text; if the audience decides to do the same,
designers often submit text matter that then the designer has failed in their
has numerous styles (we jokingly refer task to provide legibility and readability.
to this type of designer in my studio Keep it simple, choose appropriately,
as a Ten-Typeface-Terryapologies and respect the words. PD
to Terrys everywhere!). Sadly, this
approach not only makes it very hard
for the reader to navigate their way

22 Type and Typography

Thou shall throw legibility and
readability out of the window

Le gi bil ity
an d
Read a bil ity
Commentary Legibility and readability dated but, graphically, much of it also
are not always of utmost importance. still looks spectacular, almost more art
You only have to look at the hugely than graphic design. Where does art
influential body of work created by end and graphic design begin, though
David Carson during the 1990s theres a good question. The bottom
when he was art director of Raygun line is, if youre designing a public
magazinean era that pioneered service leaflet for a government
what later became known as grunge department or a book about Swiss
typography. Typography influenced by furniture design, grunge typography
this style was often practically illegible, really isnt the way to go. However, if
relying on the visual impact of the type your audience is likely to respond to
to convey the core meaning of the typography that is a little more radical,
layout. Admittedly, much of the work legibility and readability may indeed be
produced during that period now looks heading for the sidewalk. TS

Type and Typography 23


Thou shall
learn about the bowl terminal

anatomy of
letterforms stem


Commentary Ive always been compare particular typefaces with

fascinated by how many intriguing an expert eye. This is particularly
terms there are for the components important when considering which
that make up letterforms: ascenders, typeface to use as text matter; you
balls, chins, dots, and so on. Any can use this knowledge to help evaluate
designer worthy of the name should the appropriateness and legibility of
really spend time learning the names a typeface. If you decide to take on
of these components that make up the challenge of designing your own
characters. Youll find it most useful typeface, its even more important
when it comes to choosing typefaces that you know about the anatomy of
for a design as youll understand letterforms and how these elements
how the individual letterforms are have an effect on a typefaces
constructed and will be able to appearance and structure. PD

24 Type and Typography


Thou shall Thou shall avoid using

learn about bowl terminal
Truetype fonts when
the anatomy making PDFs for print
of letterforms stem


Commentary Ive always been compare particular typefaces with Commentary It would be incorrect postscript fonts. Fortunately, things
fascinated by how many intriguing an expert eye. This is particularly to state that you cant use TrueType have improved a great deal since
terms there are for the components important when considering which fonts to generate PDF files in a print then but glitches can still occur if your
that make up letterforms: ascenders, typeface to use as text matter; you workflowit wouldnt be true. What chosen output device doesnt want to
balls, chins, dots, and so on. Any can use this knowledge to help evaluate Im saying is, if you can avoid using play ball. If you absolutely must use
designer worthy of the name should the appropriateness and legibility of them, do so. A few years ago, your favorite TrueType font and do
really spend time learning the names a typeface. If you decide to take on embedding TrueType fonts in a PDF experience output issues, theres a
of these components that make up the challenge of designing your own was a bigger issue and sometimes fonts workaround. You can use Acrobat
characters. Youll find it most useful typeface, its even more important wouldnt output to RIPs or laser writers to export a PDF to Postscript then
when it comes to choosing typefaces that you know about the anatomy of correctly, instead reverting to default redistill the file back to PDF, thus
for a design as youll understand how letterforms and how these elements fonts like Courier. Bear in mind that the converting all embedded fonts to the
the individual letterforms are have an effect on a typefaces PDF format grew out of postscript so Postscript format. Or you can avoid
constructed and will be able to appearance and structure. PD in the early days of digital there existed TrueType fonts and save yourself
a kind of built-in preference for the hassle. TS

Type and Typography Type and Typography

Commentary It would be incorrect Postscript fonts. Fortunately, things

to state that you cant use TrueType have improved a great deal since
fonts to generate PDF files in a print then but glitches can still occur if your
workflowit wouldnt be true. What chosen output device doesnt want to
Im saying is, if you can avoid using play ball. If you absolutely must use
them, then do so. A few years ago, your favorite TrueType font and do
embedding TrueType fonts in a PDF experience output issues, theres a
was a bigger issue and sometimes fonts workaround. You can use Acrobat
wouldnt output to RIPs or laser writers to export a PDF to Postscript, and then
correctly, instead reverting to default redistill the file back to PDF, thus
fonts like Courier. Bear in mind that the converting all embedded fonts to the
PDF format grew out of Postscript, so Postscript format. Or you can avoid
in the early days of digital there existed TrueType fonts and save yourself
a kind of built-in preference for the hassle. TS

Type and Typography 25

Thou shall not
use free fonts
unless you are
sure they are of
good quality

Commentary In the last few years, within live files sent to an editor, they
there has been an explosion in the have either failed to display properly
number of typefaces the designer or they do not work at all. This has
can choose from. This is thanks to the obviously created great difficulties
development of relatively easy-to-use because, by that stage, the design
typeface creation software and the has been established, refined, and
rise of websites dedicated to the approvedthe only solution is to find
sharing or selling of typefaces. Many a replacement typeface. If there is a
of the typefaces are available online deadline to meet (and there always is!),
to download free of charge or for a this can cause tension between yourself
nominal fee. However, on a number and the client. Always check the
of occasions, my studio has found that typefaces integrity and make sure it
free fonts dont work as they should; works as it should before incorporating
whether on a printout, in a PDF, or it into your design. PD

26 Type and Typography


Thou shall not design for

print using system fonts
Commentary System fonts are made They are everywhere, but we dont see
for civilians. These are basic choices them. Now there are exceptions. Arial
provided to everyone so websites will and Georgia are system fonts, that are
download correctly, and so a child can good choices for websites. They are
make a sign for their bedroom door. poor choices for printed materials, or
Some system fonts, such as Times instances where you need a distinctive
Roman and Helvetica, are beautiful voice. But Verdana is perfectly fine,
typefaces. Times Roman was designed you may say. And yes, it is. But so is
for The Times in 1931, and Helvetica raw concrete. Id rather choose another
was designed in 1957. They are legible, surface for my house. It is important to
clear, and refined. Unfortunately, they have a broad and deep knowledge of
are everywhere. And anything that is typefaces. Recognizing a refined cut of
everywhere becomes background noise Univers as opposed to system Verdana
or wallpaper that we do not see. is what separates a good designer from
Telephone poles are a good example. those designing telephone book ads. SA

Type and Typography 27

Typography Today
{ The Summer Lecture Series }

The Fann Street Foundry
British typeface design and its lasting influence on American typographic culture.

Thou shall mix typeface choices

to create typographic texture
Commentary Different typefaces for headlines with an elegant
dont always work together naturally, transitional serif for the text. Secondly,
but good combinations of fonts from look at the proportions of different
opposing type families can create typefaces and select font combinations
wonderful typographic texture. For an where theres a harmonious link
experienced typographer, the process between, say, character heights and
is largely intuitive and, lets face it, widths. Thirdly, try to pick up on any
everyone is going to have their own qualities that different typefaces might
opinion about which typefaces combine share, such as elegant stems and bowls,
well. However, its useful to have a few consistent stroke thickness, and so
ground rules to follow. Firstly, look for on. The important thing is to identify
historical links between typefaces and exactly what part each font has to play
try combinations where the features in the layout and take care to stick to
of each font underpin their role in your the plan. If you dont, youll end up with
layout; for example, an early grotesque typographic soup. TS

28 Type and Typography

Thou shall
not mix
to create

Commentary Postcards for raves and c Choose one typeface for body copy
nightclubs are a wonderful cacophony c Choose a size

of typography, color, and sparkly c Choose a color

objects. Look at me! Look over here! c Choose a weight

No, look here! they shout. Its great c Choose a case style

fun until one needs to find an address. Now for the headline: change one
Many designers make the error of attribute, and only one. Change the
trying to create hierarchy using similar weight, size, color, or case. Then stop.
techniques. This leads to solutions that Do not change the typeface, add a
are confusing, chaotic, and desperate. color, make the headline larger, or
Desperation is not pretty in a singles use all caps. That is good for race
bar, and its not pretty in design. postcards; nor is ir good for clear
Creating clear hierarchy is an exercise information. SA
in patience and restraint.

Type and Typography 29

Thou shall not
mix serif fonts
in a layout
Commentary Few people can manage they are too similar. If you are designing
mixing stripes and plaids. Edward, the a publication to be read by an educated
Prince of Wales, managed to mix plaids group of typophiles, they may say, Isnt
and plaids, but he had hours of free that ironic? The rest of us will only find
time to perfect this, and when youre something that looks as if the designer
quite rich, everyone assumes you must made a mistake, or the proofreader
be correct. When one of us attempts wasnt paying attention. This will render
the same, we look like a character from the same response as when we see
a barbershop quartet. This is why someone mixing plaids, Thats just sad
mixing serif fonts can be disturbing. and wrong. SA
Im talking here about mixing serif
fonts, such as Garamond with Bembo.
They are both beautiful typefaces, but

30 Type and Typography


Thou shall not use ultra thin

typefaces for logo design
Commentary There are times when point these letterforms will be as thin
a client requests something that defies as a single atom. No printer will be able
the laws of physics. They may request to print this, and nobody will see it. The
larger type and additional copy in a solution is to create logos that can be
smaller space. Or, they may ask for scaled to a small size and remain clear.
a logo with ultra thin letterforms. Additionally, good logos are strong and
Most logos will be reduced to fit on confident. No company or organization
a business card, or in the corner of a should be portrayed as being weak,
website. The laws of physics dictate ineffectual, and anemic. SA
that a thin typestyle will be thinner
when reduced in scale. If a logo is made
with ultra thin letterforms, at some

Type and Typography 31

Thou shall always choose a
typeface with an acceptable
range of weights for body text
Arno Pro Regular // Italic // Semibold // Semibold Italic // Bold // Bold
Italic // Light Display // Light Italic Display // Caption // SmText // Subhead
// Display // Italic caption // Italic SmText // Italic Subhead // Italic Display
// Semibold Caption // Semibold SmText // Semibold Subhead //
Semibold Display // Semibold Italic Caption // Semibold Italic SmText
// Semibold Italic Subhead // Semibold Italic Display // Bold Caption //
Bold SmText // Bold Subhead // Bold Display // Bold Italic Caption //
Bold Italic SmText // Bold Italic Subhead // Bold Italic Display

Commentary When you need to to say, I want to introduce italics in

typeset any amount of body text, please the running text. How can I do that
be sure to select a typeface with at with this font? Disaster; there are no
least a couple of weights in both roman italic weights, and dont you dare add a
and bold, and more importantly, one slant to the roman font! Okay, you could
with proper italics. Its a surprisingly switch to the DIN Open Type collection,
common mistake for designers to which has lots of italic weights, but if
choose a font based purely on its looks you dont already own it and the client
(not a bad thing per se, so dont shout insists they like the typeface youve
me down here) but with little or no used, youve got an unexpected expense
consideration for its versatility. Imagine against the projects budget. Serves
the scenario: The presentation is you right! TS
completed and the industrial theme
looks wonderful with DIN 1451 as the
text font, then the editor calls you up

32 Type and Typography

Now, this does seem like Thou shall not
a bit of Overbid. The more
I think about it, chances use any more
are that we could have typefaces in
managed with one font.
Don't you think? one layout than
Hello? Anyone home? is absolutely
/t/a/o/?e ?

Commentary This is one rule that If you find your designs using different
leaves a little ambiguity. However, fonts for the introductory paragraph,
a solid gauge is that as soon as you drop cap, caption, folio, body copy,
notice that a layout has a lot of fonts, pull quotewell, then you have six
it probably has too many. If we all take typefaces in action already, along with
an honest approach, we can admit that a confused reader, and we havent even
we rarely need more than one sans- talked about headlines. Give me back
serif and one serif font to complete four of the fonts and lets try this again.
most assignments. Holding to typefaces Youll thank me later. JF
that have full sets so that we have
usable bold, italics, and whatnot, will
bring most any document to fruition.

Type and Typography 33

From the freeway, take the second exit for Pepper Lake which you
reach by following the road for approximately three miles. Just before
you reach Pepper Lake itself, take the small road to your right next to
the Tourist Information building. Follow the road for
approximately two miles until you come to a fork, take the left hand
fork and drive for another 400 yards until you reach the clearing where
the wedding ceremony will take place. See you on Saturday!

Thou shall not set body copy

using a script typeface
Commentary Have you ever tried to read a expect any of the guests to actually
block of running text set in a florid script typeface? read it. Im sounding very antiscript
I repeat, have you ever tried to read here, which Im not, but for important
a block of running text set in a florid text that needs to be read easily and
script typeface? Its hard work, isnt it, understood clearly, scripts arent a good
and explains why designers in-the-know choice. Do use scripts for flamboyant
tend not to make that type choice. Ive headlines, highly characterful logos,
racked my brains trying to think of a or elegant branding, but not for the
situation where you might want to do directions to the church, or your client
this, and with the possible exception of may find that nobody turns up on
a wedding invitation I really cant think the big day. TS
of one. In fact, I cant think of a good
reason to use a script font for the text
on a wedding invitation either if you

34 Type and Typography

Thou shall manually kern
script fonts

-170 -2 -4 -1 -4

Commentary When you do find an p precedes an r. The adjustments

occasion to use a script typeface (you are often tiny but will make all the
seeIm not completely antiscript) its difference to the elegant flow of your
important to pay close attention to the type, particularly at large point sizes,
kerning as, invariably, several character where even the slightest misalignment
pairs will need manual adjustment. will be clearly visible. By the way, if
Script typefaces evolved from the youre using Adobe InDesign, dont
formal handwriting styles of the 17th be tempted to use the optical setting
century and many of the characters for kerning with a script font. It works
feature strokes that join them to the well for most classifications of type-
next letter in a word. The kerning pairs face, but for scripts you should stick
built into every typeface when its with metrics for the best results. TS
created will take care of some, but
not all, instances where, for example,
a lowercase e precedes an n, or a

Type and Typography 35

Thou shall not set
body copy in a
novelty typeface

Commentary I turned to my trusty brochure set in Jokerman.

Oxford English Dictionary (read When used appropriately, good
Websters if youre in the States) where novelty typefaces can work, but
novelty is defined as a decorative or it takes a good eye and a measured
amusing object relying for its appeal on judgment on the part of the designer
the newness of its design. It also uses to get it right. I know Im sounding like
the word strangeness, which for me a terrible type snob here but its true
is the more appropriate explanation for believe me. As for setting body copy
the unsuitability of novelty typefaces in a novelty typeface, it breaks all the
for text setting. To be fair, there is a rules of legibility and readability (and
place in the design world for novelty taste, quite frankly), so if you want to
typefaces and some clients might be taken seriously as a typographer,
love the idea of an entire dont go there. TS

36 Type and Typography

Thou shall not
use display fonts
for body copy

Commentary To explain this rule we display faces of ink traps (indents

must first establish the definition of a in and around the corners of the letter
display typeface and understand how strokes), which are used in typefaces
this differs from other fonts. In essence, to compensate for overinking when
display refers to the use of type at printed and therefore helping to retain
large sizes, such as 72pt size, which the letterforms integrity. If you use a
may be used for titles on a magazine display face at smaller sizes you run the
or headlines in a newspaper. As such, risk of overinking at the printing stage,
display fonts are cut differently and thus changing the letterforms
because they do not have to contend appearance. In addition, many display
with being printed small. An important typefaces only appear in uppercase and
difference might be the removal from have a limited character set. PD

Type and Typography 37

Thou shall use real handwriting
for convincing handwritten text

Commentary Organic design that type is that it is one-of-a-kind. You

showcases the unique handwork of know whats not one-of-a-kind? A font
the designer is something magical. that anyone can have for a couple of
It is one of the very few times that only coins; or worse, freeware that is the
you can provide a specific solution for hacked together scribbles of a first-
the client in question. This appeal has time fontographer. Whats the harm,
led to a proliferation of fake hand- you say? Well, just look at a word with
written typefaces. They look like a the letter e in it three times and see
perfect solution, or at least a quick how it compares to the nuances in your
fix, when seen in a catalog or on a own handwriting. Your e never quite
website, yet in practice, they are far looks the same. The font never changes.
less convincing. The key to handwritten And everyone knows the difference. JF

38 Type and Typography

Thou shall use
ligatures if your
choice of typeface
them correctly

Commentary To enhance your improving legibility and also help to

typographic skills and to improve your make the typesetting more attractive.
work, the employment of ligatures Not all typefaces possess ligatures
should be a consideration in your but many serif families do. Some
designs when setting large volumes of OpenType families may have
text. This is not law by any means, but additional, discretionary ligatures,
an addition whereby the reader and which can include other character
your work benefit. Where characters pairs, such as ct, st, and cp.
share a common design feature, they When considering a typeface, check
can be replaced by a single character, what is available within the character
a ligature. (For example, an f followed set and compare this against other
by an i is replaced by .) Ligatures families to determine which gives
enhance the reading experience by you the most options. PD

Type and Typography 39

Thou shall not slope a roman
font to create an italic font

Commentary Im always amazed when changes to each letters strokes. When

a designer takes a word and, having set a character is forced over, however, it
it in a roman cut of a typeface, then displays none of these alterations in the
forces it to be italic by sloping it at an letterform. With italic, a more hand-
angle using the DTP software. This, of drawn, cursive approach is evident,
course, is not a true italic, but merely with some of the characters linking
a word leaning over. A giveaway for together and more ligatures being
spotting that this has been done is the incorporated into the cut. There is no
fact that no lowercase italics possess a need to slope; with the wealth of
double-story a. Although true italics typefaces available, a good typeface
retain many of the core typefaces family will contain italic versions of
design principles, they also include most, if not all roman weights. PD

40 Type and Typography

Thou shall not falsely embolden
fonts to create bold weights

Commentary Just as you shouldnt
slope a roman typeface to make it
Distorting the design of the letterform
means it loses its inherent personality.
appear italic (because it isnt true to You will find that the counters and
the typefaces design), lighter weights serifs fill in and become bloated
shouldnt be adjusted to make them in appearance. DTP and illustration
appear bolder. Doing this is not only packages do allow you to apply a stroke
unnecessary (just pick a typeface that around words, but it is a rather lazy
has a variety of weights instead), it also approach and for the reasons described
increases the size of the letterform by above is poor design practice. There are
placing a border around it, therefore stylistic exceptions to the rule, such as
knocking it out of alignment with the when applying outlines to headlines or
rest of the text on the baseline, titles, but, for text matter, use a bold
x-height, and cap-height rules. variant and dont falsely embolden. PD

Type and Typography 41

Thou shall reward typefaces
that work well as body copy
with long-term commitments

I Trade Gothic
Commentary When you first start only the rocks in our stormy seas,
out as a professional, you find yourself but they strive to make us look better
drawn to numerous relationships, all than we actually are, and often times,
with certain benefits (and drawbacks). they succeed. It may not have the
Some may be mentoring alliances, with rush of the new romance, but it is far
long-term benefits, while others carry more fulfilling. If we have any sense
the thrill of a whirlwind romance. whatsoever, we marry ourselves
As we grow into our later years, to these people (professionally or
we find we are drawn to relationships otherwise). You do know we are
that provide stability and reliability. talking about typefaces, right? JF
Someone who shows up on time and
always pays their bill at the bar. Later
still, we notice that some people are not

42 Type and Typography

Thou shall not buy into the
twelve good typefaces theory

Commentary The great designer commercial products. Its also true

Massimo Vignelli is arguably the most that thousands of those typefaces are
prominent champion of the theory that pretty awful and practically unusable.
you only need twelve good typefaces. However, there are of course more than
Now, Im a massive fan of Vignellis twelve good typefaces. The important
work. He designed the New York point to make here is that a typeface
subway map and the iconic American choice is about appropriateness as well
Airlines logo, and his work for Knoll as the design of the typeface itself. We
during the 1970s still informs the no longer have to restrict ourselves to
companys work to this day. Despite the narrow selection that was available
all this, I cant agree with him on this to typographers in the 16th century
one. Its true to an extent that we now so why do it? By all means, build a
have so many thousands of typefaces selective catalog of typefaces you favor,
because type design as an industry but dont stop at twelve, and never stop
continues to produce typefaces as searching for perfection. TS

Type and Typography 43

Thou shall increase a serif fonts
italics by pt in body copy

Read Book Title


Read Book Title Yes

24pt 24.5pt

Commentary Gustave Flaubert said, roman and italic words, but the italics
Le bon Dieu est dans le dtail. This will look smaller. You can ignore this
roughly translates to God is in the and state that you are a purist and all
details. Part of being a good designer type should be left to their original size,
is having the ability to think in broad but that would be lazy. A good option
strokes, and simultaneously, being to solve this optical problem is to
detail-oriented. In some instances, an increase the serif italic copy by 12pt. In
italic font has been created artificially headline situations, the size adjustment
by simply slanting the roman version. should be explored optically. The fine
This is a sin. True serif italic fonts are details in the craft of typography help
completely unique letterforms, distinct a project transcend the ordinary to
from the roman version. They may be become spectacular. SA
thinner and smaller optically than their
roman companion. The type may be
uniformly set as 8pt Garamond with

44 Type and Typography

Thou shall optically adjust
point sizes in mixed serif
and sans-serif body copy

I'm not burying my head in the sand and I I'm not burying my head in the sand and I
understand the challenges and problems we understand the challenges and problems we
face. As Jack Kennedy said, "We do these face. As Jack Kennedy said, "We do these
8pt things not because they are easy, but because things not because they are easy, but because
they are hard." We need to use our talents they are hard." We need to use our talents to
to solve our problems with smart dialogue solve our problems with smart dialogue and
and good old-fashioned action. 7pt good old-fashioned action. Yes

Commentary Similar to the optical a mixture of sans-serif and serif fonts

issues of roman and italic serif fonts, within the same headline, or body text,
mixing sans-serif typefaces with serif adjust the size of the sans-serif to
typefaces requires optical adjustment. optically match the serif. This usually
Serif fonts have changing thick and thin requires a slight reduction in the size
line weights in each character. Their of the sans-serif font. If ignored, the
overall proportion is meant to work viewer will read the copy and see the
well as body copy. Sans-serif fonts have optically larger sans-serifs words as
fairly consistent line weights within shouting over the other copy. It is rare
each character. Their x-height is often that this is the authors intent unless
slightly larger than a serif font. If using the text is accusatory and angry. SA

Type and Typography 45

Thou shall use old-style figures
with U&L typography

August 15,2011 Aligning Figures

August 15, 2,011 Old-style Figures


Commentary Years ago a designer look uniform. A date set within the
received typewritten pages from his body copy 12 /23 /2012 will read as
or her client. A typesetter took these uppercase and lowercase letters.
pages and typeset the copy. Good Alternatively, a date set with aligning
typesetters were masters of fine detail. characters, 12/23/2012, will look like
Today, designers have taken on the task a line of capital letters. Old-style figures
of typesetting, and the responsi-bility also exist in italic form, and as with
to maintain the same high standards italic text, a slight size adjustment may
of quality has changed hands. Old-style be necessary. Some typefaces, such
figures, also called expert figures, are as Century Expanded, do not have
these 0123456789. Aligning figures accompanying old-style figures. This
are these 0123456789. Old-style does not make them evil. This only
figures are similar to uppercase and indicates the designer, such as Morris
lowercase letters. They have ascenders Fuller Benton and Century Expanded,
and descenders. This allows the text to designed the font without them. SA

46 Type and Typography


Thou shall use aligning Yes

figures with all caps

Commentary When we read we look minimalism and simplicity. Recent
at individual characters, and reading typefaces, such as Alfa Sans, designed
becomes difficult when the characters by Jens Gelhaar, include old-style
are too similar. Imagine reading War figures. A common mistake is to use
and Peace typeset entirely in Helvetica. old-style figures with all capital letters
Reading is also interrupted when as a headline. In the hopes of creating
there is an abrupt change of shape. a design that is classic and traditional, a
ALIGNING FIGURES, 0123456789, designer is tempted to use the seemingly
MAINTAIN THE SAME SHAPE AS more formal old-style figures. This
CAPITAL LETTERS. They do not have creates a disjointed reading experience.
ascenders or descenders, and are Reading a line of all capital letters
uniform in height. Sans-serif fonts inexplicably switches to uppercase
traditionally only have aligning figures. and lowercase characters. Do not be
This was based on a rejection of tempted by this affectation. It may look
classical forms, and a preference for fancy, but it is only incorrect. SA

Type and Typography 47

Thou shall not use horizontal or
vertical scaling to distort fonts

Commentary Dont be surprised if awful! After the typeface designer

theres a gasp of horror and a shake of and/or foundry have spent so much
of the head any time someone asks if time and skill creating a beautifully
this is an acceptable means of treating weighted, consistent font family,
type. As one of the most universally stretching or squeezing it to improve
accepted bad practices in typography, it shows a serious lack of respect!
it is still common among inexperienced If you do wish for a typeface with
graphic designers and typographers. a wider character width, or a
Distorting the type in such a way typeface that is compressed with
plays havoc with the balance of the a large cap height, then there are
typefaces structure and creates plenty of extended and condensed
unusual and awkward stroke widths (sometimes called compressed)
in the characters. In short, it just looks typefaces available. PD

48 Type and Typography

Thou shall not stroke your type
so that it destroys the integrity
of the letterforms

Commentary Look, everyone enjoys accomplish. If youre applying more than

a little stroke now and again, but lets a point of stroke, there is a good chance
not get carried away. If the stroking that youre forcing the letterforms to do
becomes too heavy, you can barely things they were never designed to do.
recognize the form being smothered Should you look closer, you will likely
with such heavy attention. Innuendos find that you have created some odd
aside, there are few times when stroking jags and such as well. If you really must
a typeface can be justified. (Production have your type carrying such heft,
needs and trapping notwithstanding.) perhaps I can interest you in a bolder
When a little fattening is absolutely font altogether. After all, whats the
necessary, it is important to truly point in using a typeface, if it is no
consider what youre hoping to longer recognizable? JF

Type and Typography 49

Thou shall not ruin a
typeface with a filter effect


Commentary The computer allows If you need a specific effect for a

us to stretch, squeeze, slant, and warp project, find a typeface that has the
type. There are a multitude of filters desired attributes. Rather than warping
that open the door for this abuse. a typeface to create something taller,
You may argue that this activity is find a well-drawn condensed font. It is
acceptable because filters exist to do the mark of a poor designer to rely on
this. Cars can be driven into trees, but filters and special effects. A good, solid
that doesnt mean they should be. If idea will not require the Ocean Glass
you consider type as being made of the Ripple filter for the headline. Simple,
hardest substance in the universe, your clear, and beautifully crafted elements
life will be better. Type is not rubber. create good solutions. Adding filters
It is not soft clay. Claude Garamond did and effects to create interest is
not spend decades drawing Garamond, comparable to pouring ketchup over
only to have it inflated and distorted. a perfectly grilled steak. SA

50 Type and Typography

Thou shall learn how to
customize type successfully

EyeQ Opticians

Commentary Not to be confused clients identity. When this is done

with a custom typeface, which is a well, and when the concept behind the
face designed from the ground up for editing is supportive of the rationale for
a specific use or client, there are two the changes, highly successful results
situations where one might refer to can be achieved. The other situation
type as customized. One situation would be to take an existing typeface
would be where a designer has taken and simply distort it in some way or
an existing letterform and redrawn add a filter effect, as described in Rule
it slightly by extending the serifs, by #37. But especially in this latter case,
adding a swash, by removing part of always try to honor the character
a bowl, and so on. Its quite common of a typeface when you attempt any
for logo design specialists, for example, customization in order to retain the
to customize a typeface in this way in qualities conceived by the faces
order to set it apart from the original original designer. TS
and to create a unique font for their

Type and Typography 51

Do not try this, it will never work

Thou shall not reverse 6pt text

out of a black background
Commentary One of the goals of object. The white copy will never be as
most clients is to create solutions that bright as a screen, and the black solid
communicate. In order to communicate will never be as dense and consistent.
clearly, it is necessary to read copy. Reversing small type sizes out of black
While small, delicate typography in does not work. It is easier to read black
white looks wonderful on the screen, copy on a white background. In printed
most of us need to enlarge the view work, a solid black background requires
to 200 percent to read it. A computer heavy ink coverage. Smaller type will
screen is made of light. Light passes begin to fill in as the coverage is
through the monitor onto our optical denser. The only available option will
nerves. The result is a glowing and be to decrease ink coverage, resulting in
bright white on a solid black surface. a thin and light black. The solution is to
Printed matter is different. Light maintain a size and weight that will not
bounces off the surface of a printed be adversely affected. SA

52 Type and Typography

80% C
040 100% C

10% M 0% M

55% Y 50% Y

5% K 0% K

Thou shall specify at least

one plate as 100% tint for
colored type
Commentary One of the negative exacerbated. Hopefully, the type
aspects of the digital age is the lack will become sharper when the press
of understanding of the physical world. sheets dry. But they dont. Why did
When designing on the computer, this happen? Because when the type is
everything looks perfect. The colors created with percentages of cyan and
are solid, the lines are precise. The magenta, a halftone screen is created.
type created with 58% cyan and 12% Halftone screens are made up of tiny
magenta looks like a nice blue. The dots. Hence, the letterforms are made
printouts that are shown to the client of tiny dots and will always be soft.
look fine, and we explain that the colors The solution is to always use one
may be slightly different when actually process color at 100 percent value.
printed. Then tragedy strikes. On press, One plate will be clean line art, with
the type is soft and blurry. The printer no halftone dots, and your type will
adds more ink, and the problem is therefore be sharp and refined. SA

Type and Typography 53

Thou shall not But we can perhaps rememberif only for

use excessive a timethat those who live with us are our

leading in brothers, that they share with us the same

body copy short moment of life, that they seekas do

wenothing but the chance to live out their

lives in purpose and in happiness, winning

what satisfaction and fulfillment that they can.

Commentary Lets begin with the middle of a sentence. At the end

basics. Leading is the space between of each line, the reader will need
lines of text. The name comes from the to stop, go to the kitchen for a glass
actual pieces of lead that were used by of water, then start the next line.
metal typesetters. Appropriate leading Traditionally, type exists to be read.
allows us to read clearly. Too little It is not meant to occupy space as
leading will make copy too dense a funny compositional element that
and hard to read, as if someone were serves no other purpose. Excessive
mumbling. Too much leading and the leading may be interesting visually,
copy will be too open and hard to read. but it is unreadable. And, in the end,
There will be too much space between making typography unreadable is
the lines and it will read as if someone passive aggressive behavior toward
were speaking with long pauses in the the reader. SA

54 Type and Typography


Thou shall not use CAPS for


long passages of body copy


Commentary Weve already discussed when set at the same size, it has no
in Rule #9 the importance of keeping ascenders or descenders. As such, the
the typeface simple in order to ensure lowercase letters have more variation
the legibility of long passages of text. in their appearance and are therefore
However, with even just one typeface easier to recognize, speeding up the
employed, its still easy to create process of reading. Another key point
difficulties for the reader by setting all is that use of uppercase can come
the text in uppercase. Its universally across as aggressive and so give the
recognized (and much research has impression that the author is shouting
been done on the subject) that mixed at you. Employing mixed case for the
lowercase and uppercase blocks of text bulk of the text creates a gentler, more
are easier to read than all uppercase. moderate tone and helps give the
This is primarily due to the fact that, occasional use of capitals greater
despite uppercase text appearing larger impact. PD

Type and Typography 55

Thou shall not This is too much reversed out text. This is to
much reversed out text. This is too much rev

have excessive
out text. This is too much reversed out text,
is too much reversed out text. This is too mu
reversed out text. This is too much reversed
text. This is too much reversed out text.This

amounts of too much reversed out text. This is too much

reversed out text. This is too much reversed
text. This is too much reversed out text.This

too much reversed out text. This is too much
reversed out text. This is too much reversed
text. This is too much reversed out text.This

too much reversed out text. This is too much
reversed out text. This is too much reversed
text. This is too much reversed out text.
This is too much reversed out text. This is to
much reversed out text. This is too much rev
out text. This is too much reversed out text,
is too much reversed out text. This is too mu
reversed out text. This is too much reversed
text. This is too much reversed out text.This
too much reversed out text. This is too much
reversed out text. This is too much reversed

Commentary There are few truths this very reason, reversing the course
as self-evident as the fact that black can have a huge impact. You still retain
text on a white background is the contrast, yet reversed-out text grabs
easiest way for the eye to digest your attention just by being different.
information and communicate it back Its like a feathered hat. Few people are
to our brain. What we do with it after wearing them, so everyone notices. But
that is up to the individual, but the you know what will burn your retinas?
first part is true for most everyone. A feathered skirt, blazer, and boots
Thousands of years of writing, and no combo. That only works on Big Bird.
shortage of academic and scientific The same is true for reversed-out text.
study, have borne this out. Given that Anything more than just a little is
the bulk of text is presented as such, for tough to enjoy. JF

56 Type and Typography

Thou sh all
not over-style
Commentary When designing a until we end up with a dogs dinner
book, for instance, the purpose of the of typographical applications. Keep
headings and sub-headings is not only it simple and concentrate more on
to separate and order the text but also balancing the size of the headings
to aid navigation. Over the course of with the size of the body text so that
hundreds of pages, it is vital that the you get a clear hierarchy among the
reader is able to find with ease the different heading levels, and a visual
section or subsection they wish to connection between those levels. Using
read. It is therefore important that a secondary typeface that differs from
headings remain stylistically consistent the body text is also fine, but remember
throughout. Its tempting, with so many to practice restraint at all times; by
styling variables at our disposal, to doing so, your designs will be cleaner
start applying treatments to headers and more professional. PD

Type and Typography 57

Thou shall not add two spaces
after a period

Commentary Ever since the double-spacing was taught widely, with

introduction of movable type, the correct hot-metal Linotype operators adopting
amount of space following a period has the convention alongside regular typing-
been a source of debate. Type set by pool employees. Nowadays, modern
hand utilized variously sized spacers digital fonts contain proportional
depending on the chosen font and it was kerning pairs and a slightly wider
down to the compositor to decide what space is always added after a period,
looked right. The introduction of the so a double space is no longer required.
typewriter in the late 19th century Its ultimately down to the typographer
changed all this because the type was but the convention is, always add a
monospaced, meaning each letter was single space after a period. TS
allocated the same character width.
A single space after a period was
deemed insufficient so the practice of

58 Type and Typography

Thou shall apply an indent
to the beginning of each new
paragraph of body copy

Commentary Large amounts of paragraph, then the first line of the

body copy will typically be divided new paragraph should be indented
into paragraphs, which are made up to signify that a new paragraph starts.
of multiple sentences that ease the You should never indent and have a line
reading process and create pauses break, as the two treatments are in
for the reader. When a new paragraph effect a duplication of each other. You
begins it will start on a new line, and only need to signify it once. However,
there are rules regarding how this new there are exemptions from indenting:
paragraph should be presented. If there never the first paragraph and never
is no clear line break preceding the new after a heading or subheading. PD

Type and Typography 59

Thou shall not indent a
paragraph that follows a
heading or paragraph break

Commentary As Rule #46 has other types of publishing such as

explained, when setting large amounts newspapers because, in the latter,
of body copy, it will be structured as space is at a premium. Be aware that
paragraphs; a styling has to be applied this approach breaks up the flow when
to create paragraphs that signify reading and is a bit too stopstart.
pauses for the reader. It may be that If you are employing line breaks,
you decide to have line breaks between you should never indentthe two
each paragraph so that they are clearly treatments basically fulfill the same
separated. This approach would function. Likewise, if a heading
probably be used more in literature precedes the start of a new paragraph,
or promotional print items rather than there is no need to indent. PD

60 Type and Typography

Thou shall not indent a
paragraph that starts at
the top of a column or page
(unless house style say

Commentary The rules governing the when a new paragraph begins at the
indentation of paragraphs are invariably top of a column or page. In corporate
linked to either a publishers house style literature, however, I find that, because
or style rules in corporate guidelines, the page grid will often have more
so a degree of flexibility is important. columns of text per page, its cleaner
That said, it is essential to be consistent not to indent at the top of a column.
when setting the text, particularly Discuss with the client whether there
where a new paragraph begins at the are any house styles before you begin,
top of a column or page. In the books as the decision may have already been
I have designed, body text is indented made for you. PD

Type and Typography 61

Thou shall
ERE IS an ex
set the first of what I have
few words of planning to sh
in regards to using n
a sentence following a drop cap.
following a you to ease into thing
drop cap in
small caps

Commentary Think of this in the you in. Those are the drop caps in our
same way you might a foyer in a house, typographic world. Once we are nestled
or better yet, a hallway or atrium in our row, that is the body copy
before you are to enter into a huge getting ready to take the stagethe
performance space. The heart of the meat of the evening. What is needed is
space still lies ahead, where you will a visual transition from the huge drop
spend hours digesting a barrage of cap to the workmanlike body copy.
information, unless it is a night at the Enter the sensible small cap to walk
opera, where you might just catch up us to our seat. JF
on some sleep, but that is another book
altogether. Outside the arena, there are
blaring and bold signs welcoming

62 Type and Typography

Thou shall not
use tabs to
create indents

Commentary Tabs exist to position multiple paragraphs need indents, this

text at specific measurements within manual approach may lead to errors.
a line length. They are useful when A tab might be forgotten. The tab
creating tables of information. Tabs measurement may be set incorrectly.
should not be used to create indents. If there are copy revisions, and there
Indents move the text inward from always are copy revisions, a manually
the left or right edge of the line length. set tab may move and end up in the
Indents should be used, oddly, to create middle of a line. A first line indent is the
indents. The first line indent of a correct approach. This will not affect
paragraph can be set, and then each any copy changes, and the manual input
subsequent paragraph will follow the of individual tabs is not necessary. SA
same measurement. If a tab is used
to do this, the designer will need to
manually insert a tab space. When

Type and Typography 63

Thou shall 1. When a bulleted or numbered list contains items

hang lines
that run to more than one line, it is common to
hang the text from the bullet or number.

of text from 2. A paragraph may also be hung from the first line
of text -- often with a run-in head of bold or italic
a tab in a when no bullet or number is present. In either
case, the hanging indent more clearly marks

bulleted list the item in the list.

3. When a bulleted or numbered list contains items

that run to more than one line, it is common to
hang the text from the bullet or number.

4. A paragraph may also be hung from the first line

of text --often with a run-in head of bold or italic

Commentary A solid swath of body This means that it starts on the left to
copy is like a team: to be successful grab your eye immediately. You might
it needs everyone to fully understand have some intro copy. Not as important,
and perform their role. When someone but still needs your attention, so it
starts to freelance and do their own starts on the left. Then you have the
thing, it weakens the whole operation. tabbed copy, indented to show that
Each piece has a job, with specific it is a subsection. The copy with each
functions, and with good reason. tab is a self-sufficient little burst and
When you have a bulleted list, one must belongs together as a single notion.
understand each role completely, then So why would you let it slip over to
all of the decisions that follow are easy. the left on the next line? Its not a
You have a title or main head that header or body copy. Its a tab and
deserves some attention on its own. proud of it. JF

64 Type and Typography

Thou shall learn the difference
between a typeface and a font

Commentary Designers regularly A font on the other hand is all
refer to typefaces and fonts as the the characters, including numerals,
same thing but theres an important, punctuation, glyphs, and so on, for
albeit subtle, terminological difference. a typeface at one specific point size.
A typeface is a set of characters that Therefore, 80pt Archer Bold is a font.
is independent of an individual point Its a simple distinction but one worth
size but shares other characteristics knowing, especially if you have a
such as the width of its strokes, the tendency toward type-geekiness.
style of its serifs, indeed whether it is One likes to be completist about
serif or a sans serif, and so on. Given these things, after all! TS
this, you can say that Archer Bold (used
for the large numbers at the top of
each page in this book) is a typeface.

Type and Typography 65

Thou shall not confuse
x-height with cap height

cap height


Commentary Its a very important pronounced. Larger x-heights will

rule to remember and, once learned, make the text look heavier and more
the definitions of each will stay with solid, so an increase in the leading may
you forever. To clarify, the x-height be required to compensate. The cap
of a typeface starts from the baseline, height simply refers to the height of
on which all the characters sit, and the capital letters from the baseline
reaches up to the height of the to the top. Be aware that rounded
lowercase letters (not including their uppercase letters sit above the cap
ascenders and descenders). To see height and below the baseline, so this
how differing typefaces have a range measurement doesnt apply to them.
of x-heights, create a line of type, Their additional size is called an
duplicate it, change the font, overlay overshoot. PD
it, and examine the differences. The
ascenders and descenders on letters
with small x-heights will look more

66 Type and Typography

Thou shall consider a
fonts x-height when
specifying line feed

Everything on this line is 28pt

Commentary When I select which of the setting but also because

typeface Im going to use for a new it influences the leading required
project, I like to start by setting blocks for comfortable line-by-line scanning.
of 9pt body text with 12pt line feed (or A font with a large x-height (such as
leading) to see how my various choices Helvetica) will likely need a little more
look. The 912 pt setting isnt an arbitrary leading (or a reduction in point size)
choice, but rather a rough average of than a smaller x-height (such as
the values one might choose for the Centaur) would require, and this needs
point size and leading of body text. to be taken into account when planning
One of the first things I tend to note your layout and grid. You should also
is the variation in the x-height between take the height and depth of the
my font choices, partly because the ascenders and descenders into account
x-height contributes largely to the feel when specifying line feed. TS

Type and Typography 67

Thou shall Leading is named as such
based on the strips of lead
learn what that old typesetters used
to separate lines of metal
leading type. In essence, it is the

means and distance from the baseline

of one line of type laid out
what it does to another. You may also
hear it referred to as line
spacing in conversation.

Commentary Leading has a name more varied and powerful. Based on a

derived from the olden times of premise of using 120 percent of the size
typesetting, yet it is one of the most of the type being displayed, the default
important things to understand in setting for most programs works fairly
becoming a competent designer. You well. But this is an area where the
may also hear this called line feed, but designer can instantly create a
that is usually from people that dont response from the viewer interacting
fully grasp leading. The term comes with his or her layout (feeling tense
from the strips of lead that typesetters and claustrophobic as I tighten the
would use to create specific space paragraph leading, or airy and loose
between lines of metal type. The way as I increase it?) and should be fully
it is applied in the modern era is much explored and understood. JF

68 Type and Typography

Consistent leading within
a paragraph is extremely Thou shall
important. Changing this
can create an unplanned
keep consistent
effect on the reader as they leading within
a paragraph
are made uncomfortable.
One has to consider that
the paragraph is intended
to contain a single thought
and should therefore be
kept cohesive.

Commentary Now that we know how gives the reverse effect, but it is just
powerful leading is, and it is incredibly as jarring. The same is true if you jockey
powerful, we have to understand why around with the leading in a paragraph.
we cant abuse it. If you walk down a By nature, a paragraph is a complete
corridor and it slowly gets narrower, thought and should be kept cohesive.
you feel pretty uncomfortable by the The viewer has to have the same
end, and certainly you are having a interpretation at the beginning as they
different experience than when you do at the end. No matter what the
started out just a few feet back. A desired effect is, the point is to remain
corridor that opens wide by the end consistent in order to achieve it. JF

Type and Typography 69

Thou shall In speaking about paragraph spacing,
one should take into account a number

of factors, such as how the information
is to be received and digested. How much
space is available on the page? Should

paragraph the designer be creative with an option?

Or is it best to go with a tried and true

spacing and
solution like the following half line?

In speaking about paragraph spacing,

use it wisely one should take into account a number

of factors, such as how the information
is to be received and digested. How much
space is available on the page? Should
the designer be creative with an option?
Or is it best to go with a tried and true
solution like the following half line?

Commentary Paragraphs are formed projectindents (or for the true

so that we can digest the information wild child, outdents) are not as visually
in reasonable blocks. This is a simple clean as a line break with a half-line
idea, but one that few designers seem space, but they do conserve space.
to take into account. With that Typographers of the past used various
perspective, the space between creative ways to make this happen,
paragraphs takes on a heightened rarely with readable results, but the
importance. There are a number of masters could finesse it at times (for
ways to accomplish getting our eye example, symbols marking the space
to acknowledge that we have finished between paragraphs as the body copy
one paragraph and are starting continues to run and run and runa
another, and each one has its benefits magazine sidebar mainstay.) If you
and deterrents. The trick is in finding understand the process, the answers
the best solution for your particular become more evident. JF

70 Type and Typography

The terms tracking and kerning quite often get confused.
Thou shall not apply excessive
As described in rule #58, kerning is the adjustment of
space between individual letter pairs, whereas tracking
tracking to body copy
is the adjustment of letter spacing of entire lines or
paragraphs of text. Tracking is a useful feature when
setting body text but it must be used sparingly so as not
to cause problems with legibility. Too much negative tracking
and a sentence or paragraph will appear dense compared to the rest of
the text. To o m u c h p o s i t i ve t r a c k i n g a n d t h e t e x t
w i l l l o o k t o o a i r y, b l u r r i n g t h e d i s t i n c t i o n
between letters and words and making it
d i f f i c u l t t o r e a d . The benefits of tracking are that you
can apply it to entire paragraphs, to single lines, or to a
single word, and this can enable you to pull back widows
and orphans and tidy up awkward line breaks.

Commentary The terms tracking the distinction between letters and

and kerning quite often get confused. words and making it difficult to read.
Kerning is the adjustment of space The benefits of tracking are that you
between individual letter pairs, whereas can apply it to entire paragraphs, to
tracking is the adjustment of letter single lines, or to a single word, and
spacing of entire lines or paragraphs of this can enable you to pull back widows
text. Tracking is a useful feature when and orphans and tidy up awkward line
setting body text but it must be used breaks. As a rule of thumb, when using
sparingly so as not to cause problems a software package like Adobe
with legibility. Too much negative InDesign, I would never go past
tracking and a sentence or paragraph +/25 as a maximum. PD
will appear dense compared to the rest
of the text. Too much positive tracking
and the text will look too airy, blurring

Type and Typography 71

Thou shall always kern unsightly
character combinations

Commentary Quite often, although creating their fonts, typeface designers

the typeface you have chosen may be do consider many of the letters that sit
working well, the spacing between awkwardly together (for example, Kn,
some of the letters can look uneven. To, Ve, Wi) and create kerning pairs
This is a very common aspect of to eliminate the spacing issues. More
typography that designers deal with on often than not, however, its up to you
a day-to-day basis; to compensate, you to adjust and eliminate the unsightly
need to kern the letters. When setting spacing. To do so, simply decrease
uppercase text, the issues are more (or increase) the kerning between
evident, as is the case with letters such the characters so that they are better
as T, V, and W, which force the following balanced and appear evenly spaced in
letter to sit some distance away. When relation to the rest of the word. PD

72 Type and Typography

Thou shall always kern
headlines manually

Commentary The familiar adage, attention is often required. Problem

The bigger they are, the harder they pairs can involve, but arent limited to,
fall, can be applied to type too. Design any characters that dont have vertical
software and kerning pairs work in stems at the side, so A, K, T, V, W, and
tandem to control the character Y are common culprits. In reality, any
spacing of all type and at point sizes number of character pairs in both
below 14pt its hardly ever necessary uppercase and lowercase may need
to apply any manual kerning. Its a good some manual kerningit depends on
job tooimagine the amount of work the typeface. When youre searching
needed to sort that lot out. However, for kerning problems, try squinting
as point sizes increase for crossheads at the setting as it helps to make the
and headlines, the character spacing awkward white spaces between
becomes more visible and some characters more evident. TS

Type and Typography 73

Thou shall not use
negative letter spacing

Commentary If youve ever been up an orphan here and there can

sitting on a train or bus and had more be required. What we are talking about
butts than can possibly fit on the bench is the pulling together of letterforms to
with you try to squeeze on anyway (no the point that they are uncomfortable
time to hit the gym this week, Jim? or right on top of one another. They just
Those sure are a lot of bags youve got, werent designed to work that way,
Mary) then you know what we are much in the same manner that too
on about with negative letter spacing. many people sitting in our lap leaves us
This doesnt mean that you cant nuzzle suffocating to the point of needing the
together to get the job done on bus to pull over at the hospital rather
occasionsome tracking work to pull than our desired stop. JF

74 Type and Typography

Thou shall
not exceed
a character
count of 80
per line in
a measure

Commentary For the sake of around 4575 characters per line; at a

readability, the designer should push you can go to 80, but this depends
ensure that the measure (or line length) on the typeface chosen. On the flip side,
isnt too long. Very long lines can mean a very short measure means that the
that the reader loses their place mid- readers eyes will be continually zipping
sentence or when shifting their eyes back and forth, ensuring a disagreeable
to the start of the following linea reading experience. Working within or
frustrating experience if you have a close to the limits will help to improve
whole book ahead of you! A way of your design. PD
getting around this is to check the
character count in an individual line.
A generally accepted standard is

Type and Typography 75

Thou shall set the second line of
a paragraph longer than the first

Commentary Once we start walking, shorter, gives us pause. Creating this

we definitely appreciate some forward is a combination of selective line breaks
progress. Any step that has to be and tracking as needed. Ragging our
retraced, even if its a half-step pause, copy is an art form in its own right.
is wasted motion. When we read, its It is important to note that this should
the same quality that takes over, and not take precedence over other hard
once we get going, its hard to stop us rules of typography (dont end the
on our stroll toward comprehension. second line with a dangling a or
That is why we like to have the second it or track out +60 just to make it
line of a paragraph set longer than the happen) but it should be attempted
first. The indented white space, if it is wherever possible. JF

76 Type and Typography

Thou shall set the penultimate
line of a paragraph longer
than the last

Commentary As we have already the last line of set type will be shorter
discussed, the paragraph is a construct than the line before it, creating a bit of
of writers; it doesnt actually occur white space to alert the eye to the
naturally like a sentence (which is a full change. A simple meal is structured in
thought as if uttered in conversation). much the same way: appetizer (slightly
Paragraphs are there so that we can shorter first line), entre (slightly longer
digest information in easy stages. Thus, second line, going into the body, or
we have come up with numerous tools main portion, of the paragraph), and
to let the reader know exactly when a the dessert (shorter final line.) If the
paragraph is ending, and another one is dessert is larger than the entre, you
starting. In order for these to work, one have no idea what kind of meal you
of the most important aspects is that have eaten and if it is over. JF

Type and Typography 77

Thou shall not allow a line to
break on the words it or is

Commentary This is one of those rules make it happen. Why do we care so

that really showcases those that are much? Because finishing a line as such
the true masters of paragraph ragging. leaves a massive hanging thought and
You wont find it in any manual, or causes an awkward pause in our
stated as a hard rule in a textbook, but comprehension. The easiest practice
if you work with savvy folks that have is simply to read the text aloud. Once
been in the trenches of publication you do that, you will never let a line
design, this is often one of the first tips end in it or is again. We would never
that they pass on. When working out talk that way; why should we force
justified type, it is harder to accomplish, ourselves to read that way? JF
but when you have flush left or right,
you should be willing to rework a
paragraph seven different ways to

78 Type and Typography

Thou shall not
hyphenate wor-
ds of less than
seven charac-
Commentary Many designers are thing, as I dont believe two characters
happy to hyphenate short words, but followed by a hyphen looks great, but
for me the minimum acceptable its also an editorial consideration, as
number of characters a word should personally I dont think words of five
contain before it can be hyphenated characters or less read cleanly when
is seven. This in turn means a minimum theyre hyphenated. Experienced
of four characters before a hyphen readers store words as shapes to
and no fewer than three characters speed up the reading process and
following a hyphenated line break. seeing the first few characters of a
Fortunately, these parameters can be word helps us to fill in the rest before
set within a paragraph style sheet at weve scanned to the start of the next
the beginning of a project to ensure the line. If you only have one or two
consistency of all body copy (see Rule characters to work with, this process
#69). Why seven? Its partly a visual doesnt happen. TS

Type and Typography 79


Thou shall not mix centered

and flush-left or -right text
Commentary For hundreds of years, This does not mean that centered
typographic layouts used a largely typography inherently wrong. It is
symmetrical, centered approach. entirely appropriate in certain contexts.
Headlines, subheads, and body text Mixing centered and flush-left or -right
were centered or justified. Symmetrical text, however, is wrong. It is similar to
typography was a product of available mixing a simple white t-shirt with red
technology and the printing press. In velvet pantaloons. Its not pretty, and
the 1920s, Jan Tschichold championed looks foolish. As with most things in
a new approach. His frustration with life, maintaining consistency creates
complex, illegible Victorian and Gothic clarity. A consistent centered layout
German forms led him to a system of tells the viewer how and where to look
sans-serif fonts, more negative space, for information. The same is true for an
and asymmetric typography. He asymmetric layout. Mixing the two
considered asymmetry to be more creates confusion and chaos. SA
legible, vibrant, and powerful.

80 Type and Typography

Thou shall
not use justi-
fied text over
a short mea-

Commentary If a designer can spend It facilitates reading and enhances

several years obsessively refining the understanding. Creating a justified
word spacing and kerning of a justified line length that feels effortless is the
paragraph, then justifying a short line correct solution. Typography stops
length is okay. For those with less than being invisible when we are faced with
a decade, this is a bad idea. Justified a discrepancy, such as large word
type requires a minimum number of spaces. When justifying text, a good
characters to be acceptable. This is rule of thumb with line length measures
about mathematics. Too few characters, is to use no more than 80 characters
and the word spacing will become (approximately three alphabets), and
enormous to create a justified axis. no fewer than 26 characters (one
Large word spacing will create rivers alphabet). But the best approach is to
of negative space within a paragraph set the text with a line measure that
and thus make reading more difficult. has an optically consistent amount of
Good typography should be invisible. word and letter space. SA

Type and Typography 81

Thou shall check justification
settings for justified text

Minimum Desired Maximum

Word Spacing: 85% 100% 125%
Letter Spacing: 0% 0% 0% Cancel

Glyph Scaling: 100% 100% 100% Preview

Auto Leading: 150%

Single Word Justification: Align Left

Composer: Adobe Singleline Composer

Commentary Desktop publishing (DTP) want to close up space, enter a value

programs InDesign and QuarkXPress less than 100% for word spacing or
both provide the means to apply manual -0% for letter spacing; opening up
settings for justification. The settings space requires a value greater than
are only applicable to justified text, as 100% for words or +0% for letters;
ragged text uses the optimum letter and so on. Play around with a
and word spacing built into a font. paragraph of dummy copy to see how
If you opt for justified alignment and different values reflow the textits the
the word spacing at your chosen font best way to learn how the functionality
size looks too gappy, or too tight, the works. My tip would be to concentrate
justification settings will help fix things. on the minimum and maximum word
A value of 100% for word spacing or spacing, leaving the desired setting at
0% for letter spacing is equal to no the optimum 100%, and always leave
manual adjustment in real terms. If you the letter spacing set to 0%. TS

82 Type and Typography


Thou shall avoid creating

rivers in justified text
Commentary When a text is justified, to the full measure, the chance of
a distracting visual oddity can often rivers occurring increases. Rectifying
occur whereby the spaces between the problem is straightforward. The
words arrange themselves on top of first step is to introduce hyphenation
one another, forming a curving white into the setting; this can be done
line running vertically through the manually if you wish to reduce the
paragraphsomething referred to as number of hyphens that appear, or it
a river. This can appear in flush-left, can be set up automatically in your DTP
-right, and centered type but, because software. Alternatively, you can track
of the way justified type increases the some of the affected lines in or out to
word spacing by forcing the line of type compensate. Problem solved! PD

Type and Typography 83

Thou shall not allow widows
to appear in text

Commentary One of typographys from the rest of their text, creating

more unusual terms, Ive seen this an unsightly visual anomaly at the top
occur so many times that even some of the column or page. To rectify and
of the most beautifully crafted work, save the widow, review the column
on closer examination, has been marred or page from where it has been forced
by the oversight of not attending to over and track back these lines, which
widows. As opposed to orphans, they are more open (if justified) or are
are single words or lines of text that shorter (if flush-left), to pull back words
have been separated from the rest of and thereby eliminate the widow. The
the paragraph and are either sitting end result will be that the bottom of
at the top of the following column, the column or page finishes cleanly
or pushed over to the opposite page. with the end of a paragraph and the
There they sit all on their own, away next page starts with a new one. PD

84 Type and Typography

Thou shall not allow orphans
to appear in text

Commentary An orphan (which, in and adding to the single word or, if

my view, is commonly and mistakenly there is space, track back certain lines
referred to as a widowsee Rule #71 to pull back words and pull the orphan
for a definition) can be described as a back up to the preceding line. The same
single word sitting on its own at the goes for the single line at the bottom
end of a paragraph, or it can be the of the column or page, although I
first line of a paragraph on its own would take the view that it is better
at the bottom of a column or page. to push it over than take it back so
Visually, it is not very nice to look at that the paragraphs have clean breaks
and it hinders the flow of reading. between columns or pages. Better
In order to rectify this, either put in still, if you are working directly with
some soft returns in the text before it, an editor, ask them if the text can be
pushing words over onto the next line edited in order to fix the problem. PD

Type and Typography 85

Thou shall check that
text is not formatted
with justify all lines
s e l e c t e d
Commentary There are three ways to second option is justify with last line
set justified text, each of which treats centered which is never really going
the final line of a paragraph differently. to work with running copy. The third
The usual method is designated justify option is justify all lines where the
with last line aligned left. This means final line of a paragraph is set to the full
any text on the final line of a paragraph measure regardless of how many words
will effectively not be justified at allit or characters it contains. If a line of
will be ragged left. The character and copy almost fills a measure, falling
word spacing probably wont match short by only an em or so, this option
that of the lines that appear before will work perfectly well. Under any
it, but that is of course the nature of other circumstances it is best to avoid
justified setting, and the reason that the option altogether, so never choose
creating a pleasing result with justified it as a default setting when buliding
text is often difficult to achieve. The style sheets. TS

86 Type and Typography

Thou shall
not hyphenate
text that is
ragged right

Commentary I have had many a and widows dealt with. But the natural
debate on this and, yes, I should get line breaks that appear with flush-left/
out more, but I (and many others) see ragged-right text negate the need to
no reason for hyphenation when the apply hyphenation. It is an additional
body text is ragged right. Yes, line element that, when added, actually
endings should certainly be tidied up, hinders the reading process and doesnt
short words taken over, and orphans look very good. PD

Type and Typography 87

Im not entirely sure why this is the simultaneously become safe havens
case, but theres something going for bad word spacing, which really
on which has set designers against does defeat the object entirely. The
hyphens. Im going to make a bit of answer is, if youre really that
a distinction here as you see hy- scared of using hyphens dont justi-
phens used to good (and often atro- fy text, set it ragged. On the subject
Thou shall not be scared of our
ciously bad I grant you) effect in
newspapers and magazines all the
of ragged text, theres nothing to
stop you hyphenating that either if
useful little friend the hyphen
time, but for some reason books, youre having to deal with short
corporate brochures, and packag- measures and long words. Hang on
ing featuring justified text seem to a minuteI can hear a wail of dis-
have become hyphen no-go areas. sent getting louder and louder. I
The flip side of this is that the same think I may have taken this argu-
books, brochures, and packs have ment a bit too far!

Commentary Im not entirely sure why brochures, and packs have simultane-
this is the case, but something is going ously become safe havens for bad word
on which has set designers against spacing, which really does defeat the
hyphenating at the end of lines. Im object entirely. The answer is, if youre
going to make a bit of a distinction here really that scared of using hyphens,
as you see hyphens used to good (and dont justify text, set it ragged. On the
often atrociously bad, I grant you) subject of ragged text, theres nothing
effect in newspapers and magazines to stop you hyphenating that either
all the time, but for some reason books, if youre having to deal with short
corporate brochures, and packaging measures and long words. Hang on a
featuring justified text seem to have minute, the wail of dissent is getting
become hyphen no-go areas. The louder and louder. I think I may have
flip side of this is that the same books, taken this argument a bit too far! TS

88 Type and Typography

Thou shall use web-safe fonts
for HTML text
<font face="Bookman Old
Style">Most of you will know
which fonts are...</font>
Commentary Most of you will know good advice to limit HTML text to
which fonts are web-safe so Ill pass on the narrow choice of Arial, Georgia,
providing a list of them all here. Ive Verdana, and so on because its proven
always found the term a bit misleading that they read well on screen. Its easy
as it implies that no other fonts will enough to use other fonts within a site
work online. What it really means is if theyre added as a graphic item, and
that web-safe fonts will appear as you online font hosting services mean that
intended them to on the largest number web-safe fonts are likely to become
of PCs and Macs because theyre a thing of the past before too long.
installed by default as part of Windows However, for big commercial sites with
or OS X. To be honest, and despite big a large and diverse user-base, stick with
improvements in the technology, its still web-safe fonts for the time being. TS

Type and Typography 89

Thou shall not
underline text
for emphasis

Commentary Using an underline, or interrupting the flow. This means

an underscore, to emphasize a word emphasis is achieved invisibly without
isnt a total no-no but theres a much jolting the readers attention away from
better wayuse italics. The term the fluid run of the narrative. If youre
underscore derives from the name of designing an application form or
the individual character which typists diagram, for example, the rule doesnt
would apply to words by back-spacing apply so muchits more appropriate
and retyping an underline, and for larger blocks of body copy. Theres
underscoring for emphasis is a bit of now another good reason for not using
a typing thing rather than proper underscores, as online they denote a
typesetting practice. Italics, particularly hyperlink, so any text that will be
when used in running text, present a repurposed from a print project ideally
much more elegant solution and shouldnt contain any underscores
provide the required emphasis without at all. TS

90 Type and Typography

Thou shall use true
typographers quotation marks

Commentary These are sometimes feet (double primes), inches, or seconds,

called smart quotes, which to me so this isnt just a styling issue. The
seems a bit over the top, as there arent sixes open a quotation, the nines
any other kinds of quotes you can use close a quotation and double-up as
correctly. Whenever you need to apostrophes, providing added value
highlight a quotation or utilize an at no extra cost. Except to my dental
apostrophe, please use the proper bills that is, as seeing primes used
quotation marks that look like incorrectly in the place of quotation
miniature floating pairs of sixes and marks makes me grind my teeth, so
nines. The marks that dont have any spare a thought. TS
curly bits are called primes, or double
primes if there are two of them
together, and they specifically denote

Type and Typography 91

Thou shall
use correct
accent marks

Commentary Despite our general help northerners and southerners

assertion and expectation, the rest understand each other. The reason
of the world doesnt do everything in we have printed matter at all is as a
English. They even have the nerve to substitute to a person actually being
add little squiggles, dashes, and dots there to say it in front of us. If they
over some of our precious letterforms. would have stood there pronouncing
How dare they! It seems like some of words as they occur in their natural
these have a basis in how these people environment, then we should respect
talk, you know, with those funny sounds those sounds. If this means mastering
that come out where we would have some of the keyboard shortcuts and
plainly said an o or an e. It might special characters, well, we are learning
seem humorous until you realize that something and broadening our horizons
we could use the same system just to and showing respect on every level. JF

92 Type and Typography

Thou shall use correctly
formatted fractions

Commentary If you have the numbers separated by a slash, when

advantage of reading the copy before a proper, tight fraction is available.
beginning a layout project, especially if Think about it in the sense that a
you expect to be dealing with financials, fraction should take up the equivalent
or some form of numerical breakdown, visual space than a letter, thus less than
I strongly advise that you start with if it were full rounded numbers, and you
typefaces that have full families and get the idea pretty quickly. Like the
might even have specific versions for proper use of small caps, this is an area
fractions. Regardless, this is a place where the reader can instantly see the
where taking a shortcut makes for work of an experienced designer and
a very awkward piece of typesetting. appreciate a more sophisticated ability
There are few things as clunky as two to deal with type. JF

Type and Typography 93


Thou shall use an en-dash to

indicate a range of values

Commentary The use, or misuse, of en-dash. When typesetting these

en-dashes is a common problem in the figures, and if one is using nonaligning
written content that we are sent. An numerals, it is worthwhile kerning a
en-dash should be used when numbers little space between the figures and
or words that denote a range need to the en-dash so that they dont look as
be linked together or to signify an open though they are colliding. An open-
range. For example, 19391945 and ended range would be set as 2011;
100200 BCE are examples of the en- for words that are communicating a
dash being used in a closed range. Note range it would look like this January
that there is no space either side of the December 2011. PD

94 Type and Typography


Thou shall use an em-dash to

indicate a conversational break

Commentary Although used as often Peter decided to use Comic Sans. In

as its cousin, the en-dash, the em-dash addition, it can be used to signify an
is the correct punctuation mark to emotive interruption into a sentence;
insert into a sentence when a for example, I cant believe its,
conversational break is required. The which works better than a period and
em-dash, being more significant in signifies the speaker is left hanging.
presence than a comma, does provide Its use seems to be decreasing, which
greater emphasis in setting apart an I think is a shame. That said, be careful
aside in a sentence. At the same time, not to overuse the em-dash; it can be
it is not as definite as a period, so the somewhat overpowering. Everything in
subject and intent of the sentence is moderation. PD
carried through. For example, Despite
the disapproval of his friendsthey
thought he had forsaken his values

Type and Typography 95

Thou shall tuck periods and
commas inside quotation marks
only in America

Only in America.
Commentary No one is quite sure marks was formed in an earlier time,
when it happened (maybe it was linked founded on the basic needsnamely
to that little independence dust up), that punctuation signaled the end of
but once British conventions were sent a sentence. So, of course it fell outside
across the Atlantic, a few of them of the quotation mark, as that was
seemed to have fallen overboard, part of the thought being expressed.
leaving the Yanks to make their own However, American typesetters noted
decisions. While Americans have the awkward space it creates and, as
removed the u in colors to reflect one of many adjustments, experimented
their pronunciation, other decisions with it on the inside, thus creating a
are more closely linked to modern tighter space. This was soon adopted
typesetting. The placement of as the correct way to position of
punctuation in regards to quotation periods and commas. JF

96 Type and Typography

Thou shall place periods and
commas outside of quotation
marks everywhere but America

Outside of America.
Commentary While American of the marks, to signal the end of a
typesetters would surely tell you that thought in conversation. Holding fast to
they have reengineered the fuddy that thinking, the periods and commas
duddy old-world ways to better effect have to come after all other elements
(and in this case, it is hard to argue of that segment, and that has been the
against the more appealing visual white case in written text from the very
space left by tucking the punctuation beginning until now. While figuring out
inside the quotation marks), that the differences in spelling certain words
doesnt necessarily mean that we can can occupy a lot of your time when
expect that thousands of years of the trying to make a layout for a main
written word will instantly abide by audience in one country or another,
their new rules. Placing the periods and this is the hardest practice to toggle
commas is based upon the intended use back and forth on. JF

Type and Typography 97

Thou shall hang
quotation marks outside
the paragraph margins

Commentary In order to achieve a where a palette window will contain

smoothly aligned left edge for a pull a checkbox called Optical Margin
quote or the body text, its best to Alignment. Here you can key in the
hang the quotation marks. This point size of the text you are using
involves repositioning the opening and it will refine the alignment and
quotation mark out to the left so that hang the punctuation for you. However,
the initial letter of the text sits aligned I always find that it is never quite
with the rest. Its a simple task to do; if enough to key in the exact match of the
you are using a software package such text size you have styled, so I always
as InDesign for your layout, theres a key in a size 2030 percent bigger to
feature under an option called Story ensure a crisper alignment. PD

98 Type and Typography

Thou shall add a period after an
ellipsis at the end of a sentence

Commentary When an ellipsis is I understand there to have been

employed within the text it can be used great debate about this in the past, so
in a number of ways. Dramatically, to whether this entry adds fuel to the fire,
create a pause in speech in the middle who knows? In my professional opinion,
of a sentence (appearing with a space however, it needs the period in order to
either side of the ellipsis). Or at the end provide closure to the sentence. The
of a sentence (preceded by a space), house styles of some publishers may
almost as if the writer has faded away, specify the three dot option (i.e.,
lost in thought. However, a common without the period). In the absence of
mistake is to leave the ellipsis at the any such instructions, you should go
end of a sentence unfinished. with the four dot treatment. PD

Type and Typography 99

and Design
Thou shall
learn about the
Golden Section

Commentary Back when printed The only important measurement is the

books were a relatively new idea, type ratio of short to long side, that being
was generally set in a single justified 1:1.618, which in itself doesnt really
column and placed symmetrically on mean anything unless youre into ratios.
a spread with the outer margins wider This ratio occurs many times in art and
than the inner, and the bottom margin architecture, so it was a natural choice
deeper than the top. The proportions for the basis of book layouts. The pages
assigned to the text area were margins were often worked out using
invariably worked out using a the Fibonacci sequence (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5,
geometrical construct, the most highly 8, 13, 21, and so on) which you can find
regarded of these being the Golden out about by reading The Da Vinci
Section. Measurements dont need to Code. The explanation is quite near the
be specific as the resultant golden start, so fortunately you dont have to
rectangle can be drawn without a ruler, read the whole thing. TS
using a set-square and compass.

Layout and Design 101

Thou shall not be intimidated
by a blank page

Commentary This is it. Everything you typefaces and sizes for us. No corporate
have trained for, all of your dreams and color palette already set out. No images
desires, the full realization of your already selected for inclusion. All of the
creative potential awaits you. So why decisions have been left up to us, and
are your knees buckled and your hands the pressure has left all parts of our
shaking? It is just a blank page before body paralyzed. Pull yourself together!!!
you, a barren canvas for your skills to The opportunity for greatness lies
shape to your liking (or even better still, before you. You are ready for this. I just
to the clients liking). Yet, it stands out know it. Look that blank page square in
as one of the most intimidating forces the eye and announce to the world that
that a designer can ever face. No guides you are an incredible designer. Ready.
to go by, no style sheets deciding our Set. Go! JF

102 Layout and Design

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Thou shall triple check
your document size
before you start
your layout

Commentary In the two decades Ive be a cost issue or even a missed

been working as a graphic designer, deadline. Also, the beautiful design
Ive heard a number of horror stories that you have worked ever so hard on
whereby a designer has worked to will have to be bashed hurriedly into
the wrong document size (for balance, shape, which could result in a poor-
the client, too, has got it wrong on quality final product. Be as certain as
occasion!). Its always discovered at possible from the start: check with the
that crucial stage during final approval client the document size you are to
after months of labor, or worse, when work to and get it in writing, either
its at the printers. This can of course be on a contract or confirmed by email,
fixed, but it will cause a lot of stress: in order to be sure of avoiding such
the client will be angry and there could problems. PD

104 Layout and Design

PAGES Thou shall utilize
master pages
[None] A-Master

B-Master C-Master

100-101 102-103

104-105 106-107

76 Pages in 38 Spreads

Commentary One of the huge ensuring there are no errors. As soon

advantages of using DTP software such as you drop the master pages onto your
as InDesign or QuarkXPress when pages palette window, you can be
laying out large documents is the sure that the elements you need will
master pages feature. With master be there, allowing you to concentrate
pages you can preset all the consistent on the layouts. You can also create
and repetitive elements that would differing masters for alternative grid
appear on a page (running head, folios, designs within the same document
heading boxes, text boxes, etc.) so that and automatically renumber folios if
you dont have to keep recreating them you move spreads around. Even better,
every time you add a page. In addition, controlling your artworks with a book
any alterations made to the masters file allows you to update master pages
will automatically be carried through across differing files without even
to the pages you are working on, saving opening them. Dont ignore them,
hours of labor-intensive activity and theyll save you hours of work! PD

Layout and Design 105

Thou shall
use a grid

to maintain a
layouts structure

Commentary Many designers rebel at individual rooms to relate with each

the idea of using grids. They argue that other. In design, the grid is the invisible
the grid is there to punish them, limit structure that unifies a poster, book,
creativity, and restrain freedom. In fact, or website. Without a grid, any design
the opposite is true. Grids celebrate solution becomes a hodgepodge of
harmonious proportions. They exist to discord. There is one caveat, however,
create consistencies in negative and for those who are experts at grid
positive space. They allow the reader to usage. Grids are like spiderwebs. They
know where to look for specific types should be pristine, elegant, and strong.
of information. They are not to restrain But they are activated when one thing
the elements, but to create harmony. interrupts them. SA
Consider a grid to be the same as the
I-beam structure of a skyscraper. The
I-beams give the structure strength,
and allow for windows, doors, and

106 Layout and Design

Thou shall Commentary If your next
assignment is a 16-page brochure,

build visual visual pace wont be such a big priority,

but if youre designing a 256-page
pace into book illustrated book, this rule is for you.

and brochure
There are some types of books or
brochures (or indeed websites) which

demand that certain elements appear
consistently from one spread to the
next. For example, instructional books
with illustrated tutorials (or perhaps
books of graphic design rules) are likely
to feature repeat page structures to aid
navigation. However, for publications
with content which varies throughout,
seeing the same size image with the
same amount of text and a caption
in the same position every time could
become very monotonous by the time
you get past the first dozen spreads.
Try to vary a layout from one spread
to the next so images change size and
position, thus allowing the flow of the
text to meander and interact with the
imagery in a more random fashion.
Be careful not to lose navigability
the text and images must maintain a
cordial relationshipbut always build
in as much pace as the material will
support. TS

Layout and Design 107

Thou shall understand how to
design with a modular grid

Commentary We are going to learn simple or it can become terribly

an awful lot about designing with grids complex. The joy is that it will hold
during our days doing layout, but one together through limitless variations.
of the most useful is the modular grid. Sticking to the grid will create an
Like many things the Swiss masters invisible sense of balance among all
brought into vogue, the modular grid elements on the layout, even as an
is simple, yet deceivingly sophisticated, image runs the width of three columns
and incredibly intelligent. Formed using of a block of text the height of four.
consistent horizontal divisions from top Even though you cannot see the lines
to bottom, in addition to vertical in the final product, they pull it all
divisions from left to right, it determines together and the viewer just feels
where various elements and blocks of comfortable interacting with your
text line up. The result can be very work. JF

108 Layout and Design

brea k ou t o f the
Thou shal l s it
ou t p re sc r ibe
grid if the lay

drinking too much and end up

lying in inconsistent gutters
covered with messy typography.
But hey, its good for a layout to let
its hair down every once in a while
and give itself a break. Grids
provide layouts with a stabilizing
influence but a layout should take
its grid out on the town every so
often to say thanks for all that
Commentary Grids are things of good advice. Its at times like these
wonder to us designers, especially that the combination of perfect
when they go all multi-column and grid and flexible layout can make
modular. Exciting stuff! Theres a the grandest of statements.
saying that proclaims, Behind Without them, the life of a layout
every great man there stands a can become so phone directory, if
great woman, just as behind every you know what I mean? Okay
great layout there stands a great I just need to ask my wife to
grid. If it wasnt for those grids approve this text before I email
our layouts would stay out late it to the publisher. TS

Layout and Design 109

Thou shall not automatically
use the default margins in
your layout program

Commentary As a designer, the clue applying a principle such as the
is in the title! You need to design, which Golden Section, described earlier in
means considering every minuscule Rule #87, when deciding on its size
aspect of any project you will be and proportions. The default margins
working on, including the margins. for new documents are just a standard
When considering the page layout, border of 12 inch or 12.7mm almost
and how the content is going to be a safety area for the complete novice
organized and structured within it, a and have no design or structural merit,
part of your design process will be to so think creatively and independently!
develop a grid that works harmoniously This book uses inner and outer margins
with the page size. One of the grids of 710 inch/17.5mm with a top margin
many structural components will be the of 80.5pt and a bottom margin of
margin area and you should consider 65.5pt. PD

110 Layout and Design 1

Thou shall not place content too
near the trim edge or gutter

Commentary Apart from an generous enough to absorb a slight

improvement in the tolerances involved, variance in width or height. Overly
the technology used to trim and bind narrow margins will visibly jump if the
printed publications hasnt really pages of a book are thumbed rapidly, so
changed much for decades. Even the try to allow at least 14 inch (6mm) for
best bindery plant has to account for small items like folios and at least twice
some leeway when trimming finished that for large text blocks and images.
copies of brochures and books, and for Consider the gutter margin, too, as
this reason its advisable not to place bunching may occur in publications
content too near a trim edge. The fact with a large page extent, swallowing
that it might get guillotined off during content which can otherwise only be
the binding process is only half the seen by breaking the books spine. TS
story. Its harder to detect small
changes in the gap between the text
area and the trim if the said gap is

Layout and Design 111

Thou shall
design books
and magazines
as spreads,
with facing

Commentary Walk into your closet hideous outfit! You would never dress
and place a shirt against a pair of pants this way, so why would you design a
you are going to wear later in the week. page in printers spreads (already
Inevitably, you are going to want them imposed) or worse, all alone? You know
to look decent against one another. that the left and right facing pages will
Then take the shirt out and place it on be next to one another for the final
the bed. A few hours later, walk into viewer, so start from that perspective
the closet and hold up a pair of pants when designing. Always consider what
against a shirt you wore yesterday. each what will appear on the opposite
Again, you are going to want them to side to the page youre designing. JF
look good together. Put the pants on
along with the shirt you laid out earlier.
You know what doesnt match? Your

112 Layout and Design

Thou shall design spreads
with crossovers in mind

Commentary Now that we have come together that way, that except
decided to design with our pages facing for the center spread, none of the pages
one another (as anyone with common that nestle next to one another actually
sense would), we have to consider the exist that way for the printer (thus, the
work that needs to be done after we designation printer spreads for the
have finished. Oh, right, the poor formation post imposition.) So we have
printers that have to realize our vision to remember that letters that cross
on paper and all bound up, allowing for over from page to page will get cut off
pages to be turned and enjoyed. We and not line up, images with specific
know that the viewer will experience detail will suffer the same fate. Some
the pages side by sidein a spread printers are better than others, but the
so we are designing with that in mind. onus is on us as designers to make it
We also know that it doesnt actually look its best. JF

Layout and Design 113

Thou shall create a focal
point for every layout

Commentary In most cases a layout break away from this convention, and
will contain a piece of information such its good to break the rules sometimes,
as a headline which should be the first the focus must be achieved using a
thing the reader looks at. In Western visual device such as color, font size, or
culture the focal point is normally the a strong graphic element. Bear in mind
top left corner of a page or spread, that readers tend to react in a different
so its no surprise that this is where a way to text and images as were
heading is usually positioned. Placing naturally inclined to gather information
it anywhere else will fight against the about what were looking at, so a well-
natural instincts of the reader to look at positioned headline will often trump an
the top left corner first. If you want to image in terms of focus. TS

114 Layout and Design

Thou shall
always have
at least one
si 21
e Pe opl
e folio showing
fo r th per spread
g rap

Commentary When you are deep in spread? Certainly this works in the
a design, it can be easy to lose sight of isolation of designing a single spread,
the final viewer. This leads to a number but if we give in once, we are sure to do
of different decisions, but one of the so a few more times before finishing off
easiest to shed is the tiny, harmless our publication. Now, the viewer doesnt
little folio often at the bottom of the interact with a single spread. They have
page. Its not really bothering anything, the entire thing, well over a hundred
but my spread would look so nice if it pages in their hands and they like to
had a clean section of deep color in the know where they are as they flip
bottom left corner, and over here to the through. You see what I am hinting
right seems to beg to go all white and, at. They dont need to be on every page,
well, cant we just eliminate them for a but at least one of each facing one. JF

Layout and Design 115


Thou shall periodically check

a printed laser or inkjet rather
than viewing a layout on screen
Commentary Despite the amazing the detailing and sizing of the
quality and definition of modern typography, and check that all the
monitors, theres nothing better to content required for the page has
judge the quality and detailing in your been included. We still always start
design than viewing a printout at actual with paper and pen and never design
size. I always insist, when reviewing on the screen. A majority of the time,
the earlier development stages of work your mind is concentrating on the
in my studio, that we do it with laser mechanical aspects of using the
printouts. Only then can we get the software rather than the creative
most accurate understanding of how part of how to work the layouts. Only
the design is progressing, check the printouts will really show how your
balance and structure of the layouts, design is working. PD

116 Layout and Design

Thou shall
consider how
a layout looks
at full size and
as a thumbnail

Commentary I like small type as much edition of a few hundredcertainly not

as the next guy. All things being equal, on a book cover that will sell all around
I like it more than the next guy! I love the world, or a can of soda that will be
a detailed and nuanced illustration or produced in the billions. Why, you ask.
photo as well, something that truly Why cant those layouts have little bits
rewards closer inspection. And I have of important type? Because more often
come to realize that there is a time and than not, they sell online, and that
a place for this type, but often that means respecting that most consumers
place is not in commercial products, will first interact with it in a tiny form.
even if it is a piece of music packaging Be sure that it works both on screen
that is only manufactured in a limited and in person. JF

Layout and Design 117

Thou shall use a baseline
grid for body copy, especially
in books and brochures

Commentary Lets quash a vicious use to guide the placement of larger

rumor once and for all: baseline grids elements in a layout, providing a
are not dull devices that restrict modular system that works both
creativity. Its true that the Why not horizontally and vertically. Baseline
just place everything where it looks grids encourage consistency because
right? approach can work perfectly they help you to make decisions about
well for many projects, but if youre where to position type and images
designing a brochure, magazine, or across multiple pages, hence the
book, a baseline grid is an incredibly reference to books and magazines
good idea. So if youve not used one earlier, and your layouts will look much
before, you should give it a go. A more professional if repeat items such
baseline grid extends the standard row as page headings align properly
and column grid that most designers throughout. TS

118 Layout and Design

Thou shall take care to
align baselines of type
in adjacent columns

Commentary You spend hours picking certainly appears so. Nothing major
out just the right suit, spending a small you think, who would notice such a
fortune. You decide you can save a little thing, anyway. You jet off and soon find
bit on the tailoring, so you go to a cut- yourself standing outside the dance
rate place around the corner. The day floor. A very attractive woman comes
of the big event, you hustle back to get up and asks if you are able to dance.
dressed only to discover that something You flash an uneasy smile and reply,
looks a bit off in the mirror. Could it be Dont you mean would I like to dance?
that they have hemmed the pant legs a No, she says. I meant are you able?
little higher on one leg compared to the On account of your legs being two
other? You look at every angle, and it different lengths. JF

Layout and Design 119

Thou shall align the bottom
margin with the baseline grid

Commentary This is one of my pet because the margins are in inches

favorites when it comes to rules that and the baseline grid is in points. This
should never be broken (yep, there are is such an easy thing to put right as
some unbreakable rules). That doesnt all you have to do is measure the final
stop designers from doing it though, baseline to trim distance in either of
and when they do, it highlights one those units and set that as your bottom
of the worst possible layout errors, the margin. But so many folks dont bother
slight misalignment. Heres the scenario. and it looks so messy when you try to
The margins are set and the baseline align an image with the last line of text.
grid is added with a start point at the The funny thing is, slight misalignments
top of the text area. All good to go you really stand out while whopping great
say but waitthe final baseline and the big ones dont because they look
bottom margin dont quite line up intentional. Please avoid. TS

120 Layout and Design

Thou shall align layout
content harmoniously

Commentary Alignment the readers eye off the spread

considerations should extend to all altogether. The way elements align
elements of a layout taken as a whole within any layout influences the
rather than simply images with images, structure just as much as the grid
text with text, and so on. Furthermore, dictates where content should be
the alignment of the text itself should placed, and as long as the elements
be considered alongside the positioning dont fight with one another while
of images, so an image centered on a jostling for position, a layout will
page might benefit from a centered generally work perfectly well. The
headline beneath it. If you want to harmony in a layout stems not from the
draw the readers attention toward a fact that alignments are right, but from
premium image positioned toward the the fact that theyre not wrong. TS
right of a brochure spread, consider
using flush right text aligned down the
left edge, but be careful not to propel

Layout and Design 121

Thou shall French arc
followed an

not always with empha

A growing
attempt to align but one mus
In the Dord
captions to the with much

same baseline
but of finer

as body copy Examples of unspoilt

pioneer of th
Several fact
medieval architecture can be
found throughout the Limousin
and it is not
region of central France. natural sto
pale colors

Commentary Its a common error than the captions, the leading

among inexperienced designers, as they applied to it (which your baseline grid
try to get a grip on the rules of using has been set to) will be too great for
page and baseline grids, to become the captions. This will result in them
obsessed with locking everything to looking aesthetically poor and gappy.
grids, including captions. This doesnt You can, however, set the first line of
need to be the case. At the start of a the caption to lock to the baseline grid
project, as you evaluate the content so that it is in alignment with the top
supplied and decide on the styling line of the body text. With this done,
requirements, you will have to decide its simply a case of applying an
which text elements should be locked appropriate leading to the caption
to the grid. As your body text is larger and letting it hang. PD

122 Layout and Design

Thou shall use
alternative baseline grids
within caption boxes
The magenta keylines drawn
above the master baseline
grid help to demonstrate
how selecting an alternative
baseline grid for your caption
boxes allows you to align
body and caption text
with different leading.

Commentary An alternative to the positioned correctly. It also allows

technique outlined in Rule #107 is to you to create a ratio between the
create your own custom baseline grid two baseline grids so you can create a
for captions. This is particularly useful proportionate leading between the two
when your page layout has multiple text styles. For example, say your page
captions (such as annotation) spread leading is set at 15pt with 10pt body
across the two pages. DTP software text. Your captions can be set at 10pt
such as InDesign allows you to create leading with 7pt body text, giving a
adjustable baseline grids within the multiple of three lines for every two
caption boxes, independent from the from the master baseline grid. If you
baseline set on your master pages. align the first line of your caption text
This allows you to ensure alignment with any line of the body text, your
between captions if the boxes are typography will look much sweeter! PD

Layout and Design 123

Thou shall use rounded
numerical values when placing
elements on your layout

X: 17.5 mm W: 120 mm 100% 0

Y: 80.5 pt H: 98.5 pt 100% 0

Commentary Graphic designer 10.367mm from the top of the trim

and typographer should be bywords edgewhats wrong with 10mm?
for precision, and a compulsion to be A picture scaled to 86.428 percent
accurate is essential when working why not 86.5 percent? Headlines at
with type and layouts on a computer. 30.697ptwhere did that figure come
After all, your project will be printed from? I understand we all have a lot
or published online for everybody to to think about and a lot to remember
see. One of my real pet hates (and (the numerous rules in this book are
it REALLY drives me mad!) is the prime examples), and invariably with
inaccurate laying out and positioning a deadline looming the pressure is
of elements for artwork, such as on, but taking care with your work
employing random and inconsistent brings more quality to it and will make
measurements throughout. For you the better designer. Phew! Okay,
example, a picture box positioned rant over . . . . PD

124 Layout and Design

Thou shall ensure spacing is
consistent throughout a layout

Check out the surf

Visit our private beach Relax in style Remember a good book

Commentary Rigor is part of the distance between the baseline of a

job of being a good designer. It is caption and the bottom of an image.
the difference between a world-class Adhere to this spacing on all images.
designer and a hack. Sloppy and Fourth, create rules (stroke size) as
inconsistent spacing is the first clue part of the paragraph style of the text.
to identifying a careless designer. First, This will maintain a consistent spacing
use a grid to maintain consistent line between the baseline of the typography
length, rule width, and image sizes. and the rule. It may be tempting to
Second, use the guides to ensure optically determine these spacing
uniformity in the position of text and issues, but you are not that good. Do it
images. Third, specify a comfortable mathematically and consistently. SA

Layout and Design 125

Thou shall be certain to stay
consistent with use of type and
color throughout a project

Commentary There are two schools of typographic style, and color palette
design. At one extreme of the spectrum is required. Basic compositional rules
designers believe that self-expression dictate that a color palette be related,
with no regard to the client problem is and each color echoed somewhere on
good design. At the other end of the the project. A design solution calls for
spectrum are designers who believe a large red circle. Echo this color
that the individual designers style elsewhere, so it does not appear to be
should be invisible and only the clients an alien object. The same is true with
problem should be relevant. Many typography. Univers is the typeface on
designers work somewhere between the cover of a book. Use Univers inside
both schools, solving a problem, while the book also. Otherwise it will appear
allowing for self-expression. Unless a that two different designers, with no
designer is only interested in self- communication, designed the cover
expression, with no regard to and interior. SA
communication, consistency of

126 Layout and Design

Hello. I am Important.
I am also important. Not as important
as the item on the top though.

Thou shall
establish a visual
/ am required reading but not essential.
I am secondary information that would be nice
if you read me and comprehended my deeper

hierarchy which
understanding of the subject matter.

I am bulleted text. Highlighted.

leads to the
I am also bulleted text. Highlighted.
I am also bulleted text. Highlighted.
I am still bulleted text. Highlighted.

most important
Commentary Assembling all of the selections and type size, all reflect
components for your design is the easy this goal. It can be as simple as size
part. Making sure to get the main point or placement, but often you will need
across is much more difficult. The first, to dig into your toolbox for color and
and most important step is to establish other graphic devices. You will then
what that point is with your client. need to work out which is the next
Once you are on the same page, the most important bit and so on and so on.
sooner you start to set up a hierarchy, Using everything you know about type
the easier time you will have in creating and image, set up your layout so that
a successful solution. There is always a the viewer leaves with all of the
star or herothe most important needed information. JF
bit of information that the viewer
should take away. Be sure that your
layout, right down to your font

Layout and Design 127

Thou shall This was the point in the story
when an INTENSE flash took
experiment him over and sent things
sprawling, falling, crawling,
with paragraph seemingly all was lost
as he began to
layout only for choke.
conceptual The other side,
reaching out, was
emphasis a light. Dim, then brighter
and brighter still. Until he
knew that he had properly
laid out the paragraph.

Commentary After all of this talk or set of paragraphs. The key is that
about rules, it is probably starting to it has to be intentional and purposeful,
feel like all we are telling you is things or else it will just look shoddy and
that you cant do. The man is literally unprofessional. A layout about a dense
keeping you down. I thought we all got forest gets six tall, narrow columns of
into this to be creative, right? Well, type nearly side by side? Worth looking
here is a bit of freedom of the highest in to! A story about reaching a
order. Now that you know the rules, mountaintop is laid out in a cone of
and you know that most other type widening with each line? You
professionals have a fair grasp on know it works. Just be sure to only do
the major ones as well, you can finally it when really and truly appropriate. JF
break them wide open. Nothing makes
a bigger impact on a reader than an
experimental layout of a paragraph,

128 Layout and Design


Thou shall not

ignore the advantages
of visual grouping
Commentary Imagine if you could Grouping anchors objects together
take a layout and physically pull it apart by invisible threads, which our eyes
in several different directions. If theres then fill in for us, and in turn help to
no strong relationship bonding the create good navigation by drawing
elements that make up the layout itll the eye through a layout in the correct
split and pull apart, but if youve used order. Grouping can be achieved
visual grouping effectively the layout through the use of borders, panels,
will spring back together like elastic rules, or even typographic hierarchy,
when you let go. Its a slightly odd as well as the obvious idea of using
analogy, I know, but think it through proximity to form distinct groups of
and youll see what I mean. Using visual content. Take care not to create areas
grouping will provide structure for of trapped space between groups by
a layout that might otherwise appear watching whats happening around
as a collection of free-floating islands. the edges of your layout. TS

Layout and Design 129

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O ptatiuscium reiundus volo opta

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cuptate delest, inis sitibus disque velita dolenihil re omni quame aut. cuptate delest, inis sitibus disque velita dolenihil re omni quame aut.

Thou shall not corral

white space in the
middle of a layout
Commentary When designers talk create better visual navigation by
about white space, what they really drawing a readers eye through a layout
mean is blank paper. If youre new to in the correct sequence. For both these
graphic design, you might feel uneasy reasons you should try to avoid creating
about white space, seeing it as a missed blocks of white space which are
opportunity to add another image or surrounded on all sides, as these areas
some more text. The thing is, the white of white space act like holes in a layout
space between items is integral to which the reader can fall in to and get
a layouts structure for two reasons. stuck. Try to give your white space
Firstly, it provides a frame for objects room to breathe and dont pen it in or
or groups, thus setting them apart from itll turn on you and do bad things to
other elements. Secondly, it helps to your layout. TS

130 Layout and Design

Thou shall only use as many
columns as you genuinely need

Commentary A document grid exists can vary the measures for running text,
to make it easier to create accurate captions, and so on without departing
layouts with correctly and consistently from the grid itself. However, try not
positioned content, so it makes sense to to get carried away with the number
keep grids simple. A good grid will also of columns you introduce. A 27-column
be flexible, of course, as you dont want grid is all very well, but its very hard
to be restricted by what you can do to keep track of consistency with that
with the content, and the number of many columns in use and youre likely
columns you use exerts considerable to end up with columns that are equal
influence on that flexibility. Grids with to or narrower than the gutters. Start
odd numbers of columns can be with fewer columns and add more
particularly useful as they allow images as required, or use guides to create
to break into columns of text and you sub-columns if you need them. TS

Layout and Design 131

Thou shall persevere with
InDesigns Table functionality

Commentary Early in my career I Until, that is, the client calls to say they
worked for a design firm that did a lot need to add three weeks to the season
of work for the tourism industry, so and oh, by the way, we secured rooms
that meant brochures with lots of in two more hotels. Without table
complex price tables created by hand functionality its start againno going
in QuarkXPress. All the rows and home for you tonight, my friend. With
columns were separately drawn rules table functionality, its insert two
and all the text was tabbed by hand columns and insert three rows, adjust
or a series of individually linked text the size a little, and youre off to a bar
boxes. Boy, was it difficult and time- for a well-deserved beer. Its not that
consuming work, but what a sense of intuitive a process to be honest, but its
achievement when youd completed a worth sticking with in case you ever
table with all the footnotes and extras. get that call. TS

132 Layout and Design

Thou shall only use footnotes*
where they best serve the
editorial content

Commentary When you are If these footnotes are more reference-

considering typographic styling for based (for example, a list of third-party
a book, it may be that the use of reference material) then these could be
marginal annotation is requested by the placed at the rear of the book as
author or client. If so, stop and consider endnotes. Similarly, if a large volume
what type of book or publication it is of footnotes exists and the title is more
and what the comments are actually of a narrative text, as in a story, then an
communicating. If working on a abundance of footnotes placed at the
technical or academic title, it will be bottom of the page can look unsightly,
useful to employ the annotation as be intimidating to read, and may break
footnotes (i.e., at the bottom of the up the flow too much. Better that these
page) to aid the reader and expand on are placed as endnotes, as previously
their understanding of the material. described. PD

*An ancillary item of text providing additional information that is printed at the foot of the page.

Layout and Design 133

Thou shall
remember that
one does not
have to fill up
every section
of a multi-
column page

Commentary White space is your The compulsion can be to increase the

friend. Say it with me. White space is size of the photo until it all fills out the
my friend. Like in music, it is often the space perfectly. Worse still, you might
notes that you dont play that resonate start adding extra spot illustrations or
the most with the listener. Far too many pumping up the size of a pull quote to
layouts suffer from crowding out, force the issue. All of that takes away
filling every last nook and cranny with from the original intent and ends up
elements or text. Say you have a multi- making the layout uncomfortably
column layout before you, and the text crowded. The grid already has the page
holds to the style of the rest of the organized and less is often more. JF
document. But paired with the photo
and caption on the page, it leaves
enough space for two more paragraphs.

134 Layout and Design

This is one column This is one column This is one column
This is one column
of text that you need of text that you need of text that you need of text that you need
to deal with. Factor to deal with. Factor to deal with. to deal with. Why
in the length and in the length and not try a hangline?
start planning. start planning. How
you decide to use
this, now that you
know it will be
longer, determines
a lot.

Thou shall consider a hangline

when given inconsistent
columns of text
Commentary One of the most the ceiling so that you have a clear
maddening things can be when a visual organization that celebrates the
designer is presented with inconsistent difference in scale, while still keeping
amounts of text that need to work in the wall from feeling cluttered and all
a multi-column document. But a little akimbo. The same is true in a layout.
perspective helps soothe the nerves and Creating a hangline, you organize the
find a ready solution. When you are vertical columns with a horizontal line
given a stack of framed prints to go in your grid. You can even have certain
across a wall and they all differ in elements only exist above the line, etc.
height, what do you do? You make a It is referred to as a hangline because
horizontal line where the tops of each the columns of text hang from a
piece start at the same distance from common line invisible to the viewer. JF

Layout and Design 135


Thou shall use layers to organize

type, color, and imagery
Commentary The ability to organize multiple clickingthats what. Sure,
and distribute content over a range of its not essential for simple layouts that
separate layers that can be color coded only get worked on by you, but what if
and labeled is an absolute no-brainer. you work with a team or have to send
Its one of the best things introduced files out for third parties to edit. The
into todays layout applications. So its ability to add all the text to its own
a bit of a mystery why anyone wouldnt layer and lock up the color so it cant
use layers, instead choosing to dump be moved or deleted accidentally is a
everything onto one default layer. pretty compelling argument. Try to get
What happens if you want to select into the habit of using at least one extra
something that appears behind another layer for all your text and itll pay
object? Lots of fiddling about and dividends in the long run. TS

136 Layout and Design

Thou shall not
use multiple
layers of
content unless
they provide
a benefit

Commentary First, let me define layers of clear communication. Unfortunately,

here. This is not the good type of layer there are still designers who are under
a designer uses to organize information the false assumption that they have
with Adobe Photoshop. This is the invented a unique and revolutionary
result of reckless layering of objects, style with layers on layers of found
images, and typography to create images, odd squiggles, and distorted
interest. Interestingly, this same typography. Too often, when faced
technique of layering images on top of with a project that isnt compelling,
other images, or pieces of typography, a designer decides that adding another
was an afternoon hobby of upper-class element will help. This is wrong. This is
women in Victorian England and 19th- the same as putting more frosting on
century America. Hopefully, a century a badly made cake. Go back to square
of technological advances, aesthetic one; the original idea is probably
movements, and educated designers, flawed. Adding to it is only ignoring
has discarded this technique in favor the reality of a bad idea. SA

Layout and Design 137

Thou shall not
use Microsoft
Word for layouts

Commentary If I had a dollar for layout and typographic features do not

every client who, fancying themselves allow any flexibility, or the precision to
as something of a designer, has used craft and create designs. In addition,
Word to lay out a document, I would Word has no prepress ability, nor does
be a rich man! So why not use it? Well, it have industry standards such as
Word provides little flexibility for a Pantone color systems built in. You
designer to work with as it is set up for should be using dedicated design
writing letters, making lists, or laying software such as InDesign or
out text-based reports. The clue is in QuarkXPress for your work. You
the name: it is great for writing text, wouldnt use a saw to hammer a nail
not designing layouts. For the graphic into wood, so dont use Word to design
designer, Words very limited page your layouts. Ever! PD

138 Layout and Design

Thou shall
not design in

Commentary You might think I am at our disposal. PowerPoint is good

crazy for even making this a rule, but at one thing and one thing only, making
trust me when I tell you that sooner incredibly basic slide shows. And even
rather than later a client will be there, it is horribly out of date. What
asking you to design something in it has in its favor is that it is used
PowerPoint, all the while swearing up everywhere, thus the push from your
and down that it is the most creative client. Frighteningly, its tools seem to
application ever created and you just have been set up to encourage crimes
havent tried to appreciate its abilities. against design, particularly when
Now, we can acknowledge that it comes to scaling type and images
PowerPoint may indeed be the most vertically. I shudder just thinking about
creative application that THEY have it. Dont encourage it and certainly
ever worked in. But we have other tools dont do it yourself. JF

Layout and Design 139

Thou shall learn how to
thread large quantities
of linked text correctly

Commentary Let me paint a picture it was first supplied, and the designer
here. A designer receives copy for a has no idea where each paragraph
publication. He or she places the copy should subsequently belong. This is bad.
into the Adobe InDesign document. Alternatively, once copy is placed in the
The designer then copies and pastes document and organized as linked, or
each paragraph into place. So far, threaded, text, the order will always
everything seems okay. The client remain clear. By selecting show text
reviews the proof and changes the threads handy arrows appear. These
order of the pages. The copy is now identify each text block and the order
no longer in the same order in which of subsequent text blocks. SA

140 Layout and Design

Thou shall
create text
threads for
stories or
chapters at the
planning stage

Commentary When you are first view the complete linked text chain.
supplied with the copy for a multi-page Once all the copy is styled, you will
layout, you are usually forced to break know how many pages it takes up and
it up into parts to a certain degree, but be able to start making some design
large portions can usually stay intact. decisions pretty quickly. Why is this
It is best to keep stories or chapters preferable to creating separate text
as a single chunk of copy by first boxes and cutting and pasting each
importing the text into a series of item of copy as you go? Because
threaded text boxes. The small signifier subsequent edits will affect the entire
at the bottom right of the first text box flow of the story or chapter, and losing
can be clicked to load the cursor with that connection is the quickest and
any overmatter, allowing you to create easiest way to misplace a portion of
as many extra text boxes as needed to text in your final file. JF

Layout and Design 141

Thou shall always spell-chcek
especially when text is suplied

Commentary Many designers believe solution. The same rules apply to

they are visual people and reading is copy supplied by the client. The initial
for uptight academics only. Or they are contract should make clear that all copy
convinced that spelling in the texting proofing is the final responsibility of
world is correct. This is wrong. Youre the client. However, once a project is
is not spelled UR. The mark of an printed or published online, a misspelled
ignorant and careless person is most word remains a sign of carelessness.
clearly illuminated by misspelling. The designer will be assigned the blame
Nothing is more detrimental than as he or she sets the copy. This may lead
spelling errors in a proposal, email, or to the designer paying for a rerun of the
presentation. A misspelling on a rsum entire job, or any damages caused by
is, frankly, a career-killer. In the past, a the error. Once again, spell-checking the
keen eye and superior education solved copy, regardless of the source, is the
this issue. Today, spell-check is the easy and required solution. SA

142 Layout and Design

Thou shell note
rely solely on the
two prick up
every text error

Commentary Every designer should readers will notice, for example, an

possess a dictionary in support of any abundance of the letter z where there
computer-based spell-checking would normally be an s. This book is
software. Its a must! Spell-checkers are an international co-edition with U.S.
far from perfect, and, as illustrated in spelling, but because many words have
our rule above, they will not highlight two acceptable spelling variations, and
words that are spelled correctly but with spell-checkers defaulting to a U.S.
out of context. International spelling preference, it is always worthwhile
creates further issues. If you are checking with the client to see which
reading this book in the United States style they prefer to use for their
you will not find anything out of the publications and whether they can
ordinary with the spelling, but British provide guidelines. PD

Layout and Design 143

Thou shall not rekey
supplied text into a layout
always copy and paste

Commentary On occasion we work If you do rekey in and make a mistake,

with manuscripts that are up to the client will spot it, wonder how this
100,000 words long. Thats a lot of mistake has occurred, and be annoyed
content written by an author, edited by that you introduced errors into their
a client, and sometimes revisited by a material. They might then mistrust you
proofreader. The manuscript has been as a supplier and wonder what other
checked, amended, and finalizedand errors you could possibly have made.
is correct! We therefore always copy Worse still, they might not spot the
and paste the texts into a layout and error until the book has printed!
never rekey ineven if we think its Thats not good for any clientdesigner
saving time or is an easy wordas relationship. It is more than just a
even the shortest of words has the typoits all about trust, respect, and
chance to be misspelt by retyping. being professional. PD

144 Layout and Design

Thou shall understand how
and why a book or brochure
publication is structured

Commentary As with letterform integral to book publishing and it would

anatomy, so with books and be embarrassing if you had to ask the
brochuresit is important to know client what they are! There are, of
how they are structured. A book, course, certain orthodoxies in the
or other publication type, has many running order of a book, especially
elements to it other than the cover within the prelims and endmatter.
and text pages. The designer must be These vary depending on content, but
familiar with these details, as they have they all work to more or less the same
to be factored into the flatplan and structure. However, once you know the
designed in the appropriate manner. naming conventions and the standards,
Items such as the half-title and title you can explore how to present them in
pages, the imprint and contents, are fun and exciting ways. PD

Layout and Design 145

Thou shall not use Paragraph
Composer in InDesign


Commentary Paragraph Composer making even the slightest adjustment,

is a feature (and the default setting) such as changing a word, the entire
within InDesign that automatically paragraph will reflow. If you have
controls line breaks in paragraphs. soft returns in the paragraph then this
Although it might be a useful feature will cause further issues. For editors
for inexperienced designers, I would working on books, its just a nightmare.
never use it in my work. Instead, you Work on the text completed previously
should always make certain it is can be undone by a piece of auto-
switched to the alternative Single-line formatting prompted by Paragraph
Composer. The single-line mode allows Composer, and gaps in the body text
the designer to control line breaks and can open up without the editors
not have InDesign making tracking knowledge. As the designer, keep it
and line-ending adjustments on your single-line and make the line-ending
behalf. The central problem with adjustments yourself. As they say, no
Paragraph Composer is that, when pain, no gain. PD

146 Layout and Design

Thou shall recommend copy
changes if they can improve
clarity and help the layout

Commentary There are many ideas someones messy content and clean
about the purpose of design. Some it up. A good designer clarifies the
claim that it is in service of commerce, content with visual form and copy. If
others postulate that it be used for the copy is unclear or just plain wrong,
social change. One side of the industry suggest changes. If the problem is
supports personal exploration, while extreme, suggest hiring a copywriter.
the other encourages an impersonal The final product in its entirety reflects
approach. In any instance, the most on the designers skills. Saying, I didnt
basic requirement is communication. have anything to do with the copy, will
Clear communication is a result of not enhance a designers reputation. SA
legible and understandable visual
forms. Designers are not type maids.
It is not the designers job to take

Layout and Design 147

Thou shall design website
visuals to correct screen

Commentary When asked to create of global users, although 1280 x 800

a website concept, many designers or 1:0.625 is actually slightly more
use software they know well, say popular in the U.S. and UK. This isnt the
Photoshop or InDesign, before handing whole story, however, as users tend not
visuals over to a developer. If the to maximize their browser window, so
design is going to translate successfully its a good idea to design for a fixed
to the screen, its really helpful to width while assuming that users will
design to a page size thats correctly expect to scroll down to view more
proportioned for the majority of content. Research indicates that a fixed
screens so the developer can slice up width of 960 pixels seems to be an
the artwork without having to rejig acceptable size to go for. TS
everything. A safe bet for most screens
is 1024 x 768 pixels, and a ratio of
1:0.75, which will cater to the majority

148 Layout and Design

Thou shall not employ a web
developer who has a bad website

Commentary When we start to worse yet, we choose web developers

assemble a team for a project, we often based on their price and availability,
dont heed our own advice. We expect forgetting that they are going to be a
that our clients will do their homework creative partner in realizing our vision
and research various designers and for the client. Think about it as if you
determine who might be the best fit for were putting together a band. If you
their particular project before giving us play hard rock and you need a bass
a call or email (because, we are indeed player, you dont go hiring the guy
the perfect fit for them, of course.) playing in the horrific calypso band
When this doesnt take place, we are in the mall, just because he is free on
the first to throw a little fit. However, Saturday nights. You already know he
when we go looking for a writer, we has lousy taste. Be as diligent with your
often dont read their samples and own teammates. JF

Layout and Design 149

Thou shall remember that type
legibility differs wildly from
print to screen

Commentary It seems like an obvious moderate x-height and works much

thing to say that what works in print better on screen. Certain typefaces have
wont necessarily work on screen, but been constructed specifically with an on
lets say it anyway. A font like Times screen application in mind, like Georgia
Roman is generally accepted as one of and Verdana, and we find them lacking
the most readable serifs in print, even if in most respects in print form. The most
it lacks a little in style. However, it is an important part of the equation is
absolute failure onscreen, with its forms figuring out where your text is going
distorting and it being generally tough to be read, and designing with that
to understand. Screen legibility is most foremost in your mind. JF
influenced by a typefaces x-height, so
keep that as a consideration. Times New
Roman has been adapted with a

150 Layout and Design

Thou shall always
use typographic [Basic Paragraph]

style sheets in The Rules


long documents

[None] [Basic Paragraph]

Commentary The Rules

Initial TXT1

Commentary Style sheets are a desired style in the Paragraphs style

thing of beauty and, when used palette and, hey presto, all done!
correctly, will enhance your life and Consider the following situation: youre
make you a better person! Well, maybe nearing the end of the book and the
Im going a bit far, but what they will client asks to see the B-Heads one point
do is provide exacting consistency and bigger. Its a change you are happy to
ensure that a number of fail-safes are in make as its a single adjustment to the
place when you are typesetting a long style master! The hundreds of B-Heads
document such as a book. First, simply in the book are instantly restyled,
create the style sheet, incorporating saving you the pain of doing each
every facet of styling needed one manually. Joy! PD
typeface, size, tracking, and so on. Commentary

Highlight the text and click on the Initial




Italic Layout and Design 151

Thou shall always use object
styles when working with
long documents

Commentary As designers we tend contained within can be applied in

to concentrate on the things we see the same way that character and
directly in our layouts, so the type, paragraph styles can be applied directly
color, images and so on. What we dont to selected type. This naturally helps to
always think about with the right level speed up your workflow and as a by-
of priority are the properties of the product helps to ensure consistency
frames that contain those items, and throughout a document. Its all too easy
the various rules and borders that make to start a project with 0.5pt rules that
up the page furniture. Master pages are accidentally become 0.3pt rules half
great for adding repeat content to the way through and these small details are
pages of a long document but a lot of very difficult to spot on screen. You can
additional content gets added along bet youll spot it straight away when
the way. Object styles containing you see the printed item, so use object
information about a frames color, styles to achieve perfect consistency,
stroke thickness and even the text just like peas in a pod! TS

152 Layout and Design

Thou shall
seduce your
audience with
your layout

Commentary The opposite of audience. Utilize pleasant colors, legible

seduction is repulsion. When we use typography, and clear imagery. Consider
seduction in a bedroom, we use soft Andy Warhols Electric Chair series.
lights, play 101 Strings Orchestra Silk-screened with vibrant and
albums, and offer alcohol. Turning on optimistic tones, these paintings hang
the overhead fluorescent lights, playing on walls above sofas. They look
Anthrax, and offering heroin may be beautiful, but they are a discourse
repulsing, depending upon the date. on death and execution. This does not
Design is no different. Good design mean that every project should be
seduces the viewer. The message pretty. We can be seduced by strong
might be complex, controversial, or images and dark tones. Confused and
challenging, but the viewer must be impossible-to-access work will repulse.
willing to view it. Creating work that is, The viewer has limited time and will
at first glance, impossible to access and instantly decide which solution to
repulsive to everyone fails. Seduce the engage or ignore. SA

Layout and Design 153

Thou shall follow
Coco Chanels advice,
When accessorizing,
always take off the last
thing you put on.

Commentary Too much of a good purpose, then it serves no purpose.

thing is still too much. When dressing, It is a distraction at best. Good design
you may have a box of beautiful Rolex, is purposeful. Every typeface, image,
Cartier, and Tiffany watches. Wearing ornament, shape, and color must have a
them all at once does not increase the reason to be. When we fall in love with
overall effect. This looks like Madonna our own design, it is easy to ignore the
in the 1980s. Designing a poster, book, extra, unnecessary items. A good
website, or any other item is the same. practice, like Coco Chanels advice,
More is not more. If an element is is to take one element off when you
purely decorative and serves no are finished with the design. SA

154 Layout and Design

Thou shall not
assume small
will improve
a bad layout

Commentary The core of good time Small adjustments, shifting a line of

management understands the time text up 1 pica, down 1 pica, and back
needed to complete a task, and repeatedly, are done to attempt to solve
stopping when it is finished. Long hours a larger issue. This issue is probably a
and all-night sessions are typically the bad idea. If the basic concept is flawed,
result of repeatedly adjusting small adjusting elements forever will not
elements in a layout. Refinement is a make it right. A great concept can
different issue. When a designer refines withstand any layout issues. When
a design, he or she finely crafts the a designer is making these tiny
typography, color, and form. The goal adjustments all night, he should stop,
here is to create an immaculate and ask, Am I simply adding lipstick
solution, free from sloppy technique. to a hog? SA

Layout and Design 155

Thou shall not use random
squiggles and rules unless they
actually mean something

Commentary Similar to the error of now, but is in reality, a mess. It is all

making small and pointless adjustments cake frosting on top of a hollow cake.
to a layout, is the issue of additive In 1912, this process resulted in the
thinking. This is the scenario: The moving of deck chairs as the Titanic
solution seems dull and bland. The sank. Today, this can be passed off
designer adds several rules. It still as avant-garde design. It is not. True
is dull and the designer adds random avant-garde work challenges our
hand-drawn squiggles. The dullness perceptions and ideas. Meaningless
doesnt abate. More rules and squiggles form is meaningless. SA
are added. This process continues until
the solution is, at first glance, hip and

156 Layout and Design

Thou shall use
borders with a
purpose, not
simply for

Commentary Borders are for more decoration, they often do more harm
than just scrapbooking, that much is than good. If you have a garden that
for sure, but they are not to be used the rabbits are savaging (curses to you,
without thoughtful consideration. long ear!) then a pretty pink fence with
Borders can be a wonderful element. wide gaps between the slats certainly
They come in so many variations. isnt going to keep them out, and whats
Thick and thin, ornate and ragged, the point in dressing up a patch of yard
rough versus clean, they can allow the that has now turned into a barrage of
designer the ability to convey so much holes and half-eaten carrots? The same
as well as to quite simply highlight a bit holds true for your borders in your
of important information or liven up a layout. JF
dull image or layout. Borders are our
friends . . . when we use them properly.
When we throw them up just for

Layout and Design 157

Thou shall not use
retro style graphics
Commentary Retro graphics are into a mis-registered screenprint or
without doubt one of the most in-vogue a facsimile of a cheaply printed comic
styles in many current graphic design book. Personally I love the whole retro
circles. The theory goes that the whole deal, but I sometimes have to stop
handmade thing is a reaction against myself from trying to justify how I can
all the pixel-perfect imagery which create concepts which use retro styling
became so de rigueur with the advent at their center. If youre designing an
of the digital design age, and retro indie poster for a band, or a book jacket
styling provides a great excuse to use for a cool new collection of urban
some inked texture or some grubby fiction, then retro might be right on the
colors with headlines set in a bold button.But any attempt to bang any
calligraphic script. There are even round peg of style into the square hole
dedicated apps and Photoshop plug- of appropriateness is probably not
ins to help you turn pristine artwork going to work out. TS

158 Layout and Design

Layout and Design 159
Thou shall design signage
layouts to be read, not just seen

Commentary There are few designers refined white space of an evacuation

who do not like small type. Rarely do maphe or she just wants to find the
clients ask to make the type or their stairs as fast as possible. This requires
logo smaller. Smaller type appears typography and iconography to be large
more delicate and provides more enough to be read quickly, and from a
negative space, aesthetically appealing distance. The contrast of the message
results. But type that is too small is not on the background must be strong. The
functional. Signs are a perfect example letterforms should be sharp and clear.
of this problem. Signage must be Do not use degenerated, decorative, or
readable, not simply aesthetically overwrought typefaces. And the type
appealing. In the midst of a fire, the size will always need to be larger than
viewer, even a designer, will not stop to you think. There is good reason why
appreciate the delicate typography and street signs are not set in Curlz. SA

160 Layout and Design

Thou shall
design book
covers with
title readability
as a priority

Commentary The best book cover have consumers tasting and

designers will all readily acknowledge experiencing their product. With books,
how important it is to keep readability people read: It is as simple as that.
intact. Many spend days judging how Thats not to say that you cant take
distressed they might be able to get chancesby all means be creative.
a type solution, while still retaining But always keep in mind that the title
readability. They will always err on and author name need to be read; and
the side of being able to comprehend in this digital sales age, that they need
it though. When you have music to be read at a very small scale in order
packaging, people hear things and have to move enough units on Amazon so
additional interactions; even major and that the publisher can afford to pay
minor brands of food and beverages your design bill. JF

Layout and Design 161


Thou shall design logos that

have mnemonic value
Commentary We remember stuff by colors difficult to identify, such as puce,
recognizing shape and color. This is not it may fail. Simple and clear forms with
an accident. As an evolutionary tool, a distinct shape and color, therefore,
as huntergatherers it was important have mnemonic value. Consider the
to remember the blue berries were Apple, FedEx, McDonalds, and
poisonous, but the oval red berries were London Underground logos. Each of
good. We use this trait now still to these has a distinct shape: a circle,
recall the items we need. Rather than rectangle and arrow, arch, and a circle
berries and fruits, the viewer now and bar. Each of these also has a
needs to identify products. Successful distinct and simple color: gray, purple
logos utilize our skill at recognizing and green, red and yellow, and red
shape and color. If a form is too and navy blue. SA
complex, as an illustration or disjointed
set of elements, it is difficult to recall.
If a logo uses a banal color palette, or

162 Layout and Design

Thou shall design logos that
can adapt to a companys
changing needs

Commentary Paul Rand introduced of a Random Access Memory machine,

the IBM logo in 1956, and IBM today it would be stuck in the business
continues to use his logo today. In of only making this product. A neutral
1956, IBMknown previously as logo allows a company to shift
International Business Machines direction, change products, move into
Corporationdesigned and produced other categories, and still maintain its
computers and other business identity. A logo that is too specific to
machines. Today, IBM is engaged in a a product or activity presumes the
range of activities from training and company will never change. Good logos
consulting to computers. If Rand had dont describe a companys activities,
designed the IBM logo with an image they identify its values. SA

Layout and Design 163

Thou shall not ignore a clients
corporate standards

Commentary Before the cultural restrain creativity simply as a

revolution of the 1960s, people went to measure of meanness. Within any
work in accounting, law, insurance, and company, people will want to ignore
manufacturing and did their job. They the standards and make their own
didnt consider themselves to be artists. logo or add purple because it is their
Today, everyone is told to be creative. favorite color. As a designer, you are
Everyone should be unique and express collaborating with the enemy of you do
him or herself. This works well when the same. Save the need for creative
choosing ties, but is a recipe for expression for the concept, leave the
disaster with corporate standards. logo, color, and typeface alone. SA
These standards exist to maintain a
clear, cohesive, and proprietary voice
for a client. They are not created to

164 Layout and Design

Thou shall create logos your
client can use anywhere

Commentary A well-crafted logo come across a drop shadow.) The

is something that is built to last. It is reason that you need to try to avoid
crafted so that it can be applied to bitmapped logos at the onset is that
every application imaginable for the even if you think the client may never
business it represents. Dont produce need it, a wise branding exercise will be
something that your client wont be prepared for anything that comes next.
able to use anywhere other than on Logos built with vectors can be scaled
their website. Logo designs that infinitely with no loss of quality. Logos
incorporate bitmaps are restrictive as that contain bitmaps cannot. If you
they do not allow for unlimited scaling. need your logo properly embroidered
While this excludes a feathered drop on shirts, you need a vector version.
shadow from the discussion, I think If you need it silkscreened on recycling
we can all agree that is for the better. bins, you need a vector version. If you
(Flip through the portfolios of the logo need it eight stories high on the side of
masters and let me know when you a building, vector. JF

Layout and Design 165

Thou shall understand
the figure/ground
in logos

Commentary Logos are a two- can use this to create secondary

dimensional exercise, and with anything objects out of the negative space,
2D one must take into account the exploiting a reversal in the figure/
figure/ground relationship. Because, ground relation-ship. Graphic designer
in most cases, it is centered around one M.C. Escher is a good example of
strong image, it takes on a heightened someone who experimented with this
importance in logo design. The figure process to great success. More directly,
part of the equation is essentially the many logo designers have seen fit to
object that we see, and the ground is use this space to their advantage, like
the surrounding area. Applying contrast the arrow between the e and x
to make this relationship as obvious as in the FedEx logo. It is one of the most
is possible, the designer can make the important lessons to learn in design,
image we want to observe more clear. that the space between forms is just as
With a creative impulse, the designer important as the forms themselves. JF

166 Layout and Design

Thou shall not make everything
on a page the same size

Commentary Good composition is a static on a flat surface. Creating

mix of scale, shape, and color working multiple sizes creates a dynamic and
together dynamically with harmony. unexpected composition. Unless the
A good trick to create dynamic goal is to bore the viewer, the scale
composition is to think of the page or must not simply be slightly different,
screen, not as a flat surface, but as a but have extreme scale changes from
window into a three-dimensional world. tiny to huge. Combine giant type with
The closer an object is to the viewer, small lines of text. Mix a small set
the larger it will be. The more distant of images with a large one. Use an
objects will be smaller. If all objects are extreme close-up of a face with a
the same size, they will appear to be distant background. SA

Layout and Design 167

Thou shall respect the
safety when placing
vital type and images

Commentary When your parents told spatula big enough to pry you off the
you not to play in the road, it wasnt so interstate AND they actually cared
that they could boss you around and about your well-being. The same is
show you that they were in control and true of the kind folks that make up your
send you hurtling toward decades of production templates. The safety is
therapy and low self-esteem (well, not there for a reason, because, if you flirt
in my family, at least). It was because with it often enough, the production
they knew that if you were busy picking process will eventually burn you and
up jacks or drawing on the pavement in trim away vital copy and images.
chalk, eventually an 18-wheeler would Respect the invisible line. Its for your
come along and make a kid-shaped own good. JF
pancake out of you. And while they
might have gotten out of paying your
college tuition, they didnt have a

168 Layout and Design

Thou shall not silhouette
and drop shadow every
last image

Commentary The computer allows Just because one can do something,

designers to create forms previously doesnt mean one should do something.
extremely difficult to do. Twenty years Creating a silhouette is the appropriate
ago, hand cut film made a silhouetted solution at times. Adding a drop
image, and a photographer created shadow digitally may also be necessary
drop shadows with light and film. in limited situations. Like eating French
Today, the magic wand can help create pastries, these things should be done
a silhouette in moments. And a drop in moderation. Too many images with
shadow is created with a Photoshop silhouettes and drop shadows make a
effect. This may seem like a modern project look like an ad for a stock image
miracle, in the same league as company. At best this is clean and
antibiotics and cell phones. But it is not. simple. At worst, this solution is dull,
This is another instance of the saying, dull, dull, expected, and trite. SA

Layout and Design 169

Thou shall
return to the
creative brief
times during
the creative

Commentary I cannot stress enough follow a bonus if it can be done. When

how important a creative brief is to a you both agree that you have a list that
project. It doesnt have to be extensive applies to the project at hand, type
or too involved. Actually, I prefer that it up and share it, and agree that you
it be simple and short. It is a brief, after both will keep it close. If you refer to
all. Take the time to talk through your it often when designing, you will surely
project with your client and establish help them accomplish their goals. On
their priorities, and then rank them in the client side, referring to the brief
the order of importance. The focus takes away a lot of the subjectivity and
should always be on the top two or keeps everyone focused on what is best
three on your list, with anything to for the project. A win-win. JF

170 Layout and Design

Thou shall
not project a
personal style
at the expense
of the client

Commentary Every city has a design only do their materials look like
firm that becomes sort of famous for everything else that the firm designs,
the wrong reasons. It is not because but they have been left in a precarious
they are helping clients reach position where competitors can swipe
unexpected success, or financial their branding just by using the same
windfalls, or helping change the world colors and fonts, etc. Style can be a
for the betterit is because they have quick fix, but true solutions that provide
a recognizable style. They use the same value to all involved require a great deal
layouts and fonts whether they are more work. We all use our tools in
selling swimsuits or condos, saving the certain ways, and prospective clients
seals, or filling seats at the theater. It should be able to see how we problem-
is depressing because it is unfounded solve for others, while knowing that we
attentionbut it is generally short will give them a final result that can
lived once the clients realize that not only be unique to them. JF

Layout and Design 171

Thou shall
above the fold
in both print
and online

Commentary Designing a layout on covering up your beautiful work, or

your screen is a far cry from how it looking over the shoulder of your better
will ultimately be used, whether it is a half as they click past the website
publication or a website. You have the before ever scrolling down. Respect
ability to zoom in and out, controlling the fold and you wont pay that dire
your perspective and usually keeping price. The term comes from newspaper
it at a size and determination where it layout, when the portion you would see
looks best to you. You might revel in a in the racks and at your doorstep was
tiny detail at the bottom of a magazine the front of the folded final copy, so
cover, or your ability to find room for everything that was determined to be
some fund-raising information toward vital had to be above the fold, lest it
the lower right on a website front page. be missed. JF
Thinking its a job well done, you will be
quickly disappointed when you go to
the grocery store only to see the racks

172 Layout and Design

Thou shall
know a good
design in
ones gut
Commentary We may all share a returning to when walking home at
communication with the spirit world, night. Its a good practice to explore
have a sixth sense, or simply intuit well. many ideas and concepts. This should
Whatever the reason, we all have a gut be done without editing oneself; one
instinct. At times, this instinct tells us bad idea may lead to a great one. But,
to slow down at an intersection, or the right idea will always feel right.
pause before we scream at the postal Some designers believe work must be
service employee. This instinct also hard. They believe that the only good
usually tells a designer that he or she ideas come from endless hours of
has the right solution. Its the idea the suffering and difficult labor. Design
designer had and then sketched on a does not need to be hard and over-
napkin while meeting with the client. wrought. A simple and smart idea that
Or, the solution he or she keeps feels good may be exactly correct. SA

Layout and Design 173

Thou shall understand how
visual closure works

Commentary At some point in our the remainder of an image when we are

lives we have been confronted with given incomplete information, which is
someone wanting to show us a visual referred to as visual closure. We use
trick that involves seeing a pattern. this so that we can process and
Then we are shocked to scan further understand things quickly without
to the side and see that a red dot is in bogging down in every last detail.
the middle of it or that no red dot exists Glance quickly at the circles above for
in a pattern, or any number of tricks a quick demonstration. As designers,
on our mind. We can all agree on one we can use this to our advantage, as
thing: these things are annoying, and so well as be conscious of it so that vital
are the people that present them to us. information is not lost to the viewer.
However, they play on a very important The eye is in the detail, even if some of
visual practice: our ability to visualize the detail is left out on purpose. JF

174 Layout and Design

Thou shall
learn how to
format an
index correctly

Commentary On paper an index would begins. Try to avoid anything more

seem to be the simplest thing in the complex than this in terms of indexing
world to get right, but typesetting the levels. A well designed index should be
perfect index requires practice. You easy to navigate. Liberal use of another
need to understand how the various font weight, perhaps for the page
levels of indent work for entries that numbers, can help to improve the look
run to two or more lines. Two levels as well as ease of use. Indexes are
of indent are sufficient for most usually the last thing that gets done
indexes, where you have subentries to before repro and print, but dont scrimp
main topics which run to a subsequent on the time and effort you put in, as
second line. If any one entry runs over theoretically those pages could be
to a third line the indent should remain the most used pages in the whole
the same until the next unique entry publication. TS

Layout and Design 175

Thou shall study the color wheel

Commentary The study of color saturated at the outside edge. Its

and how its used revolves around the sometimes also shown as a strip, as
simple concept of color wheels, which in the color picker in Photoshop. The
help to explain visually how color is important thing to note is how a color
created from either light (RGB) or wheel is structured: red, yellow, and
pigment (CMYK), and how the bluethe primary colorsform the
relationship between different colors three main spokes of the wheel. These
comes about. We normally represent colors are blended to form secondary
a color wheel as, surprise, a circle with colors: orange, green, and violet.
distinct segments progressing through Blending primary and secondary colors
360 degrees. Alternatively theyre produces tertiary colors, and so on.
shown as gradated tints of merging Complementary colors are those that
color, familiar to everyone as the color sit directly opposite one another on a
picker incorporated into many color wheel, for example primary blue
applications, where color is more and secondary orange. TS

Color 177
Thou shall learn about hue,
saturation, and value

Commentary Hue (another name Youll notice that the brighter colors
for color), saturation, and value (or like yellow stay brighter because they
brightness) are the three components already have a higher value relative
which combine to form the multitude to black compared to, say, dark violet.
of colors we see around us every day. Another good way to illustrate this
Saturated colors are strong or vivid; is with the color picker on a Mac.
desaturated colors are grayer and can Saturation is 0 percent (or white)
be mixed by adding either black or at the center of the wheel and 100
white pigment (or more or less light) percent at the outside edge. The slider
to pure hues such as the primary colors. to the right controls the value with 100
Value is the measure of how dark or percent brightness at the top and 0
light a hue appears compared to black percent (totally dark) at the bottom. TS
or white. It all sounds a bit scientific
unless you try to simplify it, so try
squinting at a standard color wheel.

178 Color

Thou shall understand the

difference between additive
and subtractive mixing
Commentary This is simpler to wavelengths of lightwhat we see on
explain than some of the other areas a printed page is actually the reflected
of color theory. Additive mixing is all light that hasnt been absorbed by the
about light and subtractive mixing is all pigment. This is why we use cyan,
about pigments. When you look at your magenta, and yellow pigments for
computer screen, all the colors you see process printingtheyre the colors
are the result of additive mixing where produced by the additive color model
red, green, and blue light combine. so work in reverse when printed. Black
Mixing all three colors together is added into the mix for four-color
produces white light, adding green and process printing to produce a purer
blue make magenta, adding green and black than that achieved by mixing
red make yellow, and adding red and solid cyan, magenta, and yellow
blue make cyan. This is additive mixing. together, and it also provides better
Subtractive mixing happens when control over value (or brightness). TS
printed pigments absorb particular

Color 179
Thou shall understand
the function of different
color models

Commentary Color models can also be read about in Rule #165), so some
referred to as color spaces and are all colors produced with these models
important when it comes to maintaining arent always true to the original, but
color consistency in a workflow when are governed by whatever device youre
combined with color profiles. Theyre looking at or printing with. Device-
all about mathematics but dont worry, independent models, on the other hand,
you dont actually have to do the math mimic the way our eyes perceive color
yourself. The models that most so are technically more accurate to the
designers will recognize are RGB and original. LAB is the most common
CMYK. These are device-dependent model of this type and has a much
models, meaning theyre designed to larger color gamut than other models.
facilitate color reproduction on devices Its popular with designers that do a
such as monitors and printing systems. lot of color correction because it can
They also have a limited color range separate an images luminance (or
known as a color gamut (which you can brightness) from its color. TS

180 Color
Thou shall ensure your color
settings remain synchronized
across all applications

Commentary One of the great Why is this important? Well, its

advantages to using an integrated suite unlikely that youll be using Photoshop
of design tools is the fact that you can to design a layout or InDesign to
create similar (or similarish, at least) create a complex vector illustration, and
working environments when switching if you cant rely on consistent color when
from one to another. The Adobe moving between applications theres
Creative Suite is particularly good really no point in paying any attention
at this and pays special attention to to the colors you choose to specify, as
the synchronization of color settings your final results wont be predictable or
for different color models or working consistent. Its not a creative process as
spaces through a centralized function such, but color consistency is extremely
in Adobe Bridge. It also allows the important if you want to see color
user to synchronize how applications proofs and final output thats a close
treat images as they move from, say, match to what youve been looking at
Photoshop to InDesign or Illustrator. on your computer screen. TS

Color 181
Thou shall not ignore the
constraints of color gamuts


Commentary Did you ever wonder or a display, as with a computer screen.

why you can create an amazingly Screens use the RGB model to display
vibrant red onscreen but cant seem to color, and an RGB gamut is larger than
get it to print out with the same kind the CMYK gamut used for four-color
of intensity of color? The reason its not printing. This is why you cant print that
possible to translate certain colors from amazing red with CMYKits outside
screen to paper has a lot to do with the CMYK color gamut. Spot colors
color gamuts. A color gamut represents like Pantones are not dependent on the
the complete range of colors that any CMYK color gamut as theyre mixed
one color model is capable of producing from pigments, so a much brighter red
in print. It also represents the complete can be achieved if printed as a spot
range of colors that a device can color. This is true of many colors
capture, as with a camera or scanner, limited by a CMYK gamut. TS

182 Color
Thou shall get to grips with
color rendering intents

Commentary Rendering intents help colors while attempting to also

to address the issue of the RGB gamut preserve saturation. This can cause
being larger than the CMYK gamut by significant color shifts so isnt great
controlling what happens when colors for color critical imagery. Absolute
are converted from RGB to CMYK. Colorimetric keeps colors within the
There are four rendering intents to CMYK gamut intact and converts out
choose from and each produces a of gamut colors to the closest possible
subtly different result, which may hue at the expense of a little saturation,
or may not suit a projects needs. but can produce a slight color cast in
Perceptual attempts to preserve colors white areas. Relative Colorimetric is the
by compressing them into the CMYK default for most uses as its similar to
gamut, so tends to alter most colors Absolute Colorimetric but also adjusts
and can reduce saturation. Saturation the white point, thus reducing color
keeps colors that can be produced casts. If in doubt, always go for
using CMYK but changes out of gamut Relative Colorimetric. TS

Color 183
Thou shall not
neglect the fact
that colors change
according to their

Commentary Color is subjective are a bad person. If these hurdles

and emotional. It is challenging to were not high enough, color changes
convince someone to like pink if they according to its environment. What
were repeatedly locked in a pink closet seems to be a soft yellow in the
as a child. This makes color one of the designers office can be an awful
most problematic elements designers yellow-green under the clients
use. Added to the subjective nature of fluorescent light. The primary colors,
color is the way we see color. First, we red, blue, and yellow, are the most
all experience color in our own way. consistent in different surroundings.
Warm red will appear different to every Complex colors, such as violet are more
person viewing it. To one person it looks volatile and easily shift from blue to
orange, to another red. It is vital to be purple. When showing color options to
accommodating when dealing with a client, it is best to explain that color
color. Telling someone they are wrong changes in different settings. SA
about a color choice is to tell them they

184 Color
Thou shall look at what
surrounds us for color inspiration

Commentary A common obstacle light brown, cool gray, and white. The
for designers is choosing colors. sunset is not red. It is dark blue, light
The swatch panel of default colors in blue, pink, orange, and yellow. A smart
Adobe Illustrator exists for broad process to create a color palette is to
gestures of color. It is not a color take an image of a natural setting and
palette. It is, like the default shapes sample distinct colors from different
in Illustrator, ordinary and overdone. parts. The result will be a system of
A strong color palette is as important colors ranging from light to dark, and
as the typeface choices. A good color intense to soft. But they will always
palette will be unique, seductive, and remain in harmony and be unique to
harmonious. The natural world is a your experience. SA
good place to look for inspiration.
A poplar tree is not green. It is a mix
of blue green, lime green, sliver green,

Color 185
Thou shall
draw color
from great
works of art

Commentary If youre looking for a years and its all out there for us to look
new colorway for your latest project, at. You can even gear your choice of art
there are lots of very useful resources to the kind of project youre working on.
out there in print and online where If you want an earthy combination of
thousands of different color blacks and browns take a look at some
combinations or schemes can be cave paintings. If you want rich and
referenced and compared. However, luxurious colors try something by Hans
theres another way of looking for color Holbein the Younger. For bold bright
combinations that will not only provide combinations try Vincent van Gogh, or
a real-world view of how colors might some of Mark Rothkos work. If youre
combine but has been provided by the not so much into painting but like more
absolute experts of color. Look at art. graphic work, look at Lichtenstein,
People have been experimenting with Mondrian, or Warhol. The colors are
color combinations for thousands of all there for the taking. TS

186 Color

Thou shall not use beige

to attract attention
Commentary Attracting attention a project. The image may feel too
requires volume. This is true audibly. bright, so it is desaturated. The type
When you want a friend across the color seems too bold, so it is softened.
street to see you, you shout, Hey, Dick! The final result is an overall beige tone.
Over here. This is true physically. Online as a website it is beige-green on
Slamming a freshman against a locker some monitors and looks boring. As a
will get their attention. And it is true poster it hangs unnoticed by passers-
visually. Stop signs are red and have by. Do not fear color; do not retreat
large type. Beige is not loud. Beige, to the safe, quiet, and deadly world
gray, and tan may be sophisticated and of beige. SA
classic, but they are not good when
competing for attention. Beige is like
a silent killer. It will slowly creep into

Color 187
Thou shall remember that
colored type can provide as
much emphasis as bolding

Commentary There are easy and highlight a word or section, but take
obvious pathways to creating emphasis time to consider color as well. Using
for a bit of type in your layout. That a color to bring out a repeated phrase
doesnt necessarily mean that they are or word can be hypnotic; using a slash
always the best avenue to accomplish of red to create terror over a phrase
that, though. Much in the way that a can add tension. There are so many
highway can provide the quickest trip powerful tools at your disposal; with
to your destination, it can also dull your just the tiny click of adding a wash of
senses to the trip itself, and when used color you can forever change the
too often, become clogged and slow viewers perception. JF
and a worse option than doing nothing
at all. The simple bold may be your
reactive selection when trying to

188 Color
Thou shall think of white space
as a color and use it positively

Commentary I find the employment When working on books with

of white space in any design is a crucial predominantly photographic content,
factor to the designs success and its rather than design the layout with the
usage should be a consideration from pictures format as the priority, I think
the outset. Im not just talking margins about how the white space can work
here but factoring in white as a part with each specific picture so it can be
of the layout so that the elements of presented at its best. Try experimenting
the page are separated, framed, and with different layouts, using a single
supported. In addition, the positioning imageyou will be surprised the extent
and control of white space will lead the to which white space can alter the
reader through the design, subtly being mood, pacing, and presentation of
taken by the hand through the content. the content. PD

Color 189
Thou shall explore
color psychology

Commentary Psychology generates and danger. Colors from the cool end,
skepticism among nonsubscribers, but such as blues and greens, can be used
its not all (ahem) bull. A bull doesnt to call forth a sense of calm, but can
chase a cape because its redin fact also create feelings of sadness or
bulls are color blind. He does it because indifference. Its well worth reading up
the matador is waving it in his face and a little on how the psychology of color
because he doesnt like the matador works as itll help to inform your choice
very much. Seriously though, color can of colors for your design projects,
be used by designers to invoke a range adding some context to those choices,
of emotions and behaviors. Red is which in turn will supply you with some
particularly interesting, coming from ammunition to fire back at your client
the warm area of the spectrum, and when they utter the immortal line, I
conjures feelings of warmth and can see what youre saying, but I dont
comfort as well as anger, hostility, like blue. TS

190 Color
Thou shall not follow the rules of
color psychology slavishly

Commentary There are many rules and keep the customer from lingering.
and theories about color. Psycho- Now orange is seen as hip and exciting.
logically, orange is agitating. Blue is It was a cardinal sin to use red for
calming. Red is exciting. Pink is restful. financial institutions, as it signified the
Like all rules, however, following them bank being in-the-red. Today this rule
slavishly results in solutions that no longer applies. Knowing the rules is
are expected and rigid. These rules valuable. Then throw them out and use
change. At one time, eating steak was what is appropriate for communication
considered healthy. Now, we are told, and visual interest. SA
it is not healthy. In a month, it may be
healthy again. Orange was used in fast
food restaurants to create agitation

Color 191
Thou shall remember that
colors mean different things
in different cultures

Commentary You have spent months believe they are only now learning that
perfecting a new brand of perfume that Thailand considers purple a color of
has a name inspired by royalty. mourning and one worn by its widows.
Tweaking your glistening crown logo It is an important consideration to take
and your type solution filled with in when working on projects with
flourishes, soon gives way to the international applications and appeal.
packaging design. A lush purple finds Yellow is a color of courage in Japan,
itself gripping all aspects of the brand. yet often linked to cowardice in the
It feels important, and expensive, while United States, and burdened with the
still being romantic and sexy. The line same albatross of mourning that purple
launches to great acclaim, except in carries in Thailand, when used in Egypt.
Thailand, where the distributor cant Its so easy to use a color, but much
even find many outlets willing to give more difficult (and valuable) to
it a chance. Splintering your Asian understand its significance. JF
revenues, the corporate folks cant

192 Color
Thou shall choose colors for
a reason rather than simply
because you like the color

Commentary In a lot of ways, this drape on our clients business. While

is one of the most difficult rules to it seems obvious that a branding for
abide by, and a sign that you have an ice company involve blues in some
finally given yourself over 100 percent capacity, it should also be just as
to being the best possible designer that obvious that they be cool blues,
you can befor your client. We all have regardless of whether you tend to
favorite colors, and we all have many prefer purple-infused deeper blues.
that we avert our eyes from when Always have a reason for selecting
encountered in real life. As much as we every element in your design, right
learn to appreciate that a scripty font down to the all-important color. JF
is not going to work for a monster truck
rally, we need to grasp that our favorite
colors are rarely the perfect ones to

Color 193
Thou shall not be afraid to be
bold with your color choices

Commentary A common insult used bright orange, or brown and pink. As

by eight-year-old boys is, Youre a long as it is purposeful and handled
wimp. Nobody wants to be a wimp. with courage it will be right. Wimpy
Most people in the world want to feel color choices include the expected
important and strong. Design can combinations such as flat navy blue
reinforce a sense of strength and and medium gray. These colors are
confidence. Bold color choice is one appropriate for outfits on a college or
tactic used to communicate power. job interview, or meeting grandparents
This is not an endorsement to use for lunch. They may be appropriate for
fluorescent pink on every project. an extraordinarily stodgy insurance
Bold color can be a relentless palette firm. They do not, however, say, We
of pastel colors, or a rich combination are the s%#@, in design. SA
of dark gray tones. It can also be
extremely bright or unexpected
combinations. Mix avocado green and

194 Color
Thou shall
remember that
people like bright
thingsbrown is
not exciting

Commentary If a baby lying in a understand good design. This is

crib is presented with two mobiles, one not true. The client is not required
in bright colors, the other in browns, he to understand good design. The
or she will always grab for the bright client should understand his or her
one. As people age, this doesnt change. own business, the audience, and
As designers, we are told repeatedly communication goals. No client has
that the unpleasant tones are the ever said, Please design something
fashionable colors. Baby-poop green, that will repulse people and make my
brown, and dingy yellow are supposedly business fail. The client is responding
sophisticated. But when a designer the way 95 percent of the intended
presents a packaging solution with audience will. People, from birth until
these and the client resists, the death, will always gravitate toward the
designer claims, They just dont bright colors. SA

Color 195
Thou shall
learn how the
of a color or ink
affects those it

Commentary One of the true glories printed over the top of one another,
of the silkscreen explosion of the past whether it is Bradbury Thompsons
decade is that it exposes more and famous CMYK experiments, or your
more designers to the joys of current favorite gig-poster artist,
overprinting. As process color has allows us to see how the inks change
become increasing affordable, trying one another and create a multitude of
to do so with spot colors on an offset effects. From the straightforward third
job via overprinting, duotones, and color that comes from making a green
other tricks seems to be going by the by printing a blue over a yellow, we can
wayside. But you should never forget see a totally different effect by printing
that you always have more colors on a darker gray over the same yellow,
hand than the cans of ink bought for yielding a subtle shift to a deeper gray
the job would indicate. Watching inks in those areas. Oh, the possibilities! JF

196 Color
Thou shall not use
000% Cyan
010% Magenta
100% Yellow
000% Black
000% Cyan
100% Magenta
080% Yellow
004% Black
Pantone spot colors in
100% Cyan
045% Magenta
000% Yellow
000% Black
a four-color print job
080% Cyan
000% Magenta
090% Yellow
000% Black
000% Cyan
060% Magenta
095% Yellow
000% Black
100% Cyan
000% Maganta
030% Yellow
005% Black

Commentary If I had a dollar for reproduced accurately from the four

every commissioned layout Ive ever process colors, cyan, magenta, yellow,
had to prepress which had a rogue and black, even if your software forces
Pantone color hiding away within its them to separate out. The problem lies
pages, I would have enough for a good in the fact that a Pantone book is often
night out on the town at the very least. the only resource designers have at
The use of Pantone, or spot, colors in a their disposal when choosing colors,
project destined for four-color printing so they make color choices which in
is disastrous for a number of reasons. reality will never be achieved within the
Firstly, a spot color must print as an constraints of four-color printing. If you
extra fifth color which adds to your know your project must print only in
print bill, so it will mess up your quote four colors, put your Pantone book in a
and could cost you dearly. Secondly, the drawer and resist the temptation to
vast majority of Pantone colors cant be take a peek at all costs. TS

Color 197
Thou shall not use more
than two Pantone colors with
a CMYK print job

Commentary Theres an obvious There are five-, six-, seven-, and even
benefit to using the CMYK printing eight-color presses, although most
processyou can create any color you commonly found is six. So thats six
want by mixing the four inks. To have inks: four taken up by CMYK, then
more than two Pantone colors as well two more inks or, more commonly,
would be superfluous. It may be that one special ink and a varnish to finish,
you are running a fluorescent or a allowing the print job to be done in a
metallic ink (or both) with the CMYK single pass. To add more special colors
set, which is fine, although you should would mean running the sheets through
always make an effort to show the press again, which would be
constraint, otherwise your end design expensive and wasteful. Also, you have
could be quite vulgar and showy when to ask yourself: would your design
printed. Another reason is the cost. really be any better? PD

198 Color
Thou shall use
process color-
built reds with
no Pantone

Commentary In the village of they even have multiple versions of

Pantonia, behind the rainbow-swirled a simple black. So why is it that they
gates, lies a magical factory of have never been able to create a decent
Wonkaesque wizardry. It is here that red? Its a sad fact that, no matter how
they manage to create 40 new colors many batches those oompa loompas
each year, seemingly out of thin air. swirl back at the plant, they just cant
Plucking a toucan feather yields a get it right. Its a shame, as red is
decades worth of hip and inspirational often called into service in our world.
shades. Their dedication to putting a Thank goodness we can start at
code number on every blip of intensity 0/100/100/20 and go from there. JF
that our eye registers over a lifetime is
admirable, to say the least. Much like
the average closet at an ad agency,

Color 199
Thou shall not specify print
colors with RGB values

Commentary I know its a real blow going to happen. Its simply not possible
whenever we have to face this sad fact, to achieve with the four-color process,
but you cant print RGB colors. RGB although some Pantones can get close
colors are made from projected light; because white pigment can be mixed in.
CMYK and Pantone colors are made So if the budget allows for extra spot
from pigments which generate colors, thats the way to go. Its even
reflected light. RGB colors are generally more important to bear this in mind
brighter and more saturated because now that work is increasingly presented
the RGB color gamut is much larger on a laptop or iPad screen, so please
than the CMYK equivalent. Its try to explain to your client why the
tempting to look at a bright red RGB finished job wont look quite the same
color on your computer screen and before they take delivery. TS
think how great it would look flooding
the front cover of the brochure youre
working on, but Im afraid it isnt

200 Color
Thou shall not create tints
from tints

Commentary So you have a layout all still look good in the final job, but its
set to go and a colleague wanders over not great not knowing what the color
to ask you what CMYK percentages actually is. The point Im making is, by
youve used to create that really cool all means create percentage tints from
blue-green background tint. You happily spot colors, but not from colors that
take a look while congratulating your are already percentage tints. There is
colleague on his excellent appraisal of a quick, calculator-free fix. Select the
your color choices, only to find that its color and delete it from the Swatches
a 45 percent tint of 75 percent cyan panel, replacing it with an unnamed
and 30 percent yellow which is, umm, swatch, then add unnamed swatches
hang on while I get a calculator. You back in. Your actual color will reveal
see, really annoying isnt it? Its not a itself to be 34 percent cyan and 14
disaster as such because the color will percent yellow. Nice! TS

Color 201
Thou shall not screen a color to
less than 7 percent and expect to
see it on the printed page

Commentary You know what keep a 10 percent variation in the

looks dazzling in its subtlety on your back of your mind. That is a worst-case
computer screen? A 5 percent screen of scenario, but using newsprint or similar
your spot color. You know what has nary sheets can easily see it come to fruition.
a chance of showing up on the printed The reason? Using such a small number
page? A 5 percent screen of your spot of dots, which is what happens when
color. The thing about commercial it is such a light shade, gives the printer
printing is that there can easily be a little leeway. If you really desire such
variation in how heavy the ink is running. a light color, selecting a Pantone that
Combined with the gain, or lack thereof, is that color at 100 percent is the way
on varying sheets of paper, it is wise to to go. JF

202 Color
Thou shall not use process
color for small body text

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magnistio. Ut pa peritae comnimus enet quiaspe ditaque prorecum velecte ndanisi qui rercienda in
rempor aut que nam fugiam quo ma cusa dolut laborepta inctescid quam doluptae. Onsequiae nam
volorro ribusam qui odit qui aut poreic te dolupta doluptas molo od ullupta sit re nos re, nonsedipsum
ent et vendam sitio. Nam, quist maior auditis sitiatquia quis eum esto est a velectur rehendi blabo.
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Nes eum ratibus, officto riorios ide porem acest, sum enderi recum ut post quam quo quibus in
nobis estis mod mi, temporest, officip idictus sim idessit atibust es reprepero cusaperum aut untur,
optas poreper iorposseque late nobist aut estium aut volora dolupta tiunto bearum quam que in et
untiaerro doluptam quodit asimpedi aut autasim que inctur remos volorep erferum as venita ni comnis

Commentary Process colorscyan, well together. Alone, they are each

magenta, yellow, and blackcombine too intense or light to be seen clearly.
to create four-color images. Black is a Secondly, a paragraph printed in
good choice for small body text, as it is magenta is bright and tiring to read.
legible and prints clearly. Cyan, yellow, Its as if you ask the viewer to look at
and magenta do not work for small the sun. It looks nice, but you will go
body text. First, returning to how we blind when you stare at it too long.
read, we look at individual letters and To be safe, make sure text is legible.
combine them to make words, which Body text should be set in darker
make sentences, and paragraphs. tones or black. SA
Differentiating the characters is the
basis of the process. Cyan, yellow,
and magenta are too intense to work

Color 203
Thou shall
learn how
colors can
share tonal

Commentary In its simplest terms, so that you can match up options and
color tone is created by adding gray to train your eye as to whether they share
a pure hue. Knowing this, you can see tonal qualities. Why is this important?
that adding the same amount of gray At a base level, the eye requires
to varying colors would create the contrast to process information, so
same tonal qualities. However, you even though you have placed a green
are unlikely to be standing by as the next to an orange, if they are the same
process of adding them in is completed. tone, they ultimately blend together
The Pantone books can be helpful, into one shape. This can be a desired
as they can show a tonal range in effect, but one that can only be
sequential colors at times. More properly achieved by understanding
importantly, they provide color chips how it occurs. JF

204 Color
Thou shall
learn how to
group colors
into hot and
cold groups

Commentary When starting out on breadth. Blues, inherently in the cool

a project, I often try to think about the category, can take on doses of magenta
colors in the most basic sense possible; until they find themselves in the hot
should they be hot or cold? There are group, where most purples will reside.
numerous reasons for choosing a Blazing hot yellows will give way to
different palette, and many projects will cooler light greens. Even grays them-
require a combination of hot and cold selves have been lumped into cool
colors, while others benefit immensely and warm sections by Pantone. It is
from being cohesive. Many people will a distinction that can often give your
make the mistake of quickly lumping color selections a needed collective
basic colors into each side, with no feeling, and also create impactful
leeway available. The proliferation of decisions when only one hot or cold
color options has allowed for a greater color is injected into the solution. JF

Color 205
Thou shall use value
contrast to divert or draw
the viewers attention

Commentary Fear can be quite useful attract attention. They stand out in
at times. When facing an oncoming a crowded visual environment. At the
train, lion on safari, or angry ruffian, extreme of value contrast are 100%
fear is a wonderful tool. Fear is not black and pure white. And they work.
good in design. When the designer The world is saturated with multiple
is frightened that the solution is too mid-tone colors, creating an overall low
aggressive, bold, or exciting, he or she contrast impression. Strong black and
may fall into the trap of mildness. It white tones may seem old-fashioned,
begins by saying, Perhaps the colors but this combination is rarely used.
are too strong. Then the shapes all In the midst of a plethora of four-color
become a similar scale. And finally, the images advertising products on
black tones are changed to mid-range billboards, imagine the impression
gray. The result is a mild, pointless, and of a simple black and white, high
bland solution. Contrast is your friend. contrast solution. SA
Strong value changes in contrast

206 Color

Thou shall learn to love

the Eyedropper tool
Commentary Ive been using Adobe additional stored attributes to the
InDesign since Version 2 but it took me new selection. While its true that good
a long time to realize how useful the practice dictates the use of style sheets
Eyedropper tool is. I thought it simply for all text formatting, especially in long
stored the color of any object you click documents, theres always a use for this
on, enabling you to fill another object or functionality when youre working on
apply the same color to text, like it does a one-off job like a poster or flyer, or
in Adobe Photoshop. How wrong when youre experimenting with type
I wasyou can copy type attributes, styles prior to applying style sheets.
too. Click on an item of text, even some Time to stop ignoring the Eyedropper
text in another document, then drag tool, I think. TS
over another item of text with the
Eyedropper, and bingo, it copies not
just the color of the text but many

Color 207
Thou shall use
color to create

Commentary The ability to create of the same value taking over. If you
movement using color is actually fairly are feeling particularly bold, you can
easy, creating the illusion of action. create color sequences, where the same
When an image, or sequence of colors, color repeats in a pattern, creating a
has a wide variation in value running rhythmic quality. This also allows you
throughout it (note that this is very to appreciate painting, where this can
different from a layout that pans across be seen to its fullest effect, from the
to build to a different value), it jumps high contrast rhythm of a Mondrian to
about to the viewers eye, allowing for the energetic sky of a Van Gogh, which
a kinetic reaction. Once you have this separates his simple scenes from
knowledge, you can harness it to create the rest. JF
busy jumbles that literally dance in
front of the viewer, or pull back and
create a soothing effect with colors

208 Color
Thou shall use color
to create tension

Commentary Explaining visual tension object appears closer to the viewer, and
is like trying to describe yellow to smaller objects are more distant, then it
someone. It is an aspect of composition would be logical for the large object to
that uses unexpected color, shape, or use a color such as red. If you reverse
scale to create energy. Often, designers the expected here, and make the closer,
create tension in their work, not to larger object the cool color, and the
invoke anxiety, but to give the viewer distant/smaller object red, tension is
a more dynamic experience. Using created. The viewer is being told two
dissimilar, or jarring color combinations opposing ideas. Color can be used to
is one way to do this. Understanding create tension by combining tones that
the spatial properties of color is vibrate, such as blue and red. Using
another way. For example, warm tones color in unexpected ways, such as a
appear to advance in three-dimensional blue chicken, or Tower Bridge in pink,
space, and cool tones recede. If a large can also create tension. SA

Color 209
Thou shall use color
to create calm

Commentary While recessive and assignment dictates the color choices.

banal should never be the goal of a Blood red is a bad choice for surgical
project, a calm tone can be required. brochures and websites. However, red
Frightening subjects such as urological may be perfect as a signage choice in
surgery, dental work, and airplane a complex environment. While there
safety require colors that are calming are exceptions, calming colors are
and reassuring. The first step is to less vibrant. They contain a higher
understand the audience and their percentage of white or black than a
concerns. Does the audience need pure primary tone. Yellow can be made
comforting, to feel safe, or put at ease? calming by adding white. A soft
If so, calm colors can achieve this. Calm butter yellow isnt as jarring and
colors do not need to be uniformly light aggressive as primary yellow, but
pastel tones. The context of each still communicates optimism. SA

210 Color
Color 211
Thou shall
not place
colors next to
each other

Commentary Well, we were bound a red and little to distinguish them but
to end up in color theory class at some a muddy mess. In dressing yourself, the
point, eh? Analogous colors are those only thing worse than not matching is
that appear next to one another on wearing two colors that are almost the
the color wheel. Included in an overall same color. Picture yourself in a red
palette, they can create a sense of and orange outfit and you will quickly
harmony in your solution. Should realize that you were better off going
you place them next to one another, all the way with either color, but are
however, they bask in their similarity in big trouble trying to wedge them
and blend together in the worst together. JF
possible way. Where we learned earlier
to play tricks with tonal quality, here
you often end up with violet next to

212 Color
Thou shall not place high-
intensity complementary
colors next to each other

Commentary Unless the goal of a for a refined high-end Japanese

project is to annoy the viewer, it is restaurant. As in all decisions, being
a good rule of thumb to not recklessly aware of the context, communication,
slam vibrant primary colors together. and desired psychological reaction will
Blue and red will create a visual dictate the color choices. Yes, there are
vibration. Blue and yellow are good instances when using all three primary
for nautical applications when visual colors together works. A preschools
clarity may be challenged, but may identity may seem to be a good place
be overwhelming on personal to use primary colors, and a square,
stationery. Red and yellow are circle, and triangle. But then it will
perfect for McDonalds, but lack the match every other preschool logo
sophistication that may be necessary from Toledo to Taipei. SA

Color 213
Thou shall use
inks with a

Commentary Fluorescent inks can a spot color of fluorescent orange or

add such a shine to a project, from the green or yellow and instantly grab all
equivalent of an enormous glittering of the available eyeballs, but it has to be
gold necklace swinging from your neck, appropriate and you should know that
to a crisp shoeshine on your patent those looks are generally reserved for
leather loafers. They always make an youthful entertainment and fashion-
impact. Using them in the proper based applications. The more versatile
manner can be the tougher part. Not option is adding it into your process inks
every occasion is suited to flashy to increase their intensity and shine. The
neckwear, though a snappy pair of ink comes into specialized use when the
loafers goes well with most everything. clear version is used on a project as a
Using these types of ink brings an security measure, where it is only seen
intense brilliance and you can add when exposed to UV light. JF

214 Color
Thou shall utilize color
profiles in your workflow

Commentary In order to manage using? What is the color composition of

and maintain the color of your artwork the images? All these factors may have
files, linked RGB images, and graphics, an impact on your choice of profile,
its important to use color profiles and which in turn plays an important part
embed them into your work as you in maintaining the projects integrity
carry out any project. These profiles and appearance. I often speak to the
will then link to your color management appointed printer and discuss the
system (CMS), which maintains color options available, and ask if they have
consistency as a project moves from profiles matched to their own presses
the RGB environment of your computer which I could use. In doing this, I can
display to the final CMYK print. At then be sure that images embedded
the beginning of any job, I always ask with the correct profile will display
myself a number of questions: How are accurately on screen and the final print
we printing this? What stock are we will be consistent with visuals. PD

Color 215
Thou shall use rich black for
large black backgrounds

Commentary Printing black over a black uses a 50% tint of all three
small area, for example an uppercase colors plus 100% black; but use a
X in 36pt Gill Sans Bold, will produce combination of 100% black with 70%
a strong impression with hard contrast cyan, 30% magenta, and 40% yellow
between the black of the character and for a cool black. If you need a warmer
the white of the paper. However, if you black try 100% black with 30% cyan,
print solid black over a large area, say 60% magenta, and 60% yellow.
the whole of a magazine spread, it Take care not to go too high with the
wont look quite so solid. To make the percentages, however, as too much ink
black look richer, hence the term rich will produce too much wetness during
black, you can underprint various printing. Always check with the printer
percentages of the CMY colors to to see what they recommend for their
create blacker blacks. A typical rich equipment. TS

216 Color
Thou shall not allow rich
black tints to exceed 300
percent ink coverage

Commentary Printing what is called values of any darker images (a night

rich blacksthe black printing with shot, for example) to ensure that the
the three other inks (CMY)can be blacks of the sky and shadows dont
troublesome when the percentage exceed 300 percent. Not doing this
combination of all four colors adds up makes the printing difficult to control
to more than 300 percent. All printers when on press because of the huge
have a limit on their total area coverage amount of ink being laid down. Its also
(TAC), which refers to the maximum quite wasteful and too much ink will
amount of ink allowed in the darkest lead to set-off when drying, which
areas of an image. The percentages means the image will be pressed onto
vary from a maximum of around 300 the following sheet. A disastrous and
340 percent for coated papers to 240 very expensive issue to resolve and only
280 percent for uncoated papers. So to fixed by going back and amending the
be on the safe side, I always check the guilty file, so check them first! PD

Color 217
Thou shall take into account
paper brightness and whiteness

Commentary Paper brightness has printed area, so in turn can effectively

always been considered an important increase the number of reproducible
feature for any white printing stock, colors printed on the paper stock.
and shouldnt be confused with Its not quite that simple, as colors will
whiteness. Brightness is the percentage look different under different viewing
reflectance of blue light at a specific conditions, but broadly speaking the
wavelength (457nm in fact) so is more color gamut of the color model used
quantifiable than whiteness, which is for printing will increase with the use
the percentage of light reflected at all of paper stock with a high whiteness.
wavelengths. The brightness of the Conversely, paper with a slightly blue
pulps and pigments used in paper shade is considered whiter than stock
manufacture indicate how much which has a more neutral white shade
whiteness can be achieved. Anyway and will make your colors really pop
enough science, I think. High paper off the page. TS
whiteness boosts the contrast of any

218 Color
Thou shall specify colors
for packaging a little lighter
than you want
them to print

Commentary The very wise Robynne wasnt true, but all you need to do
Raye of Modern Dog once bestowed is ask yourself if you have ever seen
upon me an invaluable piece of advice, a package on a shelf and thought they
pulling me aside and asking, Have you held back a little on the ink for this one.
ever seen a piece of packaging printed Consumer items are often in a different
too light? She then revealed that they sort of production cycle, sometimes
often set the final files up a uniform printed with several other jobs, some-
5 percent lighter than the versions times for other clients, or on insanely
proposed and approved, knowing that long print runs using rubber plates. This
the gain on press will still likely leave means different compromises need to
them with a darker final product than be made at times, and trust me when
expected. Decades into packaging I say that the pressperson will always
assignments, I wish their observation add more ink to sort it out. JF

Color 219
Thou shall never specify
a color for print based
on its on-screen

Commentary This is an age-old their screen they believe will carry

problem that is still relevant today. across and be printed. In addition,
When you look at colors on the screen, their screen will present differently
you see an illuminated representation than your screen, so already there is
of the color that is never entirely inconsistency. To guarantee the correct
accurate. An electronic representation color is printed, I always use the color
of a CMYK or Pantone color will not be breakdowns or references supplied
the same as ink on paper. Although the in the appropriate Pantone book and
two can get close on occasion, there ensure the client sees them. Obtaining
will never be a perfect match. This has a proof will also ensure they understand
always caused difficulties for designers how the colors will look for the end
and for clients as what they see on product. Be safe, never sorry. PD

220 Color
Thou shall learn
about underpainting

Commentary Some people understand the experience. Midway through,

underpainting. Everyone else doesnt she took the time to flesh out how
know how to paint. I was a terrible underpainting works. Using only
student in my college painting class. I one paint color, I learned to make a
just didnt know it. Finally, my instructor monochromatic sketch on my canvas
tried to explain what was lacking in my that added a uniform base and feeling
work by insisting that I take a painting for my final piece. I then learned how
I had completed, and paint an entirely important layers of color could be
new piece over it. This stopped me from how yellow under the green grass was
being precious about my work and also different from brown. It changed
sent me on the most important color everything. JF
exploration of my life. Every single thing
that I know about how colors interact
with one another was informed by

Color 221

Thou shall
ask your client
color questions
Commentary After agonizing for color, one that was strewn throughout
weeks over a presentation to a huge all of my options, and one that made
nonprofit organization on their conceptual sense. It was an extreme
fundraising gala materials, I was example, but I knew I had forgotten a
stunned to hear, five minutes into the vital step in my usual process. The time
meeting, that none of my options were when I ask if there is anything I need to
likely to work. My side of the room was know about my client and colors. You
still putting their jaws back in place should always ask in advance, but also
when I notice the telltale look in the be sure to ask following feedback. Can
eyes of my main contacts sitting across I never use green again? Or should I
from me. They could have told me this just shy away from that particular
would happen. The reason was that the green? It will save you a lot of trouble.
executive directors wife hated a certain Trust me. JF

222 Color
Thou shall
respect an
to a color
from a
Commentary One of the most what do you do? If you think you are
frustrating things working in design going to have any success forcing them
can be when a client makes a subjective to see the reasoning behind using that
comment on color. Some of us, myself color, even if you are branding an
included, have set up presentation orange juice company, you have already
processes so that we can circumvent been told that you wont. When that
this as best as possible. However, it emotional/irrational response happens,
would be terribly nave, and detrimental adjust, adapt, and most of all, respect it.
to your professional progress, to think You dont have to agree with it. But you
that this will not occur time and time are in your clients shoes, burdened by
again. When your client says that they their color history. JF
cant fathom using orange in their
branding, because it was the color
of their rival high school growing up,

Color 223
Thou shall not
get caught up
in trendy colors
for projects that
need to stand
the test of time

Commentary If you were dressing a When you are doing the same on your
person and knew that they had to wear design projects, creating a final product
the same clothes for 10, 20, 30 years or brand that needs to hold its look far
or more, would you dress them in bell past the current time period, you should
bottom jeans? Give them feathered take even more care. Ignore those lists
Farah Fawcett hair, or better yet, a of what colors are hot and seem to
Mohawk? Pierce their nose or cover be filled with made-up names for
them in tattoos? Or would you research nonexistent fruits, and make solid
clothes until you had determined what decisions based on research and
was built to last, and what was trendy strategic thinking. JF
and sure to fall out of fashion soon
enough? I hope that you would put in
the time toward doing the research.

224 Color
Thou shall
remember that
the popularity
of certain colors
shifts rapidly

Commentary Each year, multiple a specific context. Avocado green

organizations publish lists of colors will look dated on a 1970s refrigerator.
that will be in fashion the next year. Avocado green will appear fresh and
One year, we are told that silver is the current on an iPhone cover. Coral will
color that must be used if we are to be dated on a 1955 Cadillac. It will be
remain relevant. The next year, brown perfect on an identity for a forward-
is the new black. A designer must stay thinking nonprofit institution. The
current with popular culture, taste, and lesson is to create your own rules.
attitudes. But, the designer should lead, If color is used with confidence in
not follow. When someone says, That purposeful and bold ways, it will be
color is so dated, they are seeing it in appropriate and fresh. SA

Color 225
Thou shall recognize
that color palettes
change depending
on an audiences age

Commentary One of the most valued is that age directly affects how the
abilities in design and advertising is the viewer reacts to color. One of the key
ability to create for an audience well factors is that children recognize a
outside of your age group. The rabid smaller range of colors, only responding
pursuit of young consumers has made to a widened palette as they grow older.
this talent, especially considering that Children also make early associations
kids cant enter the workplace to do this with specific colors (apples are red)
for themselves, a golden commodity. and reward the use of bold and bright
With the graying of our populations, an colors. As we become more savvy, or
entirely new marketplace has opened up jaded, we also accept a wider range
and marketing toward it has become a of colors and their applications. JF
clear specialty. While many factors go
into reaching these different groups,
one factor that can often be forgotten

226 Color
Thou shall research the
color palettes of your
clients competitors

Commentary Strange things are courage will look at the competitive

revealed when a designer compiles a research and determine that his or her
visual grouping of a clients competition. client should look the same. The client
Typically, a clear language is uncovered. may even say, But everyone else uses
Part of this language is color. A similar blue. Conformity is valuable in the
palette for all of the competitors will be armed services. It is damaging in a
seen. For example, a search for financial competitive marketplace. The designers
institutions will disclose vast swaths job is to identify a clients strengths,
of navy blue and forest green. The weaknesses, competitors, and values.
designer then has the choice to either And then to create a visual solution
ride the horse in the same direction, or that sets the client apart or above
go another way. A designer with little the competition. SA

Color 227
Thou shall
not let your
personal color
hurt a project

Commentary Consider working author that your favorite colors, ocher

on a book cover for a noted woman and black, are better choices will have
writers new romantic novel. She has two effects. It will make the client
used carnation pink on each of her angry, and you will be fired. More
twelve other novels. Her bedroom important, however, is that the ocher
is carnation pink, and her nickname is and black would damage Pinkys brand.
Pinky. Pink, however, makes you recoil. The money and time spent to reinforce
You consider it weak and a sign of the identification of pink with Pinky will
womens oppression. What should you be discarded. Bluntly, pursuing your
do? Clearly, using carnation pink is the own personal color choice over the
correct choice. Trying to convince the needs of the project will ruin lives. SA

228 Color
Thou shall design logos in black
and white before applying color

Commentary We have already applications work well. Using only

established the fact that clients may black and white while talking about
react emotionally to the colors that we the process with your client will also
present to them. We have also laid out create solid acceptance of your design,
the need to create logos in such a way without eliminating something because
that they can be applied to a variety it was presented in an offensive color.
of items, from letterhead to signage to Only the best designs will survive.
embroidery and everything inbetween. Those conversations will also provide
Now that we have talked through all the base for your final color decisions.
of the pitfalls, it is the perfect time Often, both sides will find that they
to give you a little secret into how to already know the colors they should
circumvent them. Working with your use in the final solution. And never
logo designs in black and white will forget, if it works in black and white,
help guarantee that the vector it will work in most any color. JF

Color 229
Thou shall
remember that
color + time
can = brand
Commentary One of the most reinforcement, from its delivery vehicles
incredible marketing efforts, tied to its employee uniforms, UPS has
directly to color, took place over the owned brown in the marketplace to
last few years. The shipping giant UPS such an extent, and period of time, that
has had the color brown as part of its they simply refer to themselves as such.
identity since its earliest days, chosen This campaign stands as a vital
for its dignified and professional reminder of how important color can
appearance. Now, 80 years later, its be as a brand asset. It brings to mind
entire campaign is based around simply companies with incredibly strong
calling the company itself brown. This brands that lack in the logo
is a stunning acknowledgment of how department, and the decades built on
important the color is to the way instantly recognizing that Coca-Cola
consumers identify and interact with red on the supermarket shelf, among
the company. Built through constant others. JF

230 Color

Thou shall accept that

there is no such thing as
a bad color combination
Commentary Rules are meant to large and bold way will make them
be broken. There are valuable and look exactly right. Van Gogh combined
appropriate rules for color. But, once yellow with rust. In the hands of a
a designer reaches a level of proficiency lesser artist, timidly applying a small
and confidence with color, all rules are amount here and there, the solution
thrown out of the window. Bad color would be bad. Van Goghs Twelve
combinations are timid color comb- Sunflowers appear perfect. As in most
inations. The viewer will sense when of life, doing something with bravery
a designer is unsure and inhibited. and self-confidence will always make
A small patch of violet on the page others believe you are correct. SA
against an equally wispy patch of lime
green will look like an error. Slamming
violet and lime green together in a

Color 231
and Graphics

Thou shall not

use stock images
just to save money
Commentary Dont get me wrong a completely unique image would serve
hereI love the fact that we can go your client better. Remember that other
online nowadays and find 87,000 designers can download the same
different shots of two businessmen photos or illustrations youve selected
shaking hands while grinning inanely for their own clients, and the better
at each other. This is ultimately a good (and therefore more popular) images
thing because, if thats the kind of get pushed to the top of the list when
image you need for a project, the bulk you search by subject. If you think your
availability and lower overheads of client can afford original photography
online picture libraries mean stock or illustration, always try to persuade
images are now a relatively inexpensive them to consider that option first.
option. However, you should always It helps to keep the freelance
think carefully about whether or not community in work, too. TS

Imagery and Graphics 233

Thou shall
always check
to see if a
perfect stock
photo might
be available

Commentary A very famous designer They begged him to at least give it a

once told me a story about how one of try. He scoffed and thought about just
his most iconic posters almost didnt telling them that he researched to no
come to fruition. It involved the avail, so hopeless seemed the task.
interaction of a figure with a cityscape, Then, he pecked out a quick stock
only it had to be a specific city, search, only to discover a photographer
immediately recognizable. He was who specialize in that region, leaving
limited in his options with the figure, him with a multitude of options and an
so he joked to the client that should incredibly happy client, amazed that he
they want to rent a helicopter, he could could be so diligent in turning up such
easily get the image they desired. a difficult image to find. JF

234 Imagery and Graphics

Thou shall do your best to use
client-supplied images

Commentary I see you staring at you move forward undeterred. When

me, that slightly out-of-focus shot of my back is turned, you inch directly on
the executive director and four other top of my monitor and whisper to me
people that seem mildly important. One I pay your salary. A bead of sweat
of them displays his expensive watch, arches across my forehead, as I realize
and theyre all drinking glasses of wine. I have been approaching this all wrong.
I can feel you edging your way toward As I turn closer, resigned to making you
my precious magazine spread. The one the best image you can possibly be,
I have been filling up with pull quotes open eyes and exorcised drunks to the
and telling the client that there was rescue, you smile and add, plus, I
no room for you inside. Besides the come pre-approved. JF
multitude of image edits you require, I
take offense that you have been forced
upon me. You can feel my disdain, but

Imagery and Graphics 235

Thou shall also show a client
better alternatives to their own
imagery if necessary

Commentary Most clients have not a photograph that sends the wrong
been educated as designers. They message. When the project is finished,
havent studied the history of photo- there will be no note on the bad images
graphy. They dont understand complex that reads, This was chosen by the
rules of composition. And they dont client. The failure of the project will
need to. Clients understand the rules be the designers. When faced with
of law, or medicine, or engineering. bad photography, art, or information
This may lead to a client supplying graphics, the designer should find a
really awful imagery. It may be blurry better solution and present it as an
photographs taken by a girlfriend who alternative. Forcing this down the
is interested in photography. It may be clients throat rarely works. Tactful
awful drawings of a clients pets, drawn and logical explanation, showing both
by a relative. Or it may be as simple as alternatives is the correct approach. SA

236 Imagery and Graphics

Thou shall not assume that an
image is good simply because
its been published on Flickr

Commentary Flickr is a website rejecting the bad ones. Flickr is not a

devoted to the sharing of photographs. source for stock images. Some images
It allows people around the globe to are remarkable, others images are
upload their own images and share horrible. The question one must ask
them with everyone else. Flickr and is, Would I hire my ailing mother to
other websites that serve this purpose photograph this landscape image? Or
are remarkable tools to see into the lives would my four-year-old son be a good
of everyday people everywhere. Just source for images of a holiday dinner?
because an image has been published The answer will be no. Stock image
online, does not make it good. There websites are a good source for stock
is no photography curator at Flickr images. Using a photographer to shoot
accepting the wonderful images, and an original image is the best solution. SA

Imagery and Graphics 237

Thou shall not
repulse your
audience with
imagery unless
briefed to do so

Commentary Shocking images are a The solution may receive the attention
valuable tool for the graphic designer. desired, but the lasting effect will be
An image that challenges the audience, one of anger and negativity. If the client
or forces them to acknowledge an is the Sex Pistols, this response may be
issue, is one of the strongest forms desired. Most clients, however, prefer a
of communication. Repulsive and positive reaction. No communication is
aggressive images are part of this ever neutral. The response will always
canon. In the right context, this type be clear or confused, positive or
of imagery can create a result that is negative. The designers role is to help
spectacular. Repulsive images used for guide that perception toward positive
shock value alone are pandering. and clear. SA

238 Imagery and Graphics

Thou shall
consider the
political content
of all image

Commentary In the 1930s, the Nazi as propaganda. Understanding the

party began to censor art considered political implications of images, icons,
politically degenerate. Obviously, anti- and messages is a necessity for each
Nazi art was the first censored. As time designer. Is the curvaceous woman in
passed, the political content of 95 a bikini holding a beer simply a picture
percent of art produced was deemed of someone at the beach? Or is it,
degenerate. In the end, the state only according to feminist theory, an
allowed benign landscape paintings to example of objectification and
be exhibited. Every image has political oppression from a patriarchal culture?
content. A photograph of a group of Each designer will need to determine
people is immediately deconstructed by this for him or herself. Purposefully
race, gender, age, and culture. Even a using an image and recognizing its
benign landscape painting can be seen political subtext is a basic skill. SA

Imagery and Graphics 239

Thou shall not run
detailed images
across the gutter

Commentary A full-bleed image run to overlook the importance of the

across a spread in a book or magazine gutter because its represented only
creates great visual impact and some by a fine rule, but in a bound magazine
pictures cry out to be used as large or book much of the viewable page
as possible. Magnificent landscapes or immediately adjacent to the gutter can
architectural shots can work really well, disappear into the spine. Images like
especially when theyre overlaid with a those impressive landscapes can usually
strong typographic headline to open an absorb this, but the cardinal sin is to
article or chapter. Take care though, as chop through someones face while
its easy to forget one vital detailthe positioning a portrait across a gutter.
gutter. When we design spreads we Dont cut off someones nose to spite
normally work spread to view so we their face. Take care to ensure that
can see left and right pages side-by- gutters only pass through neutral
side. On a flat computer screen we tend image space. TS

240 Imagery and Graphics

Thou shall check that all
images have an effective
300ppi resolution

300ppi 72ppi

Commentary The industry standard So, you have your 300ppi image at,
resolution for printing four-color half- say, 4 x 6 inches. As long as you import
tones is 300ppi. I say ppi (pixels per the image to your layout at the same
inch) rather than dpi (dots per inch) size (or smaller) youll maintain a
nowadays as the vast majority of image resolution of at least 300ppi and the
reproduction involves a digital work- print will theoretically look great.
flow and pixels are more representative However, if you enlarge the image
of image resolution. Its generally on the page youll lose resolution. For
accepted that the average human example, enlarging the image to 8 x 12
eye cant differentiate pixel densities inches halves the resolution to 150ppi,
beyond 300ppi, which explains why this which will degrade the quality of the
is the recommended resolution for high- final print. The trick is, unless you have
quality image reproduction. Other no alternative, never enlarge a 300ppi
factors such as halftone screens (see image beyond 100 percent within your
Rule #228) also influence this choice. layout. TS

Imagery and Graphics 241

Thou shall not
import images
with too high
a resolution

Commentary We know that 300ppi to this, banding (an uneven gradation

is the industry standard resolution for of tone) can occur with images above
quality printing, but what happens if 300ppi because the resolution doesnt
we scan a halftone image at 600ppi? correspond favorably with the
You might think itll look twice as good commonly used 150 lines-per-inch
when printed, but sadly youd be wrong. halftone screen (see Rule #228). If you
Its true to say that in some cases slight send PDFs to print rather than original
improvements can be detected in layout files, theres a good chance that
images printed at a higher resolution any imported images over 300ppi are
than 300ppi but its more of a fluke resampled down to 300ppi anyway,
than anything else. The truth is, the but the issue of document size remains,
extra resolution gets wasted and only slowing down all prepress processing
serves to make the document size and taking up extra space on your
larger than it needs to be. In addition workstation or server. TS

242 Imagery and Graphics

Thou shall
resample all
images to 300ppi
before importing
them to a print
Width: 2048 pixels (173.4 mm)
Height: 3072 pixels (260.1 mm)
Channels: 3 (RGB Color, 8bpc)
Resolution: 300 pixels/inch

Commentary When working on any that all images you use are hi-res.
book design project, I receive hundreds To locate the lo-res images before you
of images to choose from. Invariably, import them to a layout, use software
these images will be a mix of such as Adobe Bridge and adjust the
resolutionssome high resolution resolution using Photoshop. If there
(300ppi) and others that have been are a lot, run an automated action in
shot digitally, which, although large Photoshop to do the same, but make
dimensionally, are only 72ppi in sure that you constrain the proportions
resolution. If I were to place these with the resolution so that as you make
latter images at 100 percent in my them 300ppi, the images scale down
layout, I would in effect be placing correctly. Following this process means
low-resolution images into the artwork, you can guarantee that every image
which are never good enough quality to will reproduce at at least 300ppi as
print with. It is essential, therefore, that long as you do not scale them above
you consolidate resolutions to ensure 100 percent in the layout. PD

Imagery and Graphics 243

Thou shall learn about
digital file formats

Commentary Were really talking apply when saving as quality can

about the various image file formats suffer. A JPEG is also a bad choice if
here, all of which differ slightly and you think youll need to edit the image
provide their own unique advantages. further down the line as quality is lost
TIFFs (tagged image file format) every time you save a JPEG. Forget
remain a top choice for print workflows about EPS files (encapsulated
as they can accommodate embedded PostScript) as theyre rarely used
information such as alpha channels, nowgo with native Illustrator files
meaning masks can be imported for vectors. PNGs (Portable Network
directly into a layout. Native Photoshop Graphic) are popular formats for
files are also a popular choice for online use, offering the advantage of
the same reasons. JPEGs (Joint transparency support. I recommend
Photographic Experts Group) are great some further reading as you may find
if you need to keep file sizes down but youve not been using the best formats
be careful how much compression you in your own image workflow. TS

244 Imagery and Graphics

Thou shall learn about bit depth

Commentary Bit depth is the number images are 24-bit because there are
of bits, or binary digits, assigned to 8 bits of color information per channel,
each pixel in an image. Bit depth so 8 x 3 = 24. Photoshop can handle
isnt about resolution, its about color up to 32 bits-per-channel, or 96-bit
qualitythe higher the bit depth, the images, but youll find that many
more tones you can achieveso subtle adjustments and filters wont work
color gradations improve as bit depth at this bit depth, and any extra quality
increases. Pure black-and-white images provided may be lost during print.
where each pixel is either on (black) or When working with 48- or 96-bit
off (white) are termed 1-bit. Black-and- originals, it might pay to create a 24-bit
white halftones with gradations from copy for use in your layout. Check with
black to white are 8-bit, so 8 bits of your print supplier to see what they can
color information per pixel. Color RGB achieve with their equipment. TS

Imagery and Graphics 245

Thou shall understand the
relationship between resolution
and image size

100% 600%

Commentary This is a pretty straight- For example, enlarging a 300ppi image

forward relationship, unlike many of the to 600 percent within your layout will
domestic variety, but its important to reduce the resolution to 50ppi. If youre
understand how resolution and image interested in how the math works, its
size affect one another. Any original 100 600 x 300. Alternatively, just set
image as recorded by a camera or your Links panel to list the effective ppi
scanner has its resolution set by the for imported images and youll easily
device. However, if you then resize it spot any with a resolution that has
in InDesign so its either more or less strayed beyond acceptable boundaries.
than 100 percent its original size, the You can get away with less than
resolution will change. A 300ppi image 300ppi if you have to, but dont make
wont create more pixels when you a habit of it. TS
enlarge it; the pixels will simply get
bigger and more visible, thus reducing
the quality of the reproduction.

246 Imagery and Graphics

Thou shall
understand the
between image
resolution and

Commentary All four-color process screen as low as 70lpi. The coarser

images are made from dots and are screen will actually help prevent
alternatively referred to as halftones. individual dots merging together when
A photographic print isnt made from the ink spreads through the more
dots and is known as a continuous-tone absorbent newsprint. The relationship
(contone) print. Screening is the term between image resolution and screen
used to describe how a contone is resolution is simple enough in that
converted to a halftone. The chosen image resolution should be about twice
print method and paper stock must that of the screen used, hence the
be taken into account when selecting industry standard of 300ppi and 150lpi.
which halftone screen to use, with Theres some leeway in the equation.
a higher value providing better print Softer images without many straight
quality. A screen resolution of 150lpi lines or angles will stand up to coarser
(lines per inch) is standard for quality screening than anything containing
printing, while a newspaper will use a much in the way of fine detail. TS

Imagery and Graphics 247

Thou shall
choose images
based on their
as well as their

Commentary Is it better to use a accidental shots when you were doing

great shot thats not a perfect exposure, the right thing by looking down the lens
or a perfect exposure thats not quite rather than at the settings on the back
the best shot? Ultimately the decision of the camera. When you look at the
might not be yours as your client may very best images, a pattern begins to
value slick presentation over content emergecontent is king. Beautifully
quality, but for me choosing the shot exposed images that are exactly right
thats the most appropriate is always for a cover or spread are of course the
the better decision. Think about all the perfect option, but its wrong to choose
wonderful images that have come out an image purely because its technical
of field journalism where getting a quality is high. The reaction to a shot
perfect exposure hasnt always been and the emotion it creates in the viewer
the biggest priority. How about those must always take precedent. TS

248 Imagery and Graphics

Thou shall devise
a system for the
consistent naming
of digital image files

Commentary It can be difficult are ever moved between workstations
when you are working on a large-scale or servers. For book and brochure
project to manage and identify the projects you may choose to use the
many files that have been supplied. In chapter and folio numbers as a prefix
some instances, a client or a publisher for the image, so when listed alpha-
will have been very helpful and will betically they appear in running order.
have supplied the image files with However, if the pagination changes
logical and consistent names and in an at some point this method may cause
organized manner. Often though, you confusion, so a simple system of unique
wont be so fortunate, in which case numbering and/or coding which doesnt
its worthwhile organizing the files follow a page order may prove to be
and renaming them yourself before more dependable in the long run. By
you import them. This will enable you taking stock of what you have and how
to find and compare images and to the design is structured, a system of
maintain the correct links if the files organization will become evident. PD

Imagery and Graphics 249


Thou shall work with

Camera RAW image files
Commentary Adobe Camera Raw more with them right at the point
is, in a word, brilliant. If you shoot when you first open them up in
(or receive a shot) as a JPEG or TIFF Photoshops Camera Raw plug-in.
it is what it is. You can adjust it, color You can reset temperature (or white
correct it, resize it within reason, but balance), tint, exposure, brightness and
thats basically it. Camera Raw is like contrast, clarity, and vibrancy, and a
having an old-style film negative whole host of other adjustments. You
because you can go back to the original can even open images at an increased
to create new versions from scratch. size to the original, which can be very
A Camera Raw file contains all the raw handy indeed. Ask your photographer
data recorded by the camera at the for, or shoot in, Camera Raw
point the picture was shot. Camera whenever possible. TS
Raw files arent compressed, nor are
they subjected to any in-camera
processing, so you can do a whole lot

250 Imagery and Graphics


Thou shall utilize Adobes DNG

format when archiving images
Commentary We just mentioned better option for archiving, and you
how good Adobe Camera Raw can still open them with the Camera
is but it does have its limitations. The Raw plug-in. The file sizes are slightly
format is governed by the make and smaller too, which isnt a bad thing,
model of supported cameras, and the and there are cataloging advantages
Camera Raw plug-in cant guarantee to boot. If you drop a Camera Raw file
itll support every camera forever. This into an image catalog, you dont see
means there may come a time when any of the adjustments you may have
you wont be able to open an archived applied to the image, but with a DNG
image. Enter the solutionAdobes file the preview honors any exposure
DNG (digital negative) format. Saving and color adjustments. This is a huge
your images as DNG files removes the advantage if you choose to follow the
compatibility issue so they become advice in Rule #233 and create a DAM
time proof, making them a much system. DNG is the way to go. TS

Imagery and Graphics 251


Thou shall use DAM to

catalog image files
Commentary Whats more boring, potential commercial value. If you dont
cataloging all your photographic images want to fork out for extra software you
and illustrations or spending all day can use something like iPhoto, which
searching for that great shot that comes as standard with every Mac,
you may or may not still have on file or Picasa, which is a free service from
somewhere? Personally I would say Google. Alternatively, you can just file
the latter is more boring and definitely images carefully in named folders and
more frustrating. Digital Asset use Adobe Bridge for your image
Management (DAM) sounds like the searches. Whatever system you go
dull option but its actually really easy for, get to grips with metadata, which
to do once youve got your system in is defined as data about data. Use
place. You can buy specialist software metadata to embed key words into
like Extensis Portfolio, which creates your image files and tracking them
standalone catalogs of all your images, down in the future will be a breeze. TS
or digital assets, as they all have

252 Imagery and Graphics


Thou shall always apply some

sharpening to digital images
Commentary On close inspection adjustments, but if not, the odds are
many images shot with a digital that youll be using Photoshop to do
camera will appear to be slightly this yourself, so use Unsharp Mask or
blurred. This happens because, just Smart Sharpen. Dont use the basic
like the grain produced in shots from Sharpen filter as its an all or nothing
old-style film cameras, digital sensors option and offers no real control over
produce a random speckling of tiny the end result. A word of warning
electronic dots across the shot known dont overdo it. Oversharpened images
as noise. Digital cameras attempt to look worse than the straight from
suppress noise by setting sharpness camera shot, so easy does it. Oh, one
to the lowest acceptable level, which more thing, complete any and all image
means that post-production sharpening adjustments before you apply any
is needed. Your photographer may sharpening. It should always be the
do this for you as part of his or her last thing you do before importing the
contract along with any required color image to your layout. TS

Imagery and Graphics 253

Thou shall not crop well-
composed images excessively

Commentary When an artist sits the shutter, and photographic images

down at their easel to sketch out the should be treated the same way as
composition of a painting, theyre paintings. Sure, not all photographs
thinking carefully about whats need to be treated with the same
happening at the edges of the work as reverence, and some are shot with the
well as whats happening at the center. intention they be cropped at will, but
Imagine how horrified they would be something like a fine landscape image
if they were to walk into a gallery, or an immaculately composed portrait
only to find that a picture framer had should be treated with respect and
decided to chop 6 inches off the top of cropped as the photographer intended.
their work so it lined up nicely with the Its kind of rude to crop heavily without
other paintings on the adjacent wall. good cause. TS
Photographers do the same thing when
they look through a camera viewfinder
and compose the shot before they fire

254 Imagery and Graphics

Thou shall not crop landscape
to portrait and vice versa

Commentary Another professionals its composition, as well as being

work should always be treated with disrespectful of their ability! Most
respect. This is no less true when photographers I know often take a
working with a photographer; their landscape and a portrait of the same
experience and creative eye for a subject matter, with the orientation
good shot contribute to the careful dictating their choice of composition.
composition and formatting of each So check if there is an alternative
photograph they produce. By taking before you start laying out your design.
their picture and recropping to a This rule goes for any type of image,
different format, more often than not art reproduction, or illustrated work,
you are degrading the overall quality too. Meet the challenge and work with
of the image and negatively affecting what you are given. PD

Imagery and Graphics 255

Thou shall use the
right Photoshop tools
for color adjustment

Commentary If you feel an image can solve simple color problems but
needs some color adjustment, it may for better results you need to study
well need a bit of tonal adjustment the workings of the Curves adjustment.
first. Color is directly affected by tonal Its not that complicated to get your
adjustments because saturation will head around and is arguably the most
increase or decrease when darkening powerful adjustment tool in the whole
or lightening an image, so check Levels kit. Read up about the popular S-Curve
first. Dont bother with Brightness and approach to color adjustment and youll
Contrast as the adjustment isnt be well on the way to becoming a real
sophisticated enough. Drag the black pro. Knowledge of the color wheel will
and white point sliders of the Layers help you here, too. Heres a little side tip
dialog in to meet the ends of the for any adjustment procedure. Decide
histogram to achieve good tonal what the worst issue is and deal with
balance. A Color Balance adjustment that first. It may be all thats needed. TS

256 Imagery and Graphics

Thou shall always edit
images nondestructively

Commentary Since they were first or take them out completely, so this
introduced way back in 1994, Layers is a bit of a no-brainer, to be honest.
have always been one of the best things However, some folks still manage
about Adobe Photoshop. In 1996 the to forget all about them and either
functionality of the Layers panel took apply adjustments directly to an
another leap forward with the addition original image or make endless saved-
of Adjustment Layers. Now, can you as versions of files in case they want
think of any reason why you wouldnt to go back to an earlier version. This is,
want to take advantage of whats of course, completely crazy and pretty
termed nondestructive editing by using much inexcusable! As you can see I feel
those wonderful Adjustment Layers? quite strongly about this one, so check
Its nondestructive because if you out those Adjustment Layers and use
change your mind about any of the them well, even for basic Levels or
edits you apply you can readjust them Curves adjustments. TS

Imagery and Graphics 257

Thou shall worship Smart Filters


Normal Opacity:

Lock: Fill:


Smart Filters

Add Noise


Commentary We know that non- Adjustment Layers for filters. All you
destructive adjustments are the way have to do is open your original as
to go, as Rule #238 demonstrates. But a Smart Object and apply whichever
what happens when we want to apply filters you care to choose. Each applied
other effects without permanently Smart Filter links in a stack to the
changing the original image. When selected layer and can be edited with
Photoshop CS3 was released in 2007 Blending Options or reordered as many
it was the end of a long wait (after the times as you like, or deleted completely
arrival of Adjustment Layers) for the if you decide you dont need it after all.
brilliant Smart Filters. Smart Filters Theyre applied as a Layer Mask, so you
are possible because of Smart Objects, can also paint areas out to reveal the
introduced in CS2 to allow more original image, without the applied
flexible ways of working with scalable filters. Whats not to like about that?
vector graphics, and are basically Smart Filters deserve the attention. TS

258 Imagery and Graphics

Thou shall
deletion in
favor of

Commentary Returning to the theme ments can easily be made to a Layer

of nondestructive editing, creating Mask with a small brush, and
cutouts can also be given the same Photoshops excellent Refine Edge
treatment through the use of Layer function provides options for detecting,
Masks. I prefer to keep as many adjusting, smoothing, and feathering
previous workings of an image as is any selection. The one thing you always
practical because you may for whatever have to remember if you create a
reason need to return to an earlier cutout with a mask is to check the
version. On the flip side, I dont really Save Transparency box when you save
like keeping dozens of files labeled the image. You also have to save as
version 1, version 2, and so on, so a either a TIFF or PSD as JPEGs cant
mask carries the advantage of not contain multiple layers. TS
deleting any data from an image.
You can always revert to the original
if needs be. In addition, tiny adjust-

Imagery and Graphics 259

Thou shall
create clipping
paths in
not in InDesign

Commentary Its easy to create a youve first created in Photoshop as

quick clipping path in InDesign using part of the original image. Photoshop
the built-in functionality, and its equally provides so many more options for
as easy to create a frame directly from creating all kinds of paths, and allows
the resulting clipping path. This is fine you to refine and feather edges in ways
for a quick one-off job that needs to be that InDesign doesnt. Remember,
turned around in double quick time, or too, that if you use the image again
for something youre unlikely to come elsewhere your cutout work is already
back to or edit. However, its not really done. Never try to create a clipping
the best way to create a proper clipping path from a polygonal picture box
path as it only affects the picture box drawn directly in InDesign. Its a really
used in your layout. Additionally, its shoddy way of working and your print
unlikely that the InDesign clipping supplier will hate you forever so best
path will be quite so accurate as one not to, I reckon. TS

260 Imagery and Graphics

Thou shall always include a
photography or illustration
credit where its due

Image Tony Seddon 2011

Commentary A good editorial layout have to be in 16pt text underneath

depends very highly on skillful use of every image, but if someone wants
space, good typography, and an eye for to check who shot the images for the
structure and navigation. However, if fashion article or who created the cool
the piece is also illustrated, the images vintage-look illustrations for the music
are more than likely the element that feature, they should be able to do so.
first elicits a response from a reader. The majority of photographers and
The best layout in the world will never illustrators are freelance and need to
fully succeed if the images are only publicize themselves constantly through
okay, and will fail miserably if the the work they do for others, so its
images are just plain bad. Given this, important to try to provide that
its really only proper (and polite) to platform for anyone you work with. TS
make sure the person creating great
photographs or illustrations for a piece
gets a credit somewhere. It doesnt

Imagery and Graphics 261

Thou shall allow a photographer
or illustrator to input creatively
whenever possible

Image courtesy of Nikon

Commentary Ive been fortunate There have been a number of occasions
to work with some incredibly gifted when Ive been on a photoshoot and
professionals in my career. These the photographer and myself have
individuals are specialists in their struggled to get an image of a product
fields and are extremely creative, to work. Despite our efforts, the shot
knowledgeable, and experienced. just wouldnt come together, even
So Ive found its always worthwhile though the initial idea was great!
listening to what they have to say, Its at times like these that open
whether it be a suggestion or an communication and a willingness to
observation. Invariably, their comments listen will benefit all parties and result
will add value and improve your project. in solutions that lead to successful
Of course, you dont have to take on work. PD
every suggestion they make, but it
pays to listen as you never know
what may come out of the discussion.

262 Imagery and Graphics

Thou shall
not edit an
work without

Commentary As with a photographers Not only is it more professional to do

work, it is important to be respectful of so, but the commissioning contract will
an illustrators output. Ive worked with often include a clause stating that you
many; if you brief them correctly and are not allowed to modify their work
thoroughly, the work they produce will without permission. The last thing you
tick all the required boxes and often want to do is start breaking the terms
exceed your expectations. However, of a contract for what would appear to
there will be the odd occasion where be a simple change. Go back to them,
changes need to be made to the explain the situation, and they will
illustration, whether its adding or nearly always accommodate any
removing elements, altering colors, or alterations. PD
adjusting the size. In these situations,
you should go back to the illustrator
and ask for the changes to be done.

Imagery and Graphics 263

Thou shall not do it yourself
if you have a budget to

Image courtesy of Nikon

Commentary If theres a good I should personally take on for a project

argument to support why you should when I could easily have delegated
personally create illustrations or shoot work to others while staying within
photographs for a layout youre working budget. These decisions are sometimes
on then fair enough. Perhaps youre driven by a desire to increase your
genuinely the best choice for that personal stamp on a project, or simply
particular taskno reason why you that you really enjoy creating the
shouldnt bebut theres more to it images. Take a step back and answer
than illustration and photography skills. the following question: Am I truly the
Time is also a major factor and the best choice for the work and do I want
more you decide to do yourself, the to be in the office until 2a.m. tomorrow
more time youll need. I have a morning? If the answers are maybe
confession to makein the past Ive to the first part and no to the second,
made bad decisions about how much pick up that phone. TS

264 Imagery and Graphics

Thou shall learn to use an SLR
camera in case you have no
budget for photography

Commentary Part of my education photos for small restaurants,

required that I take a color and and anything desired, but financially
black and white photography class. In unobtainable. I always use top people
retrospect, it was probably one of the when needed, but that isnt always
three most important classes I have possible. Now, with everything digital,
ever attended. Not only did it teach me I shoot my portfolio as well, and not
some visual framing techniques, but a day goes by when I dont shoot
more importantly, it made me comfor- something for reference, or to use as
table holding a decent camera in my a base to manipulate for an image or
hands and expecting decent results to a texture in an illustration. I love my
come from it. Little did I know that I camera and it loves me back. JF
would find myself jumping in to budget-
ravaged assignments, shooting band
portraits for CD packaging, menu

Imagery and Graphics 265

Thou shall not use
your cell phone
to shoot images
for a project

Commentary Ive often had to shake professional printing process and

my head at the poor quality of images thats only acceptable if the project
that have been supplied by some clients brief actually calls for this treatment.
and have had to graciously return the However, as with all things digital,
images and ask them to resupply them. technology moves on and many of the
A common misconception is that newer smart phones now available are
pictures taken on low-grade cell phones capable of producing good-quality,
will be of a good enough quality for high-resolution images which, up to a
high-end print purposes. Possessing point, will be good enough to use. So,
limited resolution and lenses, these if you do need to use a cell phone for
photos should be seen more as a photography, ensure that the resolution
capture than a photograph. Their of the built-in camera is high enough to
lower quality will be evident when capture detail and try to avoid camera
printed using offset litho or some other shake when shooting. PD

266 Imagery and Graphics

Thou shall not use Photoshop
filters to disguise a low-
quality image

Commentary In school, a common instance when requesting a better

excuse for missing homework is image is needed. Alternatively, a new
the dog ate it. In graphic design, a image can be photographed. A solution
common excuse for using the Solaria can be executed with pencil, or cut-
filter is, the project needed it. Both paper. And if all else fails, and a poor-
excuses are obvious and pathetic. quality image is the only option, use
Nobody is fooled by the dog story. it big. Print it out and photograph it
Nobody believes the image was as a physical snapshot. Make the poor
wonderful, but the designer decided quality highly apparent and use it as
to Solarize it. Bad images are bad part of the solution. SA
images. Low-resolution images are
low-resolution images. There is no
hiding from bad quality. This is an

Imagery and Graphics 267

Thou shall not
try to repair a
bad image by

Commentary Desaturating an image 19th century look good because they

is criminal. Perhaps, it is not legally are actual sepia-toned photographs.
criminal, but it is wrong. One of the Taking an image photographed in the
tenets of modernism is to let materials 21st century and making it sepia
be what they are. This means wood results in an image that is clearly
should look like wood, metal should be artificially created. If the imagery is
metal, and stone should be actual stone. artificial and attempting to deceive me,
There is no faux-painted marble in a why should I believe any of the text?
Mies van der Rohe house. Bad images The entire solution is compromised and
are bad images. Attempting to disguise has lost integrity. SA
one by desaturating it has one effect.
It makes a bad image look desaturated.
Sepia-toned photographs from the late

268 Imagery and Graphics

Thou shall not scan a
commercially printed image
that has been screened

Commentary When a piece is visual pattern to emerge instead of the

commercially printed, the collection hoped for image. The trick is to create a
of CMYK dots that make up the base photograph of the image needed. Light
of the image form the visual you see. that printed piece and be sure that it
They can also form a moir pattern is squared up and as flat as is possible,
when scanned afterward. Where a with no flares or shadows. Take several
photo or a slide might be smooth photos, select the best, sharpen it
and continuous, the printing process digitally, and then you have a perfect
fragments this. It works to perfection file to work from. The extra steps are
on the intended final presentation, but more than worth it. JF
when you try to drop that magazine
cover in to your layout straight from
the scanner, be prepared for a bizarre

Imagery and Graphics 269

Thou shall not
enlarge images
in layout

Commentary When youre placing achieve the best layoutand you have
hi-res images in a layout, its essential knowledge that there may be better
that you dont overscale them. Your availableits worth asking the client or
hi-res files should have an image the image source if one is available. If no
resolution of at least 300ppi, this being replacement is forthcoming, then work
the correct resolution for screen rulings with what you have. However, there is a
used in the litho printing process (see small amount of leeway available. If the
Rule #228). Increasing the scale of the quality of the image is high you should
placed image will reduce the images be able to increase the scale when
effective resolution when printed. By placed by up to 120 percent. You will
way of an example, enlarging the image find the majority of the detail, as long
to 200 percent will reduce the resolution as it is not too fine, will be retained
by half to 150ppi due to the doubling when printed, providing you with some
in size. If you need a larger hi-res to flexibility in crop and scale. PD

270 Imagery and Graphics

Thou shall enlarge images
incrementally in Photoshop

Commentary Take a look at the Image practical limit is actually lower. If you
Size dialog in Photoshop and youll see ever need to enlarge a digital image
that there are different options to beyond, say, 50 percent its a good
select when resampling an image. idea to consider using the incremental
Photoshop has to create or delete pixels enlargement technique. Its a simple
using clever things called algorithms process involving gradual increases in
when you resize an image. Extra pixels size of between 1 and 5 percent. Using
are based on the existing pixels, and small increments means Photoshop
a Bicubic Smoother is recommended doesnt have to create as many new
for enlargements. This setting can pixels for each enlargement, so color
give good results for enlargements of accuracy and clarity is maintained.
a fairly high percentage, but there is a For the best results always enlarge
limit. Some say as much as 200 percent images in Photoshop firstnever
is acceptable but I would say the enlarge them in layout. TS

Imagery and Graphics 271

Thou shall
choose images
that support the
text without
repeating it

Commentary Many of us have as captions or headlines should give

attended a lecture where the speaker the viewer additional information. They
shows slides of his or her work. The should not repeat the obvious content
worst speakers tell us what we see on of the image. As an example, a portrait
the screen. A poster with a red headline of a man might have a headline such as
and image of a hat appears on screen. Wesley Thornton, Hero of the French
The speaker says, Then I made the and Indian Wars. A headline such as
headline red, and used a hat. If the Portrait of a man with a black shirt
audience is sight-impaired, this is only tells us what we already know.
acceptable. The best speakers show Images support the text, and the text
the work and expand on it with a story, supports the image. Each adds strength
situation, or hidden meaning. Text used and information to other. SA

272 Imagery and Graphics

Imagery and Graphics 273
Thou shall keep icons
simple and only expect them
to convey a single idea

Commentary The Merriam-Webster ideas. In addition to the car and

dictionary defines an icon as follows: winding road, boulders may appear
a sign (as a word or graphic symbol) to be falling, and children may be seen
whose form suggests its meaning. running across the road. This is no
Successful icons communicate a longer an icon. This is now a painting.
singular and typically simple idea. Many clients will want to say many
A car on a winding road conveys the things at once. The designer filters this
message, Ahead, winding road. Poor information and returns with a clarified
icons attempt to communicate multiple and more legible solution. SA

274 Imagery and Graphics

Thou shall know the difference
between similar, example,
symbolic, and arbitrary icons

Commentary We adore icons. As image itself, like a plane for an airport.

designers, we help place them all Symbolic icons are used when an action
around us. It is important to know that or concept can be conveyed with a
icons fall into four specific categories, recognizable shape and are more
and to understand the separation. conceptual, as the image often doesnt
Similar icons are usually very literal and literally do what it is explaining, like a
use simple objects, actions, or concepts. padlock for security. Arbitrary icons
Many road signs fall into this category. use imagery that must be learned to
Example icons usually convey a complex understand the meaning and bear little
action in a single image. They usually immediate connection to the concept
use an image that we readily associate that they convey. An obvious example
with a larger range of activity than the is the icon for radioactive materials. JF

Imagery and Graphics 275


Thou shall create logos that

identify rather than describe
Commentary Each of us has a name. thrifty. Good logos do the same job.
That name identifies us to the rest of Good logos identify an organization.
society. Our first name may indicate our They do not tell the viewer everything
gender and origin. Our surname may there is to know about the organization.
indicate our cultural background. When The logo is the foundation of the visual
introduced to Comte de Meux et Chalon system. It must exist in a variety of
Robert De Vermandois I might presume contexts. It should be able to withstand
this person is a man from a French an advertisement to sell a product and
family. Queen Alfgifu of England would a letterhead expressing condolences.
appear to be female and from a British Logos that describe are rarely legible,
family. Beyond these facts, however, memorable, or accurate. SA
I know nothing else. The names do not
tell me if Comte De Vermandois is nice
or mean, if Alfgifu is generous or

276 Imagery and Graphics

Thou shall create logos that
work in print and online

Commentary Twenty years ago, number of pixels online. A logo

designers made logos for print, and previously spent most of its life in
occasional environmental needs. The a static two-dimensional world. Four-
visual system required a two-color, color logos were difficult and expensive
one-color, and reversed version. Today, to reproduce. A simple black and white
logos are applied to print, environment, logo with a two-color variation was
broadcast, and online applications. The preferred. Now, multicolored and three-
good news is that designers are now dimensional logos are possible online.
able to animate a logo, use a broader But, as in traditional print design,
color palette, and think three- small hairline rules, delicate and tiny
dimensionally. The bad news is that typography, and complex colors will
every logo needs to be legible on a not reproduce in print, and will fall
printed piece and reduced to a small apart on-screen. SA

Imagery and Graphics 277

Thou shall never use pixels when
you can use vectors instead

Commentary Vector graphics have bitmaps can handle, but for

one massive advantage over pixel- diagrams or logos theyre perfect,
based imagestheyre not resolution and you can avoid the troublesome
dependent, meaning you can enlarge EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) file
them as much as you like with no loss format nowadays as native Adobe
in quality. Vectors are made using Illustrator files can be imported
geometrical primitives, which are directly into page layout programs.
points, lines, curves, and polygons, If its possible to use vectors for an
and mathematical equations calculate illustration or graphic (i.e., one that
how everything intersects. It sounds doesnt require the typical properties
complicated but dont worry, the displayed by a photographic halftone),
software does all the tricky stuff choose a vector approach every time
all you have to do is draw the lines. and youll never have to worry about
Theyre not so good for the fine tonal any of the issues associated with
gradations and subtle color shifts that resolution and image size. TS

278 Imagery and Graphics


Thou shall avoid Live Trace

it makes you lazy
Commentary Some designers are allow something to be what it is. If
remarkable at drawing. These people handwritten text is necessary, write it,
were the students the art teacher scan it, and use it. Using Live Trace will
asked, Did you trace that? This was create forms that appear inauthentic.
not intended to be a compliment. This This deletes any spirit of spontaneity,
question pointed to laziness, deceit, or life. If an object needs to be drawn
and trickery. While Live Trace is an as a vector form, the designer should
incredible tool technologically, it begs use the pen tool and draw the form.
the question, Did you trace that? This controls any odd curves and stray
It is the tool of the weak and lazy. points. It is the difference between
And it will always look like Live Trace. a sloppy, careless approach and a
Especially disturbing are examples of meticulous and energetic solution. SA
handwritten letterforms that have
been subjected to the rigid abuse of
Live Trace. Recalling modernist tenets,

Imagery and Graphics 279

Thou shall know
that things that
are noticeably
different tend to
be remembered


Commentary When we stop and solve while driving around us, typically they
a problem, we are forced to engage are able to solve problems. Speaking
with the issue. Elements that are to the audience with a remedial tone
unexpected or out of place create a is condescending and forgetful. Good
problem that we must solve. Using an design should not function like reading
image of a baby with the word Baby flash cards with simple icons and
below it, asks us to do little. Using simple words to describe them. Good
an image of a baby with the word, design asks questions, poses a point of
Dinner below it, creates an emotional view, and asks the viewer to complete
response, and we are left to question the thought. SA
its meaning. This example will be
remembered. While many people in the
world may seem remarkably stupid

280 Imagery and Graphics

Thou shall
understand the
Face-ism Ratio

Commentary Quite simply, the qualities, and focusing squarely on

Face-ism Ratio is the ratio of face to character. Our images of women tend
body in an image, and how it influences to show significantly more body, often
the viewer in how they perceive the the entire figure, focusing on their
person in the image. The more face one physical attributes and often with a
can see in an image, the higher the sensual undertone. This is consistent
Face-ism Ratio. There is specific math across almost every culture. The point,
involved, if you are so inclined, but we as a designer, is paying attention to
are going to talk about the significance. how much face you show in a cropped
This equation is hotly debated in terms image, and being careful about what
of how it is used in regards to gender. that conveys to the viewer. JF
In history, our images of men tend to
be dominated by the face, emphasizing
their personality and intellectual

Imagery and Graphics 281

Thou shall not allow any images
above 105 percent to go to print

Commentary In Rule #224 we at 150 percent, the image has increased
discussed why you should ensure that by 50 percent in size over the original,
images are 300ppi before you import or you could say the original takes up
them to a layout. In addition to this, two-thirds the width of the scaled
you should ensure that the scale of the image. This now means that the
image does not increase beyond an resolution of the scaled image when
acceptable amount once it has been output has decreased is no longer
placed. The rule that we are applying 300ppi but two-thirds the resolution,
here is, never bigger than 105 percent. or 200ppi. This is a significant decrease
This is due to the fact that, as you and, when printed, the image quality
increase the scale of the placed image, will degrade. At a push, and if the
you are in effect decreasing its image is very good quality, then 110
resolution, and therefore its quality. percent can be achieved, but stick with
For example, if I place a 300ppi image 105 percent and youll be safe. PD

282 Imagery and Graphics

Thou shall not print images that
are less than 300ppi

Commentary When sending a project and paper stock, but it is generally
to print, its imperative to check that accepted that 300ppi will work for
all images have a minimum 300ppi most screen rulings, including finer
resolution. When publications and screens of 200lpi, which would be
books are litho-printed, the printer will considered for use on art books and
employ a screen ruling of 150175lpi monographs. The above, when coupled
(lines per inch) to create the printing with the previous rule of not over-
plates for the various colors. In order to scaling images when placing into
calculate the required image resolution layout, will help to ensure that
for the printers screen ruling, simply everything prints well. A quick and easy
double the lpi figure. Resolutions way to check your images is to use
lower than 300ppi can sometimes be Adobe Bridge to collate and identify
acceptable, depending on the project any files with stray resolutions. PD

Imagery and Graphics 283

Thou shall convert all images
to CMYK before sending
to the printer

Commentary As has been discussed only is it possible to convert the images

elsewhere in this book, the color to CMYKyou can also add the correct
printing process uses four colors: cyan, CMYK profile to the images, which
magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK), will be a great help to the printer,
to reproduce color images and graphics. particularly if there are a lot of images.
Many of the image files supplied to you, Simply find out which CMYK profile the
such as digital photographs, will have printer intends to use and then carry
been created in RGB (red, green, and out the conversion in Photoshop,
blue) mode, which is incompatible with thereby killing two birds with one
the printing process (RGB-formatted stone. If there are a large number of
images are used for screen-based images, you can run a batch of them
graphics such as websites). Before you through an automated action, saving
embark on converting them all, it is a you a lot of work and affording you the
good idea to talk to your printer. Not time to go and have a cup of tea. PD

284 Imagery and Graphics

Thou shall use a mixed RGB and
CMYK image workflow

Commentary Theres a vicious rumor move from one color space to another.
kicking around that all images must be As most of us now send our artwork
converted to CMYK before theyre sent to printers as PDFs we can set Color
for reproduction and print. This isnt Conversion to Convert to Destination
actually trueits fine to implement (Preserve Numbers) when we export
a mixed RGB and CMYK workflow a PDF, helping to ensure that any
as long as you use color profiles. Color RGB images in a layout convert auto-
profiles (for example, Adobe RGB 1998 matically to CMYK while maintaining
or FOGRA39) contain data that color consistency with the RGB original.
describes how any one device, which This cuts out the need to convert all
could be a screen or a printer, will deal your images beforehand, and makes it
with the color information contained possible to keep RGB originals which
in an image. They use LAB, a device- are better suited to color correcting
independent color model (see Rule and manipulation in Photoshop. TS
#163) to closely preserve colors that

Imagery and Graphics 285

and Print
Thou shall include 3mm of
bleed on all artwork

Commentary If you elect to have full- asked on occasion by a printer to

page images that run to the edges of a provide 5mm bleed, but the norm is
page, they are referred to as bleeding 3mm, allowing for those small degrees
off the page. When the page is trimmed, of movement with the cutters and the
you must ensure that additional image collated section as they are passed
content is provided past the page edge through the trimming machine. When
to avoid the potential for any white you place your image and youre viewing
edges showing, due to the slight but it on screen, do remember that what
inevitable variations that occur during you are seeing includes the bleed, so
trimming. This element of the artwork is make sure that no important elements
called the bleed and should only appear of the picture are too close to the
on the trimmed edges of the bookit trimmed edge or are going to be cut
isnt necessary at the spine. I have been off altogether. PD

Production and Print 287

Thou shall always insist on
obtaining a hard proof, even
for mono print projects
Proof has been checked and is: REMARKS:

Folding is correct as
shown on proof:

Commentary I know you think it is only to see one little photo or logo that
silly. A waste of time, or even worse, ripped at a 72dpi preview included?
a waste of moneybut when you stop Catalogs and shopping flyers are full
and think about it, even the smallest job of these mistakes. Even the very best
has enough time and money invested in printers sometimes have technology
it to make the cost of ensuring that it foil their efforts, or they rush a soft
prints correctly negligible. How many proof out, only to have everyone be
times has someone been told that the sorry in the end. It is always the right
PDF proof is written at a low resolution choice to review even the simplest job
but it will be fine in the final printing, properly. Always. JF

288 Production and Print

Thou shall attempt to run
color proofs on the correct
paper stock

Commentary Every designer has stock. The designer showed the client
faced a situation when a client insists proofs on a white-coated stock, and
the color of the printed piece is wrong. the job printed on an uncoated cream
The client is convinced they saw a proof stock. The solution is simple; always
that was perfect, and now the color is show the client proofs on the correct,
wrong. There are several reasons why or similar stock. Explain the differences
this could occur: First, clients remember between digital proof color and offset
what they want to remember. Save printing. They are entirely different
the proof and show the comparison. technologies, and will never match
Second, the printer made an error. exactly. If the printer provides an
Go on press on each job to verify the ink drawdown, make sure the ink is
correct color. And third, the color printed on the exact paper to be used
proofs were on the wrong paper when printing. SA

Production and Print 289


Thou shall not use laser printers

to produce color proofs
Commentary As described earlier, much cruder. Litho is an ink-based
in much the same way as you wouldnt process using a combination and
specify a color for print based on its arrangement of ink dots which when
on-screen appearance, the use of combined creates a high-definition
color lasers should not be relied upon output. Lasers are toner-based and
at all to provide an accurate color overlay the colors in a more instant
representation. Ive found that color and opaque way, lacking refinement
lasers are great for checking that all and accuracy with both color and
the elements are in place and I would images. The second problem with
always be happy if a printer supplied lasers is the machines themselves.
them to me for signing off on content They are in constant need of calibration,
and editorial changes, but they should and I have found that factors such as
never be used for color. The first reason temperature and toner levels greatly
for this is that the process is entirely affect the color output. PD
different from litho printing and is

290 Production and Print

Thou shall not accept a soft
proof unless time saving is more
important than quality


Commentary Life is about exploration? Even when we find the

compromises. Business is about answer to be yes, we have our legs cut
balancing those compromises. out from under us by an accelerated
Design is about trying to keep those production schedule. Few things in this
compromises from savaging the day and age are not weighed down
integrity of our projects. So, it is with with the expectation that they were
great pain, after we have extolled the to be delivered yesterday. So, we look
necessity of seeing a hard proof on compromise hard in the eye, and we
even the simplest business card, that weigh time versus quality. We fight for
we offer one up to the compromise quality, but we know that a project that
gods. We make most of our decisions delivers after an event has occurred is
in regards to how wonderful a final of little use to anyone. JF
project will eventually be around time.
Will we have time to do things the right
way, to truly give them thought and

Production and Print 291

Thou shall Quantity
never assume Proofs
the printer will
Due Date
exactly what Delivery
you require Press Checks

Commentary There are many good at communicating the clients
extraordinary printers. These are the problem, but can be less than clear
printers who are committed to meeting with printers. Assuming the printer
deadlines, providing honest and quick will use a specific paper stock, add
answers, and are immaculate in their varnishes, bind the project, and deliver
craft. Then there are printers who it to the client is risky. Pretend that
might as well be Rhesus monkeys. a Rhesus monkey at the printer is
Some people may walk through life handling the job. Itemize every aspect
trusting others, and believing that most of the project: quantity, proofs,
others have the best intentions, and schedule, delivery, press checks, and
want to do good. This is a great, albeit processes. Do not assume anything,
frightening and nave, attitude in day- ever. In the end, the printer will
to-day life. To believe this with all appreciate the clear direction, and
printers is foolish. Designers may be there will be fewer surprises. SA

292 Production and Print

Thou shall get your printer
involved as early as possible
in your project

Commentary You seem like a pretty conversation with your printer, but
smart cookie. Are you able to keep could never imagine that you would
up on every innovation in design fully understand the ins and outs of
and advertising, from software to the business, is a good start. The sooner
philosophical trends? Of course you you engage your printer in your project,
cant. No one can fully keep abreast the quicker they can enhance it, adding
of their vocation, much less another special techniques, innovations in the
field altogether, no matter how related industry, or better yet, cost savings
it might seem on the surface. Printing while still delivering an amazing
and design, though they often hold product. Or, letting you know of
hands, are wildly different industries. delays or complications in specifying
Recognizing that you should know certain materials. It makes all the
enough to have an intelligent difference. JF

Production and Print 293

Thou shall confirm that all
materials from the client fit
specifications immediately
upon receipt

Commentary Is there anything more be told that the job cant be done with
frustrating than cooking a huge meal the materials on hand. Even though you
and finding that your spouse picked up watched them take receipt of said
regular sugar rather than the required materials days, weeks, even months
brown sugar on the shopping list? beforehand. This is the way your client
Building the extension on your home feels when you ask for a bit of copy,
and putting the new window into the or an image in a higher resolution, right
frame, only to find out that it is 90 before the deadline for a project. Not
percent of the size needed? There only have you let them know that you
actually is something more frustra- didnt start on the job until the last
tinghiring a catering company minute, but you come across as
to cook that meal, or a contractor unorganized and not detail-oriented,
to complete your build-out, only to as is vital in this business. JF

294 Production and Print

Thou shall build contingency
into all printing schedules

Commentary In Switzerland, trains the client decided to change a word

run on schedule. In printing, things in a paragraph just as the job began
happen that delay a project. A client printing. This requires the job to be
may have last minute alterations. The pulled off the press, new files created,
press may break. The ink color might proofed, and approved, additional paper
be flawed. The paper shipment may ordered, new printing plates created,
be delayed, or incorrect. Printing is a and the job rescheduled on press. This
physical process that involves people, one small change could delay a job by
trucks, machines, ink, and paper. It is 24 hours or more. Unfortunately, the
not an instant solution like a digital client will not recall that he made the
printer on a desk. There are too many change. He will only remember that
components and people involved for the designer didnt deliver on time.
a job to never have even a small issue. Add time into the printing schedule to
The project might be delayed because create a buffer for the unexpected. SA

Production and Print 295

Calendars Day Week
Month Year

April 2012
Additional stage for final layouts

Revised week for client approval Good Friday

Files due at printer

Thou shall pass scheduling

issues on to your printer as
soon as they occur
Easter Monday

Commentary As much as we love our brought forward or moved back slightly;

work creating cool and sexy designs, never say yes until you have checked
a big part of our role (and I emphasize with the printer. Confirming a schedule
BIG here) is managing the production when it cannot be achieved will be
process. One of the most important disastrous as you would have made a
parts of this is liaison and communica- commitment that cannot be kept,
tion with the printer. Its imperative breaching the trust of the client and
that, if the goal posts move with putting yourself in an extremely difficult
scheduling, the information is passed position. Maintain open and honest
on to the printer immediately as it communication at all times and, if things
can have a disastrous impact on any change, get on the phone immediately,
production schedule. Quite often a client ask the right questions, and give the
will ask if a delivery schedule can be client the correct answers. PD

296 Production and Print

Thou shall
keep an off-site
backup of all
live projects

Commentary When disaster strikes, excellent Time Machine are a must.

you dont know what will happen to Providing yourself with an off-site
your premises or assets, so make sure backup gives you a guarantee to recover
you have a backup of your work all of your lost data and get yourself up
somewhere off-site. If your studio gets and running much quicker. Many years
flooded, say au revoir to any computers ago I learned the hard way when my
that go for a swim, and if your studio studio was burgled and cleared out of
backups get damaged then you are in Apple computers. Fortunately, we only
worse trouble! The same goes for fire, lost three days worth of studio time,
and with theft they are just spirited having just carried out a large backup
away so you will have no opportunity of the workstations but it was a lesson
of recovering any hard drives for data. I never forgot! Data is your livelihood
Backup software such as Apples so protect it at all costs. PD

Production and Print 297

Thou shall archive
at all times

Image courtesy of LaCie

Commentary If you spent six months editions of brochures or newsletters. If

building a perfect scale model of the you leave this material lying around on
Titanic you would make sure it was your computer desktop or on unmarked
put in a solid case to protect it, while DVDs at the bottom of your desk
hoping it would last longer than the drawer its likely that youll not be able
original ship. You should feel the same to locate it when you next need it. Itll
about the design work that you spend be a start-all-over-again momentnot
weeks or months creating for your good. Invest in a good-quality external
clients. All the work you create is hard drive for archived material and,
potentially an asset and, while you cant better still, keep an off-site backup
supply the exact same layout over and on DVDs as well. TS
over to all your clients, a great deal
of design work can become return
businessfor example, updated

298 Production and Print

Thou shall obtain a printers
template before beginning a
packaging design assignment

Commentary Every manufacturer of coffee beans has a gas release in

has its own nuances to consider. No a different spot, meaning a bump and
matter how many music packaging hole could suddenly emerge in the
projects you have completed, every middle of your layout. Even little boxes
vendor will have a slight variation in of soap close in different configurations
size and where the folds and scores across the board. I could go on for
occur. It is not noticeable in the days. The point being, save yourself the
marketplace, but it could be the huge nightmare of reconfiguring your
difference in the placement of huge designs to wedge on to a template;
portions of the design. A left panel get one from the printer to work
now becoming an upside down top over. Then, you can embrace it and
panel, bleeds and glue panels in design something special around its
radically different positions. Every bag little quirks. JF

Production and Print 299

Thou shall
assemble a full-
scale mock-
up of any

Commentary Building a house on designing in this way. How does a small

your computer screen is a long way piece of type read now that you know it
from planting a shovel and moving will sit back a little on the shelf? Should
earth. On a smaller scale, the same the name of the product bend around
is true about designing anything to the point that you cant see all of the
dimensional, especially packaging. letters unless standing in a specific
What looks like it might work spot? How does the design work at the
structurally doesnt bend as planned, folds and seams? Where does the legal
lock together, or even stand up straight. copy sit? After all that, does it fit in the
Even after you have made adjustments needed shipping containers and the
and tested out the very core structure, commercial display cases and shelves?
you find the more nuanced aspect of Test, test, test. JF

300 Production and Print

Thou shall request
a paper dummy
from your printer

Commentary I love paper samples so that they know what to expect

and its always great thumbing through when the final item arrives. It may be
them and deciding which materials are that they have something else in mind
appropriate and how they can be or would prefer a different material
employed in a project. Once you get for the cover or interior pages, and
a final list, it is worthwhile getting a it is much better that they have a
dummy made up, whether it be for a chance to comment at an early stage.
brochure or a book, so you can better Otherwise, you risk receiving comments
judge how production factors may once the final product has been
impact on your design. I also think it is delivered, such as Oh . . . I think the
important to show dummies to clients text pages are too light. PD

Production and Print 301

Thou shall
learn about
for different
paper stocks

Commentary As far as a digital by dot-gain as the paper is less

image file is concerned, dot-gain absorbent and the ink spreads less.
doesnt exist. Every dot making up a This doesnt mean that high-quality
digital halftone image will stay exactly print should always be paired with
the same size no matter how many coated stock as dot-gain can, of
times you duplicate it. However, when course, be compensated for using
you physically transfer the image to press profiles matched to your printers
paper its a different storythey get machines. Screen ruling plays an
bigger and the image or color tint gets important role in the process; coated
darker. There are various reasons why stock can cope with values from 150lpi
dot-gain will almost always occur to as much as 300lpi, standard matt
regardless of the paper stock used, but art paper 15175lpi, lightly textured
the main culprit is ink absorption during stock 120135lpi, and so on. For
the drying process. Printing on coated newsprint, a screen ruling as low
stock will diminish the effect caused as 85lpi is about right. TS

302 Production and Print

Thou shall
printers that
already know
what dot-
gain means

Commentary When you work with between paper stocks, and vendors take
low-price printers, one of the common great care to provide information to help
issues is that your job returns darker printers so that their sheets perform
than expected, especially when you as best as they can, working with their
specify uncoated paper, as explained in prepress departments. This needs to be
the previous rule. This is a sure sign that factored into how the individual presses
your printer has either not accounted run, and sometimes how the operators
for, or doesnt understand, dot-gain. run them. It is absolutely essential in
When this happens across all four plates getting optimum results from your
in process printing, it can account for printer that they understand this, and
as much as a 2030 percent shift in understand how to control it. Never
how dark the final color can be. As we assume that a printer will take the
learned in Rule #281, dot-gain can shift necessary care this issue demands. JF

Production and Print 303

Thou shall investigate whether
to overprint
or knock out
additional spot
colors and

Commentary Adding in a fifth color on, as well as the expected results.

can be the defining point in a project. Individual colors can require different
Whether it is a spot color to keep considerations. Metallic silver ink can
consistent color across several pieces, have an issue with trapping against
or to hold tight to corporate branding, dark colors and images, overprinting
or a shiny metallic or fluorescent can mean laying on the ink thicker to
providing maximum bang for the visual hold opacity, compromising small or
buck, once you have made that move, fine type, whereas knocking out can
the most important decision is whether allow for tight control in those areas.
to overprint the additional color, or Big impact. Important decisions. JF
knock it out and trap it. Be sure to talk
to your printer and get their advice,
factoring in the sheet you are printing

304 Production and Print

Thou shall
run advance
test proofs
when utilizing
unusual printing

Commentary I always like to err needed. The same goes for color
on the side of caution if the design palettes. Although not an unusual
incorporates any unusual printing printing process, I try and get a test
techniques or a method that requires proof done of the colors and their tints,
quite a lot of advance preparation to with a number of type treatments
ensure that it prints correctly. A employing the colors so I can see how
process that I always test proof in they work when applied to typographic
advance would be a foil-blocking (or elements. Its a far safer way to do it
any other type of blocking for that and, again, the client can comment well
matter) to ensure that the block has in advance of the actual project being
been correctly made and that there are sent to print. PD
no faults contained within the etching.
In addition, you get to see the color of
the foil so a change can be made if

Production and Print 305

Thou shall consult
prior to designing
an advertisement
Commentary Magazines, newspapers, must verify the size and requirements.
and publications that use advertising Unbelievably, people sometimes make
have strict policies regarding the mistakes. They think they purchased
artwork for ads. They may seem a full-page ad, but actually ordered
arbitrary, sensible, or ludicrous. But this a 12 page version. The artwork
is their magazine, their art department, specifications will clearly state trim
and their choice. Before designing an size, bleed, ink requirements, screen
advertisement, consult with the size, and any other pertinent issues to
publication and request an artwork the production of the magazine. Turning
specification sheet, and the exact ad over an ad that is RGB, the wrong size,
order placed. Regardless of who and the wrong resolution is dangerous
purchased the ad space, the designer and wrong. SA

306 Production and Print

Thou shall ensure that all
text in black is set to overprint
background colors

Commentary When I am designing in the color for the black text to sit
books they are often to be co-editioned into). This can cause registration issues,
(translated into foreign-language especially if the text elements are small
editions) so the English text is run as in size, say for folios, captions, and even
a special black, which overprints the body text. To make the text overprint in
remaining elements on the page. That InDesign, select from the palette menu:
way this plate can simply be removed Windows > Attributes. Highlight the
and a German or French edition can be text and click the check Overprint Fill.
overprinted in its place. However, even You can preview the effect under View
if your work isnt going to be translated in Overprint Preview. Of course, this
it is still important that all black text treatment works with any color,
sitting on a colored background should so have fun experimenting. PD
overprint. If you dont overprint the
black text, it will knock out of the
background (i.e., there will be a reversal

Production and Print 307

Thou shall always include crop
and registration marks with
artwork for print

Commentary In order for a printer to printers require PDF files. When

trim the page correctly and match up creating PDFs, its important that you
the printing plates so they are true, the remember to incorporate crop and
inclusion of these marks is essential. registration marks. Items that are to
With most current DTP software, the be die cut, such as a folder, not only
inclusion and output of these marks is need crop marks and registration marks
easyliterally a few clicks of a button but also a cutter guide (an outline of
at the print output stage and they will the element to be cut out) for the
be incorporated. Usually, a printer printer to follow. PD
will do this if you are supplying the
source files and related hi-res images.
However, an increasing number of

308 Production and Print

Thou shall own a copy of, or
subscribe online to, The Chicago
Manual of Style

Commentary What if there was a every day. Surely, you would own
book on your shelf, or a website you such a book, or have access to such a
could go to, that could answer nearly site. If only someone would put such a
every single question you could ever thing together, and update it regularly
have about American English. Some- to keep pace with the evolution of
thing to cut short all those emails, language and grammar. Wait a minute.
texts, forum postings, asking friends, You say such a thing already exists?
relatives, co-workers, strangers what a Thats right, the University of Chicago
certain proofread mark means, or when Press has been publishing the essential
to use a certain form of punctuation. guide since 1906, and has gone through
A guide for editors and writers alike, 16 editions and counting. You need this.
and those of us who deal with copy Run, dont walk. JF

Production and Print 309

Thou shall set up folios
on master pages

A Production and Print

Commentary Earlier we talked about folios to be auto-numbered. These

the benefits of employing master pages folios can still be adjusted when on
in long documents, particularly with the pageor deleted by unlinking them
respect to how they can save time and from the masterbut adjustments
guarantee consistency for common and made on the master pages will still
repeated items on the page. Another affect them. If you need to move pages
key feature of master pages is the around, fear notby moving spreads
ability to set up automatic folios. The around and repositioning them the
folios can be styled up how you wish folios will renumber instantly, giving
them to be, with font, size, and color you one less thing to worry about
all adjustable. The insertion of a special or attend to! PD
character (in InDesign this is referred
to as Current Page Number under
Markers) then allows for the pages

310 Production and Print

Thou shall press
290/291 Thou shall match
check every project paper stock to the
possible, even appropriate printing
business cards technique
Commentary Once, while visiting a Commentary Ideally, you should be
massive mansion, I was struck by the able to choose from as wide a range
bathroom sink having had the knobs for of paper stocks as you wish when
the water installed backwards, so that planning the print side of a project,
it was unnatural to reach across to turn but sometimes the printing process
them on and off. I was certain that, will narrow down your choice. For
despite the gorgeous and extravagant example, sheet-fed offset lithography
structure all around it, I could never live requires paper with good surface
in this house with it tormenting me so. strength, which in turn provides good
It reminded me that no part of a job dimensional stability. Paper stock that
is too small for proper supervision and stretches during full color printing is
attention to detail and a failure can ruin a recipe for disaster as mis-registration
everything around it. Press inspecting will occur between each color as it is
a job allows for the designer to make laid down. Other factors to take into
adjustments, as well as ensure that all account are smoothness, absorbency,
the elements are in place, every t opacity, and compressibility. Standard
crossed. In a worst-case scenario, you stock sizes for sheet-fed processes
merely make certain that the job prints are also important; will they fit your
as expected. In a best-case scenario, you suppliers press and how much will be
can improve the final product, popping wasted during trimming? The paper is
a color, matching to another piece, and more often than not the most expensive
making it all that it can be. JF component of any print project, so do
your research early and always choose
your paper stock with care. TS

Production and Print 311

Thou shall be
aware of paper

Commentary Few things send me This generally happens when someone

off into a fit of giggles like a woman gets dressed in poor lighting, when the
wearing white pants over dark sheerness of the outer garment is
underwear, unintentionally (lets hope) not noticeable, only to emerge into the
showing the entire world the outline sunshine, or bright commercial lighting,
of her unmentionables. When said and give all eyes a bit of a surprise.
undergarment has a pattern of hearts Paper show-through works in much
or polka dots on it, the giggles become the same manner. Exposure to light
uncontrollable. Juvenile behavior for affects the opacity, and thin sheets in
sure, but who can blame me? The particular can allow for the image/text
simplest miscalculation means that on the page behind it to show through
everyone around her will only notice to the one you are viewing. JF
one thing, and that one thing is the item
that she had no intention of sharing,
much less distracting all comers with.

312 Production and Print


Thou shall ask your printer for

the panel sizes of a folded leaflet
Commentary There are dozens of integrated front and back covers
different ways to fold leaflets and which will be the full width of the
brochures, the only restriction being folded leaflet, lets say 4 inches or
the sheet sizes of paper stock and the 100mm. Other panels folding into
available folding machinery your printer the cover need to be slightly narrower,
can access. Folding sequences become allowing them to fold inward but still
more complicated as the number of fit comfortably. The recommended
panels increases, which may seem reduction in width varies between
obvious, but its not just because of sources but something in the region
the panel count. Those panels that of 112 inch or 2mm should do the trick.
fold in on themselves need to be sized The weight of the paper stock also
differently to allow a leaflet to lie has a bearing on the amount of
flat when completely folded. Take for adjustment needed. The bottom line
example the Wrapped Accordion fold, is, always request a template from
a standard accordion enclosed by your printer. TS

Production and Print 313

Thou shall
work in
and vector
when silk

Commentary For ages, silk screening polar opposite of process commercial

was thought of as one of the roughest printing. But, I have to be mindful that
forms of printing. As new generations it also differs at the production end.
of designers have come to embrace The way screens are created/burned
those very qualities, along with the requires that all art be either vector- or
economics of making short-run dot-based, and exist at 100 percent of
projects, from posters and t-shirts, to the color. That positive is what creates
most anything you can imagine pressing the portion in the screen that lets the
up against a screen to have ink pulled ink through, and shades are not an
along it, it has emerged as a powerful option. It requires a complete rethink
niche. Currently, it is so popular that in how you approach your design and
I am working on something being production. JF
produced via screen print every day.
I love the thick ink and the way no
two pieces are quite the same. It is the

314 Production and Print

Thou shall always
have up-to-date
paper swatch

Commentary Paper companies delivered. Making sure that swatch

have long used the swatch book to references are up to date is vitally
show off the capabilities of their sheets, important. One day in the future, you
combining current design trends with may go to spec a sheet and find that
flashy techniques, in the hope that you a swatch doesnt exist any longer, or
will choose their line, and put it into that that finish is gone, or the weight
use on a stunning final product. Most of paper is no longer available. Paper
studios, firms, or in-house departments companies are all too happy to send
will eventually have a printer visit their these to you. Take advantage. JF
office, who will notice that they dont
have all of the current swatch books,
and will see to it that some are

Production and Print 315

Thou shall look beyond a
printers in-house paper
stock for a wider choice

Commentary There are many paper is fun and all the paper makers have
and materials manufacturers out there swatch books and printed examples
and its beneficial for the graphic available to be sent out. They usually
designer to be aware of the range of offer a samples service whereby with
print companies and products available. a quick call you can order larger sheets
There are times when a concept may to help you make decisions on specifica-
be driven by, or nearly always enhanced tions or use for mock-ups and presenta-
by, the materials the designer chooses; tions. Dont limit yourself to companies
often, with an unusual print process that exist in your home country. There
thrown into the mix, a really successful are truly fabulous papers available from
and powerful end result can emerge. around the world and all can usually be
Getting to grips with whats available shipped in bulk to your printer. PD

316 Production and Print

Thou shall familiarize yourself
with international paper sizes



A6 A0

Commentary To enable designers, is based around A formats. The A

clients, and printers to discuss matters sizes are ordered downward in size,
of specification and pricing on a level being approximately half the area of
playing field, it is advantageous to the next size in the range, with A0
establish an understanding of available at 1 m2 and A6 at just 155.4 cm2.
paper sizes. Standard U.S. and In addition, the C series provides
European paper sizes do differ so formats for envelopes and postcards,
its worth getting an overview of how where a C4 envelope is slightly larger
the respective systems work. The U.S. than an A4 sheet. Finally the RA
paper sizes are based on multiples of and SRA ranges provide untrimmed
8 12 x 11 inches (or Letter), but some format options for commercial printers
sheets will be a little larger to allow for which are slightly larger than the A
images that bleed and to allow for grip sizes and, once again, allow for grip
when on press. In Europe the system when on press. PD
most widely employed is ISO 216 and

Production and Print 317

Thou shall not specify
cheap paper stock

Commentary It is said that salt is salt. cheap paper will not accept ink as well.
But if you are a chef, you will explain There may be scoring and folding issues.
that salt from the grocery store is And there will be deviations in bright-
different from refined salt from New ness and whiteness from one sheet to
Zealand. Paper is similar. Civilians will another. Unless the job has an incredibly
say, Paper is paper. Isnt it all the low budget, or the quantity is enormous
same? Designers, like a gourmet chef, and paper costs are a large fraction of
know the difference. Paper stocks vary the budget, never scrimp on paper.
in tone and surface. They range from The end product may be slightly more
sheets made of 100 percent post- expensive, but will be infinitely more
consumer waste to very little recycled successful and the client will be pleased.
material. Cheap paper will be, yes, less Alternatively, the client might save
expensive, but the resulting product will some money, hate the final product, and
never match a higher-quality paper. A the designer will be fired. SA

318 Production and Print

Thou shall
know where
the glue
sections are
and make sure
that they are
ink free

Commentary Do you know what glue the seams. Mail pieces might need
likes to stick to? Paper. Do you know to ultimately close on an open page
what glue doesnt like to stick to? Ink. or envelope, with complicated folds,
It seems like it should be simple enough making it a simple step for the end user.
to keep the two apart. However, the That means that the areas where glue
glue area on most pieces and products will go down in the production process,
falls on the inside of a fold, requiring as well as those where the user may
that there be a bleed so that the design place it, need to be well thought
can be seen in full and the package out and marked early on. Once that
can sport a finished look, rather than happens, be sure to take extra care
awkward paper stock peeking out at to keep them clear. JF

Production and Print 319

Thou shall
understand when
to use different
binding techniques
Commentary There are a number wholly inappropriate. Firstly, you
of different commercial binding dont have enough pages for the cover
techniques that offer varying aesthetic to physically work (the thickness of the
qualities and practical applications. pages when collated is too thin to allow
Which technique is best for your the binding to be built.) Secondly,
project depends upon specifications even if it were possible, the cost would
such as page extent and format. For be prohibitive; case binding is a much
example, an A4 40-page concert more expensive process to employ.
program can either be stitched to So you not only need to consider the
wires or perfect bound (glued pages suitability of the binding to the project
into the cover). The use of case binding but also the cost implications. PD
for a hardcover book, where the pages
are collated in sections and held in
place by use of an endpaper, would be

320 Production and Print

Thou shall not saddle-stitch
an extent more than 96 pages

Commentary Saddle stitching is an most popular way to bind magazines

alternative term for wire stitching or or brochures because its the cheapest
simply stapling. The staples used for and is also much quicker than other
saddle stitching are different to those binding procedures. However, there is
you use in the office-style stapler you one important restrictionit can only
have sitting on your own desk. Theyre handle a limited number of pages. If
longer and are made from a rounder a publications extent goes beyond the
profile wire, usually in stainless steel 96 page mark, an alternative method
to prevent rusting, which is fed from a will be required. Once again the weight
roll rather than a clip. Its called saddle of the paper stock must also be taken
stitching because printed sections are into account, not only because of page
placed over an inverted V, like a sharp extent, but also to account for the
saddle, prior to being stitched together unavoidable creep (see Rule #302)
on the bindery production line. Its the which will occur. TS

Production and Print 321

Thou shall ensure layout
allows for creep at
trim and spine
when binding

Commentary Creep? And no, were not also any items dangerously close to the
talking Radiohead here. When a book or trim edge could be cut off. Similarly, one
brochures pages are folded together must be wary of the binding mechanism
or collated into sections prior to being specified, as some techniques use up
bound, and as the pages are stacked more of the gutter of the page than
together and increase in number, the others. An example is perfect binding,
gauge of the paper forces the inner where up to 5mm of the gutter margin
sheets out until they are sitting proud on the page can be lost. When deciding
of the outer sheet. The result when on your layout and working out the
trimmed: the inners outer margins will margins, consider the page extent and
be thinner than the outers. Not only the binding so that you can counteract
will this be unpleasant on the eye but that dreaded creep! PD

322 Production and Print

Thou shall use
matte and gloss

Commentary Lamination is the most decision? Gloss lamination doesnt mark

popular technique used for finishing so easily and makes printed colors
the covers of books, brochures, and really pop off the page, so if youve got
magazines. It provides additional a gardening magazine or a book about
stiffness to the chosen paper stock and color photography, gloss lamination
it helps to protect the printed cover would work really well. Alternatively,
from dirt and marks. Lamination can be matte lamination feels contemporary
applied in the form of a film, which is so would work well on a cool fashion
glued to the stock by passing it through magazine, and its very popular for
a heated roller, or by the application of quality fiction. The one thing to make
a polymer resin which solidifies when clear is gloss shouldnt automatically
exposed to UV light. Its broadly equate to high style and wealth, as in
categorized as either matte or gloss, a glossy magazine. This concept is
but which should one use and what outmoded. TS
criteria should be applied to the

Production and Print 323

Thou shall learn the difference
between embossing and

Commentary This is always a fun before specifying one finish or the

question to ask any designer Theres other. The correct definition is that
a good chance the answer will be embossing is where an area of paper
something along the lines of, Yeah, or board is raised above the surface so
embossing is when the surface is it stands out from the background, and
pushed up andno, hang on a debossing is where an area is pressed
minuteits when the design is pushed into the surface to create an indenta-
into the surface andumerrbear tion. Both techniques require the use
with me while I look that up. I usually of a precast die, effectively an ink-free
forget which is which because printing block, which is applied to the
debossing is also occasionally referred surface under pressure to create the
to as embossing, not to mention blind shape. So there you have it . . . At least
stamping, so I always have to check I think thats it. Id better check. TS

324 Production and Print

Thou shall press for H&T bands
when a hardcover is specified

Commentary H&T bands (head and attractive feature. What I love about
tail) bands are the decorative addition them is they really finish a book off,
at the top and bottom of the spine and its these little details that provide
when a hardcover book is bound. A beauty and longevity to a books
small strip of cloth with either a solid lifespan. They remind me of the
color or patterned, they are a small traditions of bookbindings past and
detail but one with a big impact. In add a colorful finishing touch to the
the past, they were an intrinsic part of end design. It may be that the budget
the binding process as the pages to be doesnt allow for them but if you dont
held together were sewn to this cloth ask you dont get, so do always ask! PD
strip. These days, H&T bands do not
contribute to the integrity of the
binding but are retained as an

Production and Print 325

Thou shall always think
about small details that
create a big impact

Commentary One of the drawbacks communication is digital, a physical

of the computer is its inability to object is more important. The extra
simulate special details. Gold foil, consideration of the feel of engraved
embossing, engraving, and die cuts exist typography begs the holder to caress
in the three-dimensional world. As most the business card. These small details
work is done on a computer screen, it is may be more expensive to produce than
easy to forget these small details. But traditional offset printing, but their
it is these details that create impact. impact, however, cannot be overstated.
A book cover embossed with a gold Creating an artifact that will be kept
foil sparks an emotional response and because it has that little extra is true
transforms the ordinary into something sustainable design. SA
treasured. Engraved business cards may
seem old fashioned and unnecessary.
But in a world where most

326 Production and Print

Thou shall not
specify predictable
white endpapers

Commentary Being predictable Endpapers can be printed. As long as

is good for long-term relationships. the paper stock has the correct content
Marriages with one partner who is and will remain glued to the book
loonier than a March Hare with wildly board, anything is open. The endpaper
shifting emotions are hard to maintain. serves in the construction of a book.
Predictability is good for cars. It is nice The endpaper, though, is like a theater
to know that the Honda will not break curtain. Blank white theater curtains
down in the middle of an intersection. are dull. These send the message
Predictability in endpapers, however, that the play about to be seen is not
is sad. An expected white endpaper particularly exceptional. Or the theater
in a book is dull and the loss of an is incredibly cheap and doesnt care
opportunity. Endpapers can be made about the viewers experience. White
with a variety of colors and textures. endpapers are exactly the same. SA

Production and Print 327

Thou shall clean up
the pasteboard before
sending a job to
the printer

Commentary This isnt a case of being be a linked text box that, if moved
overly fastidious with ones artwork or deleted, could cause issues with the
(although one can never be too tidy!). narrative or content. Again, images that
It is a way of ensuring that the artwork are still sitting on the pasteboard will
handed over to your printer is not only get packaged up in the final artwork
precise and cleaned up but has no when there is no need, possibly creating
additional elements contained within additional work for the printer if they
that could cause errors or faults with are working on image files. The artwork
the printing. Examples could be a lone is your responsibility, so keep it clean
text box that may have a text wrap and precise. PD
applied. This could cause issues if
accidentally moved onto the layout
from the pasteboard. Another could

328 Production and Print

Thou shall
check that
CMYK colors
are not set to
print as spot

Commentary Ive encountered highlight the color and switch the

situations where artwork set up by color to CMYK. Not doing so can cause
a third party has contained many color- confusion and possibly incur costs if a
coded sections. However, not all the printer has to adjust your files. If you
colors were CMYK (when they should are supplying PDF artwork, and the
have been) but spot colors. So a problem has not been spotted prior to
CMYK print job is set up to print with a digital proof stage, they will provide
over 30 spot colorsan impossible an inaccurate presentation of your
specification! The problem is easy to artwork. Although most printers will
fix and checking that colors are CMYK alert you to the fact the artwork has
should always be added to your not been set up correctly, save them
checklist as you finalize the artwork. the trouble and get it right yourself by
In InDesign its a quick action to checking first. PD

Production and Print 329

Thou shall learn about different
finishing techniques

Commentary A printed object is a create a gatefold. A letterhead can be

three-dimensional form. Just because trimmed with rounded corners. When
Adobe InDesign displays standard appropriate, add scratch and sniff. This
double pages on a spread, does not might be more difficult to sell to the
mean that this is the only format. Paper client if its a pet company, but perfect
can be cut, perforated, folded in unique for a florist or candy store. Remember,
ways, and trimmed to unexpected the page, book, or poster is a piece of
shapes. A business card can be oval, sculpture. It can be flat or as complex
die-cut, or folded. A publication can as origami. Unless you are aware of the
have a cover that only extends to the possibilities, your work will remain
middle of the first page, or folds over to flatno pun intended. SA

330 Production and Print

Thou shall consider
effectiveness against cost for
special finishing techniques

Commentary I mentioned earlier on (one that has everything, including

that, with certain projects, production said utility). The addition of needless
and print considerations can play an print processes does little to actually
important part in the overall concept. increase the designs effectiveness or
For example, two colors may be its tactile qualities. If anything, it can
selected for the way they work often dilute or hinder the design, while
together to produce a communicative definitely costing more to produce.
result. The use of a foil block, a deboss, I would always balance the intent
or a special color can also add real and ambition of the project against
value to what you are trying to say; if the target audience and the budget.
this facilitates effective communication, Youll find that the specification will
then go for it. However, there is always be refined through consideration and
a risk of creating kitchen sink design a better end design will result. PD

Production and Print 331

Thou shall learn about PDF/X
standards for artwork delivery

Commentary Youll have noticed the PDF file to match certain criteria such
various PDF/X options under the Adobe as compression, color conversion for
PDF Presets menu in InDesign, but output, transparency flattening, and so
what do they mean? The first thing to on. If you attempt to export a PDF/X
explain is that PDF/X isnt some kind file with incorrect settings, a warning
of alternative file format, but more a triangle will alert you to any problems.
subset of the Adobe PDF specification. The PDF/X-1a:2001 preset is getting on
The idea behind PDF/X was to create a bit and is less useful because it doesnt
a standard specification for PDF export support a color managed workflow, so
which would help to eliminate common PDF/X-3:2003 and PDF/X-4:2008 are
mistakes like missing fonts or images, preferable when set against current
and encourage the implementation of a industry standards for both offset
properly managed color workflow. Put printing and digital output. TS
simply, each PDF/X standard requires a

332 Production and Print

Thou shall
not pretend
to know more
about printing
than your
Commentary Everyone knows use plumbing, and drive your car,
someone that hovers over the far more often than you purchase
plumber when he comes to fix a leak, printing. It doesnt make you a plumber
questioning every turn of the wrench or a mechanic, and it surely doesnt
and boring the poor fellow with tales make you a printer. Hire people
of their own water battles, while he knowledgeable in their field, be
is trapped under the sink. That same informed enough to express your
person questions every car repair, expectations for the job. Then, let them
wasting the time of all involved by do what they do best, just as you hope
debating knocks and pings and the cost your clients will interact with you. JF
of parts, until the mechanics veins are
bulging out of their forehead. Dont be
that person. If you are a designer, you

Production and Print 333


Thou shall not accept what a

printer tells you is possible
without solid proof
Commentary Im very fortunate to perseverance goes a long way.
work with some brilliant printers whose A situation may occur in which you
expertise and diligence make them want to make an adjustment to the
invaluable collaborators. However, there artwork to improve its appearance but
have been many occasions when the you are told by the printer that it is not
supplier has been chosen for me by possible. Dont take no for an answer:
the client. Usually, this relationship ask them to explain why and request
is professional and productive, but, some kind of proof. Only when you are
because you are not holding the purse- satisfied it cant be done should you
strings, it can be a challenge to get look at alternatives. Rememberif you
the best results. Even though both are insistent, you may often find it can
parties are working toward the same be done. PD
objectivekeeping the client happy
the designer and printer may not share
the same priorities. This is where a little

334 Production and Print

Thou shall
understand the
strengths and
of different
Commentary Every good team is an this way, to suit your various needs. In
assembly of specialists (even if your order to do so, you need to understand
specialty is being serviceable in several the nuances of the printing processes
roles), whether it is in professional they specialize in. For each project,
sports, a Broadway production, or your think about what you want to
very own agency/studio. Some team accomplish and choose the process that
members might be there to provide works best. Do you need lithography,
the big glory moments, while others do screen printing, embossing, thermo-
the dirty work, while others still provide graphy, etchingthe answer is very
micro specialties, the very best at a different if you are printing a t-shirt
specific task. When buying printing, it is versus an annual report, or a business
a good idea to think of your vendors in card versus the side of a bus. JF

Production and Print 335

The Practice
of Design
Thou shall think of the idea
before the visual

Commentary What do you do when the blocks without spending any time
you first sit down with a fresh design thinking about the idea. This isnt a
brief and a blank piece of paper (or great way to work because all your
perhaps a blank screenmore on creative energy is immediately going to
this later)? Do you get stuck in with be focused on creating a visual around
designing the grid and thinking about something which might not be the best
what typeface to use, or do you scribble solution to that brief, and an idea isnt
away in a layout pad for a while to get about typefaces and grids. The visual
the ideas flowing? I would strongly exists to present and support the idea
urge you to go for the latter option and if the idea isnt the best, the visual
every time. All too often, it seems, wont be the best either, despite all
designers sit in front of a computer your efforts. Reclaim the humble pencil
and start on a visual straight out of and get sketching. TS

The Practice of Design 337

Thou shall not
turn to design
annuals for

Commentary I have to be careful here come up with that remotely resemble

as I dont want anyone to think Im out the annuals content. Thats a pretty
to dismiss design annuals. I love design frustrating position to find yourself in
annuals and as I type this Im sitting because theres no shame in coming
with my back to a groaning shelf-full of up with a good idea under your own
the said items. However, the last thing steam, then finding something similar
I do when Im trying to come up with after the event. Its a common adage
a new idea to answer a design brief is that there are no new ideas left, which
reach for one of them. The problem I dont believe is totally true but the
with design annuals is theyre full of saying does carry some weight. Try to
great ideas that other people have look elsewhere first for your inspiration
already had. Everything you look at will before checking out the ideas that have
immediately discount any ideas you gone before. TS

338 The Practice of Design

Thou shall read books that are
not about design

Commentary The dullest people are informative. A book on quantum

those who can only discuss one subject. physics may inspire a new way to
Sitting next to the person who talks envision information. Books about
about her doll collection all evening is history can help us rethink proportional
never pleasant. Dull people tend to have systems. A fiction book may be written
limited life experience, or they are in a minimal way and teach us to
genetically predisposed to being boring. communicate more succinctly.
Designers who only read design books Most importantly, books force us
and publications may be well versed to question, have introspection, and
in multiple design ideas and noted reconsider our lives. If we are true
designers, but like the doll collector, creative people, this is not a simple,
dull. Design is about ideas. Almost nice addition to our process; it is
any subject aside from design can be the core of a good process. SA

The Practice of Design 339

Thou shall not rely solely
on Google
for research

Commentary Google is a wonderful Some of these may be well researched

tool to search for a good local Chinese and correct, others may be completely
restaurant, 18th-century Virginia fictional. This search, however, will
history, and software tips. Google is a lead only to Beaton. Scanning books
poor substitute for actual scholarly on the shelf of the library will result in
research. Libraries are a better accidentally stumbling on Irving Penn,
resource. A well-trained librarian Ansel Adams, or a multitude of other
is a human Google. He or she can help photographers previously unknown.
direct a designer to the correct area of Research is compiling verifiable
interest. Searching for information on data from multiple credible sources.
Google is like wearing horse-blinders. A website about Beaton created by
For example, a search for Cecil Beaton a fifteen year old for a high school
will lead to multiple sites about Beaton. project is none of these things. SA

340 The Practice of Design

Thou shall not
knowingly plagiarize

Commentary The term what goes that end result has been lifted in a
around, comes around can often be moment. So design for the brief and
applied to our industry. Visual trends create your own ideasthats the
are created and followed, only to be challenge of what we do and where
replaced with a new theme a short the enjoyment comes from. Its being
time later. When these trends arise original that counts and this is what
there is a chance that, with designers makes the successful designers stand
taking the same approach, work of out from the pack. Be honest and you
a similar concept or appearance will will take greater satisfaction in what
occur. It stands to reason. On a few you doyour work will be appreciated
occasions Ive had my ideas and work more because it is original! PD
copied; while flattering (for a brief
moment), it is also frustrating because
all the effort you undertook to get to

The Practice of Design 341

Thou shall insist
on a written
brief for every

Commentary John the designer is Two weeks later John arrives to

looking forward to working with his present his concept for the brochure.
new client and arrives in good time for Trevor looks over the visuals, turns to
the briefing. Good to meet you, says John and says, Oh dear, this approach
Trevor the client. Ive looked at your really isnt what we had in mind. Sorry,
website and love your workits so John, but Im afraid youll have to start
our kind of thing. What do you have all over again and not get paid any
in mind for your brochure? asks John. extra money. But... says John. No
Oh, we want you to decide as your buts, John. Its that or well have to look
work is so our kind of thing, says elsewhere, says Trevor. The moral of
Trevor. Id really prefer some direction this sad talealways get a written
from you first so I know Im on the brief. The end. TS
right track, says John. No need,
says Trevor. We love everything on
your website. WellOK, says John.

342 The Practice of Design

Thou shall ask
322/323 Thou shall confirm
clients questions in all deliverables in
addition to the brief writing
Commentary That written brief is a Commentary If you are working for
real plus at the start of any project, but a client who has commissioned graphic
more often than not it can throw up designers before, the protocols and
more questions than answers. These division of responsibilities are likely
can be many and varied but dont be to be well understood. But when you
afraid to ask themjust dont ask receive a new brief, it is vital that you
questions that are answered in the put in writing what you will deliver and
written brief already! What you by when. Ive often gone into a briefing
will achieve by asking questions is meeting with clients who discuss the
to tighten up the brief, which will project with me as if I have a prior
invariably help focus the clients mind knowledge of whats needed. Of course,
and allow them to make decisions they have been discussing and planning
about the design, management, and the brief for weeks, maybe months, so
production of the product. I often a key task is to go back to the start
receive briefs verbally and take notes and establish exactly what they require.
but again, there is always a need to ask Get the deliverables established and
further questions of the client. The confirm with them in writing what they
obvious is usually stated, such as will receive so their expectations are
schedules and budgets (or sometimes met and there is no disappointment or
not) but questions that often arise may frustration in the relationship. PD
include assignment of responsibilities
between client and designer, budget
structure, and billing terms. PD

The Practice of Design 343

Thou shall agree Thou shall question
on costs in writing a budget if it is
before beginning clearly not enough
each project to answer the brief

Commentary If there is one subject Commentary Despite the fact that

that is going to cause disagreement designers possess a creative side, and
between a client and a designer, its we all enjoy our vocation, it is our job
money. Clients do not like surprises, and we have to make a living from our
especially those of the project has gone efforts. As such, there is no point in
up in cost kind! So, to avoid dispute, working on a project and not getting
confirm the crucial question of how paid enough (or worse, making a loss).
much a project will cost. Whether There will be occasions when a client
working to a fixed fee or a day rate, comes to you with what promises to be
make sure you have it in writing and an exciting project but with little in the
get the clients explicit acknowledgment way of budget and, as you read the brief
of the sum. In addition, if you are or discuss with the client what needs
preparing a quotation, make sure that to be done, it becomes clear that their
all elements of the prospective job expectations exceed their bank balance.
are included: corrections; print Dont be afraid or unwilling to raise the
management, meetings, commissioning issue with themyou are entering into
of photography and illustrations, and a business arrangement and they are
so on. If you cant, then declare on your buying your skills and experience in
quotation that certain aspects of the order to achieve the desired results.
project are to be confirmed. If the client I find discussing options and differing
understands what they are paying for formats will often deliver a solution that
from the outset, then all will be well. PD works for both parties. PD

344 The Practice of Design

Thou shall not try to do
everything yourself at
the expense of a project

Commentary If youre a freelancer troublesome little thought that

working for yourself, this rule doesnt someone elses mistake might come
really apply to you so please skip to the back to bite you compels you to try
next page. If you work in a design to take responsibility for everything
management role or indeed as any part yourself. This attitude can do far more
of a team, then please read on. This rule harm than good to a project and is
shouldnt be confused with Rule #245, unlikely to produce a better result. Its
which concerns commissioning. This more likely to produce weaknesses in
one is more about being prepared to the areas you couldnt give 100% to
relinquish control over aspects of a and make you look like an idiot. If you
project that other people can handle as learn to put your trust in others, theyll
well as or better than you. Delegation respond positively and generously. TS
of responsibility can be a lot harder
than you might think, probably because
in the back of your mind the

The Practice of Design 345

Thou shall accept Thou shall accept
that every project that every project
will probably be will take longer than
more difficult than you expected
you expected
Commentary Designers have a Commentary I would really like to
tendency to challenge themselves. write more about why every project
We dont want to do the same project you ever work on will take longer
repeatedly and once we become than you think, but unfortunately my
proficient in one area, we want to deadline for the submission of this
venture into new territory. Therefore, text has passed and Ive run out of
almost every project will be more time. I was sure I had another week
challenging than expected. Even the to go before I had to hand this in. Oh
simplest projects tempt us to rethink welljust goes to show, doesnt it! TS
and reimagine possibilities. If a person
wanted to repeat projects without
challenging themselves it would be
preferable to take on a career in a
poultry factory. The downside of the
designers need to challenge themself
is time. Rarely does a project have too
much time. A designer will work on
something until it is dragged from his
or her hands. A good rule of thumb is to
honestly calculate how long it will take
to do a project, then triple it. SA

346 The Practice of Design

Thou shall
dress for work
according to
your clients or
your employers

Commentary It is a mistake to directions. If a client is formal, and

believe you are dressing to express your it is traditional in his office to wear
creativity and that these choices only something less casual, follow suit.
reflect on you. We dress to show our Shorts and flip flop sandals are a not-
respect for those around us. If we are so-subtle way of saying, F*%# you.
meeting with a group of friends at the But if a client is casual and takes pride
local tiki bar, it is reasonable to dress in her relaxed atmosphere, it is a
for the occasion to fit in with the group. mistake to wear a suit. The questions
Wearing a giant teddy bear suit will to be asked when confused are these,
make most friends uncomfortable. What will make my client feel that
The same is true when meeting clients, I took the time to present myself in
or working at the studio. The clothes the best way? And what will create
reflect the respect shown to the client a comfortable situation for myself
or employer. This works in both and others? SA

The Practice of Design 347

Thou shall not present
an option you dont want
your client to choose because
theyll choose it
A. C.

B. D.

Commentary It is an old maxim to the specific solution. The answer may

never show a client a design you dislike. be extremely valid. You, as a designer,
They will choose it, and you will be will have a better solution. But, never
unhappy. It is a designers job to solve ignore the client and refuse to explore
the problem and create the best their solution. Everyone wants to feel
possible solution. Showing an important and valued. Nobody wants
unsuccessful solution is a disservice to to be ignored and treated as an idiot
the client and to you. Alternatively, if a because they dont understand design.
client asks for a specific solution, do not Explore the suggested solution, and
ignore this. There is a reason for the return with this and a better option.
request. Few people are simply mad Explain why one solution is more
and willy-nilly asking for wild ideas. successful, not in design terms, but
Stop and ask, not how to visually solve with an eye on the desired result of
the problem, but why he or she wants the project. SA

348 The Practice of Design

Thou shall be nice to
colleagues working above

and below you as

things can change
Commentary In Hollywood, there is a needed if you havent abused them, or
long-standing saying, The ass you kick threatened to harm them in their sleep.
on the way up, is the one you kiss on This is especially true for well-known
the way down. If you are selfish, self- designers. If you find yourself courted
centered, and a sociopath, this saying by the design media, and climbing the
alone should appeal to your sense of ladder of fame, never believe your own
survival. If you are not a sociopath, press. You are not the best thing since
you probably believe that most people sliced bread was invented. The people
should be treated with respect and you look down upon and treat badly
kindness. It is easier to work with will remember these slights. They will
others when there is a feeling of tell their friends, who will tell their
common congeniality. Others are more friends, and soon you will be a global
likely to offer help and support when pariah. SA

The Practice of Design 349

Thou shall not
present reams
of written
research with
a proposal just
to impress
the client

Commentary The teenager paces the 15 minutes are taken up with a

kitchen, telling her parents all about the bold discourse on how the color of an
new safety studies, referencing quotes automobile reflects on its owner. By the
from other neighborhood parents, citing time the kid is going on about how if
peer considerations, pulling out charts this car were an animal, it would be . . .
on mileage and fuel economy. Soon the couple finally raise their hands and
reams of information seems to be flying plead for mercy. If you want us to buy
at them as she piles high automotive you this car, just ask, they sputter out.
magazines and consumer publications; A solid idea only requires a little bit of
it is getting to be a bit much to take in. explanation. You are not impressing
The plot seems to be firmly lost when your client, only boring them. JF

350 The Practice of Design

Thou shall not
present mood
boards unless
even then,
under protest

Commentary This industry has a lot project should be headed. If you

of dirty little secrets, and one of them read that last line, you will realize
is that certain agencies charge a lot of where the issue is. These are internal
money to their clients for the pleasure tools based on researching competing
of cutting up magazines and printing brands and the tastes of potential
out images from the web to collage as users/viewers. They arent effective
if they were decorating their teenage as a communication between creative
school lockers. Originally conceived to and client, because your client should
provide inspiration by assembling the already know all of this like the back
types of images, patterns, colors, and of their hand. If they dont, and request
various items that a project should these, you might have a bigger issue
aspire to, they have degenerated into on your hands than where to find
messy piles that serve as a bridge for images of sunny teens that are
clients that cant see where the smart and stylish. JF

The Practice of Design 351


Thou shall not work for free

Commentary As designers, we enjoy client approaches a designer and asks
what we do. We mistakenly believe for free work, other vendors are being
anyone could do our job. This is because paid. The printer, caterer, staff, and
we have a rare talent and cannot delivery services may all be charging
imagine everyone else doesnt. It comes fees. As a designer, it is assumed that
so easily that it seems ridiculous that this is the easy job, and can be done
the person next to you at a movie in five minutes. Compensation must
couldnt tell the difference between take place for the client to value the
Garamond and Bembo. Consequently, work and respect the designer. This
we give our skills away and devalue compensation can be in the form of
the profession and ourselves. There cash, goods, or recognition. But no job
has never been a client with too much should ever be completed simply out of
time and too much money. There are kindness without payment. If you are
hundreds of important causes that need moved to do this, stop and volunteer
support. But often, when a nonprofit for the Red Cross. SA

352 The Practice of Design

Thou shall invoice
335/336 Thou shall not
regularly and on accept assignments
time purely for the money
Commentary One of the hardest Commentary For some reason it is a
aspects of running a design business certainty that accepting an assignment
is the business. Invoicing regularly and only for financial reward will go horribly
on time is more important than any awry. There may be no logical reason for
other aspect of the business. It may this. Perhaps it is the dislike and distaste
be tempting to spend another hour felt for the project reflected in its
refining the typography on a poster, but solution. Or this is simply Gods way of
invoicing must come first. It is a basic saying, Do what you love. In addition
in business to work with clients who to the immediate bad outcome, the bad
pay their bills, and to invoice on a project taken for money value alone will
regular basis to manage cash flow. lead to other similar projects. Good
Some design firms invoice regularly people with good projects know other
once a month, but the most successful good people with good projects. If the
invoice weekly or daily. If a project issue is money alone, design is a bad
is lagging, invoice a progress billing. choice of a profession. If doing some-
Always invoice at the completion of thing hateful and only caring about
each phase. Invoice outside costs cash is a goal, there are many other
immediately, even if this is a bill for professions that accommodate this
those alone. Maintaining cash flow is desire. Life is too short. A bus may hit
job one. Invoicing on an irregular basis you. No designer should spend his or
or late creates an atmosphere where her final moments before crossing the
mistakes occur and the client will street, working on a hateful project with
perceive the design firm as amateur. SA a disrespectful client. SA

The Practice of Design 353

Thou shall take days
offespecially if
youre a freelancer

Commentary A wise older designer Passion about design is important.

once gave the sage advice, Never work Exploration and refinement take time.
on Sunday. The point here is not a But design will expand to fill all time
religious issue but rather a sanity issue. available. If a project has a deadline
As a creative person, it is important in 15 minutes, the project will take
to remember that downtime is as crucial 14 minutes. That same project, with a
and productive as working time. Taking two-week deadline will take two weeks.
time away from design provides an Unless you are doing brain surgery
opportunity to clear the head and think and the patient is moments from
of new ideas. At the least, time away death, you can take one day away
from design promotes a balanced life. from your work. SA

354 The Practice of Design

Thou shall learn the rules
before you break them

Commentary Many people have looked plying his craft in the accepted ways,
upon a vintage Picasso and scoffed until he was able to replicate nearly
with thoughts that they too could paint any image with lifelike efficiency. He
figures with pinched heads and wildly understood every nuance about how
extended arms emanating from boxy the human body was formed. He knew
shoulders. None of them are familiar the rules and he knew them well. It was
with his near photographic early this understanding that made it so
paintings, or else they would quickly groundbreaking when he discarded
realize that they might be able to make them, manipulating parts and pieces
a rough approximation of the style he as they never had before. His solid base
is best known for, but they would never allowed his creativity to unleash itself
have arrived at it on their own. Therein in the most impactful areas, forever
lies the difference. Picasso spent years changing the world of art. JF

The Practice of Design 355

Thou shall sorry! sorry!
sorry! sorry!
sorry! sorry!
sorry! sorry!
acknowledge sorry! sorry! sorry! sorry!
sorry! sorry! sorry! sorry!
your mistakes sorry! sorry! sorry! sorry!
rather than sorry! sorry!
sorry! sorry!
sorry! sorry!
sorry! sorry!
try to cover sorry! sorry! sorry! sorry!
sorry! sorry! sorry! sorry!
them up sorry! sorry! sorry! sorry!
sorry! sorry! sorry! sorry!
sorry! sorry! sorry! sorry!

Commentary It takes a very come clean with your boss/client/

mature person to accomplish this. I vendor, the sooner you can limit the
know I struggled with this early in my impact, or better yet, rectify the issues
career. Couldnt I figure out a way to fix created. Everyone involved will respect
this without anyone noticing? Make it that you came to them right away (as
up to the client, or coworker, in some they recall their own mistakes in the
other way? I didnt want to disappoint past) and appreciate the opportunity
anyone, or admit to myself that I was to try to fix them as soon as is possible.
failing in some way. I soon realized that Grown-ups make mistakes. They also fix
the best thing to do when you make them. Its part of being a grown-up. JF
an error, and we all make mistakes,
so dont pretend otherwise, was to
be honest about it. The sooner you

356 The Practice of Design

Thou shall not ask
340/341 Thou shall find a
someone else to do design mentor (and
what you can do be prepared to be
yourself one in the future)

Commentary Smart people surround Commentary If you havent figured

themselves with smarter people. out by this point in the book that the
Teamwork is important. Learning to world of design is filled with secrets,
delegate tasks to someone better is there is not much else we can do to
a key to success. There is a difference, help you. Well, I take that back, we
however, between collaboration and can give you an important piece of
servitude. Limited people find advice, one that will lead to a lifetime
exceptionally dumb people and of guidance. Find someone who has
gracelessly force them to do menial been through the battlefield already
tasks. If a task can be done well and form a trusted and cherished
personally, then do it. If you are professional friendship. Finding
capable of pouring a cup of coffee, a mentor can take a natural path,
then dont ask the designer across where you encounter someone more
from you to fetch it. If you have the experienced and begin to ask them
time and ability to call a messenger, questions that grow into a tighter
do it. It may seem fun and give you bond, or you can search out others
great satisfaction that you are the lord via networking or professional
of the office, but this will only lead to organizations whose work you respect
dissatisfied and angry coworkers. and begin a conversation. Ask as many
Eventually, they will turn on you. SA questions as they can stand, but be
prepared to fill the same role for a
young designer in the future. JF

The Practice of Design 357

Thou shall remain Thou shall respect
humble in your work focus groups, but
NOT at the expense
of gut feeling

Commentary There is nothing worse Commentary Focus groups have

than being trapped with a mediocre found their way into a bad reputation, in
and self-satisfied designer. He or she some ways justifiably, as they have been
is the type of person who will talk abused over the years. Having said that,
endlessly about his or her vast success there is a lot of value to be gleaned from
and experience. By the end of the direct feedback from potential users. If
conversation, you will know their entire a focus group is selected properly, it can
rsum in detail. You will understand be vital to shaping how a product or
that they are the most accomplished brand can be positioned. Creatives are
person on earth. The clear subtext in quick to chafe at the feedback delivered
the conversation is that you are a loser from these exercises, but take the time
in comparison. Every single person on and digest the comments. There can be
the planet wants to feel important and important information in there, and,
valued. Charm is the ability to make the if nothing else, respect the time and
other person feel respected. Humility is money put into the process on the client
a virtue. Humility is not self hate. It is side. Now that we have gone through
the understanding that every person all of that, lets talk about the nagging
has value, and is needed and loved by feeling that lies deep inside us when we
others. This does not make you lesser. know we are on the right track. If your
Reinforcing the positive aspects in gut is screaming out to stay the course,
others makes you genuine. SA dont let an unconvinced pool of people
derail you. JF

358 The Practice of Design

Thou shall not quantify
your creative abilities
with software skills

Commentary Maybe its an inevitable potential employers would equally

by-product of the digitalization of the assume I could do those things and I
design industry, but the average was hoping theyd be more interested
designers rsum looks quite different in my ideas anyway. Fast forward to
these days. Im venturing into angry today, and many rsum include such
old man territory here but when I first a long list of software skills they begin
put a rsum together I didnt include to resemble a catalog for a computer
a whole paragraph of stuff along the retailer. Knowing how to use InDesign
lines of . . . is no indication that youre a good
c I can paste up artwork designer, so to be honest the informa-
c I can draw really straight lines with tion isnt particularly relevant, and
a Rotring pen besides, people will take it for granted
c I know how to blend Magic Markers you can use InDesign because youre
with lighter fluid a designer. It says so at the top of the
. . . and so on. I kind of assumed that rsum youve just handed over. TS

The Practice of Design 359

Thou shall
rest your eyes
the day

Commentary The great designer Alvin then ignore you and create a chaotic
Lustig slowly lost his sight at the end mess with dark tones, but still tell you,
of his life. Nevertheless, he continued the poster is yellow with a beach ball.
working, directing others to complete To combat this scenario, it is critical to
an idea. Being Alvin Lustig, it is fairly rest your eyes. Stop, at the least, every
certain that his assistants followed his 20 minutes, and focus on a distant spot,
direction, using red, or Clarendon, or or take a walk around the office. When
whatever he suggested. Many of us the computer screen begins to seem
may not have the same command of blurry and dark, you have exceeded
others. If you were to lose your sight, your viewing allotment. SA
you may request your assistant to use
a yellow background and singular
image of a beachball. He or she may

360 The Practice of Design

Thou shall
work with
writers, and
Commentary The single most People in all of these areas have
important thing I have learned in my shown the ability to make my projects
years doing this is to hire amazing a thousand times better than they ever
people and let them do what they could have been in my hands alone.
do best. I might be able to write, but Fight (and plan) for the budget to bring
I cant write on every subject and in on the best, remembering how they
every tone. I might be proficient with lighten your own load, and prepare to
a camera, but others are so much bask in the accolades that an incredible
sharper and creative behind the lens. piece will bring you. JF
I know my way around a pen, pencil,
and paintbrush, but incredible
illustrators inspire me at every turn.

The Practice of Design 361

Thou shall hire a Thou shall build
good accountant a team that
and save more than complements, not
you spend duplicates, your
Commentary It is not uncommon to Commentary Like a straw hat-sporting
hear a nondesigner ask, I designed my barbershop quartet, there is no need for
own logo and business card. What do everyone to sing bass. Surrounding
you think? What can you say? Its yourself with a bevy of people that
hideous. Youre a sap. Are you brain- think and act just like you can be more
dead? Of course not, but it is rare the than counterproductive, it can be
result is anything more than sad. The downright creepy, like a science fiction
designer who says, I dont need an movie filled with clones moving silently
accountant. I know how to do this, is in concert with one another. In practice,
just as stupid. Designers enjoy breaking it narrows the possibilities of how you
rules and play loosely with facts. These approach creative problem solving and
are not good traits in an accountant. the diverse backgrounds and mindsets
Therefore, hiring a good accountant is that you bring to your work. The
a priority. And like hiring a designer, the chances that all of your clients are
accountant who charges a ludicrously exactly like you as well seems remote
small amount will probably not provide at best, so a team with some range
the best result. As a rule, always hire comes in handy at every turn. Of
an accountant more expensive that you course, we still need to be able to work
believe you should. The result will be together and bond quickly, so be careful
positive and you will save money. SA to build your team with complementary
skills, not divergent mentalities. JF

362 The Practice of Design


Thou shall not be afraid to

share ideas and collaborate
Commentary Keeping your ideas client tells you its great and theyd now
close to your chest is understandable like to roll out the concept to their new
if an original idea represents the website. Oh noyoure a print designer
difference between you gaining or and dont do websites. Its time to go
losing a lucrative contract. If youre see the web designer that rents the
pitching against other designers (and office across the hall. The original
not for free, I hope) the last thing concept is yours but whats to stop you
youre going to do is turn up at the collaborating with another designer
meeting and say to your rivals, Hey with different skills to ensure you keep
guys, do you want to see what I came that contract? Its a good idea to have
up with? However, there are times paperwork in place defining how a
when sharing ideas will win rather than project splits before you start, but
lose you those contracts. For example, collaborative working is nothing to
youve designed a brochure and your be scared of. TS

The Practice of Design 363

Thou shall get client
approval on a visual
before racing to
finish a project

Commentary Deadline, deadline, making me stressed. Wait, thats it! A

deadline, I am haunted by this deadline. photo of a water drop would be perfect.
Balancing numerous projects is the Inspiration just before the final cut off.
hardest part of my job. The second I just need to swap out this illustration
hardest is figuring out this layout. of a hose and then package my files
Something just isnt working and I have and send them off to the printer and
been putting in long hours trying to wait for my client to be surprised and
bring it to a resolution. With the minutes be on the hook for the fees to change
ticking away, I am quickly running out of it back and possibly fire me. Oh, right,
time to fix what is bedeviling my project. I should always get approval before
What was that hitting my keyboard? A finalizing a job, no matter how tight
drop of sweat? This deadline really is the deadline. JF

364 The Practice of Design

Thou shall not demonize
another designer because
you dont happen to
like his or her work

Commentary Put things in perspective. like does not set him at the same level.
As important as we say design is to The best designers are those who
society, it is, after all, only graphic remain open to new ideas and new
design. A weak solution will not kill ways of working. The worse designers
someone. A bad poster will not bring are close-minded and rigid. These are
about the ruin of western civilization. the designers who wander through a
An incomprehensible logo will not career despising others in their own
deprive your family of a home. Forming peer group, and truly hating younger
an opinion about work, and viewing designers. The tragedy here is the loss
it with a critical eye is good. But of opportunity to learn, grow, and
demonizing a designer who created create friendships. SA
a piece you dislike is foolish. Hating an
evil dictator is a good idea, but hating a
designer who uses a typeface you dont

The Practice of Design 365

Thou shall
not discuss
one clients
with another

Commentary One of the greatest joys about their work at times. Surely
in this business is working with people we should reciprocate. Talking about
that you truly enjoy. Following a taxing someone in the office that annoys you
project, you might find yourself bonding can be precarious enough, as they may
with a client over a shared childhood be assigned to the client at some point.
experience, or some travel mishap, or Complaining about your workload might
pop culture reference. Sooner rather make them think you are overburdened
than later, our favorite clients become and they might need to send some
some of our favorite people, and work elsewhere. And talking about the
therefore, our friends. This means that secrets you are privy to with your other
we feel comfortable talking with them clients is the ultimate sin, surely going
about just about anything, including against your unspoken (or perhaps
what makes up the bulk of our waking written) agreement with said client, and
hourswork. It makes sense; by nature making your other client unsure how
of our relationship, that they talk to us loose you are with their information. JF

366 The Practice of Design

Thou shall not
353/354 Thou shall not
criticize another criticize work
designer in front of previously
a client commissioned from
another designer
Commentary Consider this scenario: Commentary It is tempting to sit in
You need an architect to design your a meeting and complain about previous
house. The first architect tells you how work created for a client. It may be
awful all the other architects are. The true that the solutions are inappropr-
second and third architect does the iate or weak. It may seem that pointing
same. You are left with the sense that out these weaknesses will elevate your
all architects must be untrustworthy position. Unfortunately, you may not
and spiteful. When we criticize another realize that the work created was done
designer to a client, we do the same. in collaboration with the client. You are
We do not persuade the client that saying, without intending to, You really
the other designer is bad, we denigrate dont know what youre doing. Never
the entire profession. The design criticize previous work. Rather than
profession is in a constant battle to be overtly criticizing the work, point out
respected and understood by the some positive aspects. There is a good
business community. There are enough chance that the work may have good
non-designers who berate the points, but doesnt work cohesively
profession. We do not need to attack as a group, or support a new
one another from within. This only communication goal. SA
reinforces the idea that designers are
temperamental, difficult, and have
questionable ethics. SA

The Practice of Design 367

Thou shall never
pretend you know
more about a
clients business
than they do

Commentary A common mistake the museum and understands the

for designers is to believe they are audience and communication needs,
omniscient. What you need, they say, he is ignorant of other issues such as
is a new visual system different from staffing, acquisition, and security. Listen
manufacturing technique. Designers, to your client. Clients typically have
like all other people, are not omniscient. valuable information that informs the
A client will always know his business project. Dont be quick to disregard
better than the designer. A client, for the clients issues and concerns. There
example, may be the director of a may be a critical reason that you do
museum. While the designer has visited not understand. SA

368 The Practice of Design

Thou shall be
available to
your clients at
all times, but
on your terms

Commentary As you sit outside the service industry, requiring access

restaurant, with your meal cooling and to top decision makers, which means
your date turning to a frigid ice maiden, being available virtually at all times.
you listen to your client telling you how Just accept this aspect and move on.
they just are not sure about this orange But now, get your life back. Being
and maybe it needs a little more red, accessible doesnt always mean being
no, yellow, no, the orange is fineyou accessible immediately. Decide what
come to the realization that the line is appropriate and work directly with
between work and the rest of your life your clients to establish this. Let them
has forever blurred, to your detriment. know you coach your kids on Tuesday,
There is little purpose in pretending or that you will call them back in an
that a creative vocation means straight hour when dinner ends, and they will
95 shifts at the office. We are a do the same. JF

The Practice of Design 369

Thou shall actually
talk to your clients
real conversations build
strong relationships

Commentary People hire other people relationship is vital. A long-time client

they like. It is more costly, timewise and is more likely to refer you to another
financially, to find a new client than client. Building this connection happens
growing work from an existing client. through honest communication. Take
A client will work with a designer over the time to have lunch with a client,
time and build a relationship through play golf, invite her to a barbecue.
good work and dialog. Strong These small touches build trust and
relationships built on mutual respect make the difference between being
are more likely to withstand problems. a vendor or a partner. SA
When a project delivers late, a
typesetting error is not caught, or
a check is lost in the post, a strong

370 The Practice of Design


Thou shall not discuss design

with your client unless they
express an interest
Commentary When your car is not and how much it will cost to implement.
working, you take it to the mechanic. Typically, clients do not care about
Once he determines the cause, you want complementary colors, the history
to know briefly what is wrong, how it of Baskerville, or letter-spacing issues.
will be fixed, and how much it will cost. Talk to the client about communication
Unless you are an automobile aficionado issues, audience perception, and desired
you do not care about the type of cam results. It is your job to know the fine
belt, spider gear, shift fork, or slave detail. It is also your job to explain the
cylinder. When a designer discusses a decisions with language pertinent to
solution with a client, he wants to know business concerns rather than design
what the problem is, how it is solved, vernacular. SA

The Practice of Design 371

Thou shall count to ten when
a client angers you before
opening your mouth

Commentary Thomas Jefferson said, reaction. It is more common to look

When angry count to ten before back and wonder why you were so
speaking. When very angry count to mad, than to feel that more anger was
100. As tempting as it is to lash out required. Another question to consider
and attack a client when you have been is whether the problem is about pride.
angered, it is a bad idea. Rarely do we Pride is a bad reason to engage in an
follow logic and give a measured angry episode. People tell themselves
response while enraged. It is not stories in order to survive. Let them,
necessary to answer any question or it costs you little. SA
respond to an accusation immediately.
Counting to ten allows both sides to
step back and hopefully find a rational

372 The Practice of Design

Thou shall not
360/361 Thou shall not
accept your clients continue to work for
word as gospel a difficult client
Commentary Clients only know what Commentary The only people allowed
they already know. They are convinced to shout at you should be your mother
that they need a small brochure and and possibly, if not violent, your spouse.
give that assignment. This is because There is never a reason for a client to
they have only seen a small brochure shout at a designer. At the least, you
and are determined that is the solution. deserve to be treated with respect and
Clients almost always give the wrong professionalism. There are clients who
assignment. It is not the designers job are challenging because they have
to blindly do what she is told. Your job challenging projects. But the clients
is to solve the problem. That solution who are difficult because they are
may be a completely different medium abusive should not be tolerated.
or format. Or the problem may be At best, they will refer you to other
about the identity and not the brochure. heinous and disrespectful clients;
This is as if the client visited a doctor at worst, you will be demoralized
and demanded a breast augmentation; and produce bad work. SA
the doctor may tell her that she has
cancer, but the client would continue
to insist on the augmentation. Stop
and assess the situation. Step back and
consider the bigger issues. Never take a
reactive role and do as commanded. SA

The Practice of Design 373

Thou shall stick to your side of
the projects schedule regardless
of your clients input

Commentary This rule is a bit of a to be reasonable for this to happen.

two-way street because it requires On the other side of the coin, the client
some positive input from both sides of has to accept that not everything
the fence. Creative projects are always is possible, so its acceptable for a
subject to change and as designers we designer to explain why a schedule
all have to accept that its going to or budget might not be met if a large
happen regardless. Because of this, a change is requested. A reasonable
client should, within reason, be made to client will accept this and may decide
feel that they can change their mind if the change isnt as important as they
something strikes them as important first thought. Either way, stick to your
during the execution of a project. own timing so late-running projects
Whatever form that takes, the dont end up impacting on others. TS
challenge for the designer is to still
deliver on time and on budget, and
I say again that changes would have

374 The Practice of Design

Thou shall not

Commentary Procrastination is Now is as good a time as any. It is

one of the most common bad habits much more pleasant and rewarding to
in the world. It seems so much easier tackle a task and complete it well in a
to put off an unpleasant task until timely manner. When you find yourself
tomorrow. The opposite is true. If cleaning your desk for the fifth time
you procrastinate, the task will loom while avoiding the financial paperwork,
larger and larger. It will seem more stop. Get to work on the paperwork.
unpleasant and return to your thoughts Never put off until tomorrow what you
repeatedly. The task will not disappear, can do today. The pressure of guilt and
so why ignore it. The solution is to worry will be gone, and you can engage
simply buckle down and do the task. in more enjoyable tasks. SA

The Practice of Design 375

Thou shall talk about design
as an asset

Commentary We often have trouble, public, but also to clients. Boardrooms

as designers, explaining what we do to know they must have it, but they rarely
the outside world. Did you make the know what it does. It is our job to be
formula for the soda? No. Did you do advocates for design. Make it clear
the logo? No. Did you pick the brand at every possible moment that design
colors? No. Oh, so you actually print adds tangible value to what is being
the cans? No. Come up with the shape? created and is an essential asset.
Mold the aluminum? Put it in the Speak in terms that the business
box???? No. I designed the packaging. world understands and stand firm.
You can see how it quickly gets lost as Design is important. They need us. JF
to what we add to the process, though
we all know it is the most important
aspect. Design can be nebulous to the

376 The Practice of Design

Thou shall keep it simple

Commentary The options available being ideas-drivenis a series of
to designers to meet a brief are infinite, decisions taken by you to facilitate
so the temptation to keep adding is the brief. Make the right decisions and
very strong. It is important, therefore, ask the right questions along the way
to remember that the primary purpose and your ideas will succeed. Over-
of design is to aid communication and complicate and clutter your designs
facilitate understanding. The best with redundant additions and they will
designs and the most successful work be confused and unappealing. To sum
are always solutions that have taken up, in the immortal words of German
a simple, clean, and uncluttered architect, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe,
approachthe rules in this book go Less is more. PD
somewhere to guide you down this
path. However, it can only come from
you; the design processas well as

The Practice of Design 377



adjacent columns 119
aligning the baseline 122
alternate baseline 184
grids 123 
bottom margin 120
caption boxes 122123
creep at trim and
spine 322
embossing and
debossing 324
H&T bands 325
matt and gloss
lamination 323
saddle-stitches 321
Body copy 3637

display fonts 37
novelty typeface 36

Books and magazines
baseline grid for
body copy 118
book covers,
legibility of 161 Windows 95, and 13
crossovers 113 Copy and Pasting
facing pages spread 112 see Layout
footnotes 133 Credit 261263
folio spread 115 creative input 263
printer spreads 113
structure 145 editing without permission
Borders see Layout 263
Brief 342343
deliverables 343 Design
questions on 343 above the fold 172
blank page 102
Camerawork 264266 329 creative brief, and 170
do it yourself 264 process color for small DTP software 105
cell phone 266 body text 203 focal point 114
SLR camera 265 6 profiles of 215 folio showing 115

378 Index
340 81



339 250252

268 136

white space 130

frame of 130
Digital revolution
see Typography
Downtime see Ideas
deletion 259
DTP software crop and
digital file formats 244
registration marks 308
digital image files,
naming of 249
Engraving see Production
enlarging images
Eyedropper tool 207 excessively 270
Face-ism Ratio 281
Finishing Techniques Flickr, and 237
Adobe InDesign 330 gutter, the 240
Flickr 237 high resolution 242
Focus Groups see Project image resolution,
Folios see Production relationship between 138
Footnotes see Layout screens 247 83 Powerpoint, and 139

Index 379



142143 353
see also Spelling 
and grammar 316
squiggle and rules 156 
text threads 141 315
visual pace 107 
Leading 6869
definition of 68
line spacing and 68
power of 69
Legibility 361
art vs graphic design 23 

necessity of 23
Raygun magazine 23
typology of 2223

Letter forms
see Typography
Live Trace 279
Logos 162166
black and white, and 229
clients corporate 320325
standards, and 164 
companys changing
needs 163
figure/ground 310
relationship 166 glue sections 319
identity of 276 mock up of packaging/
mnemonic value 162 dimensional project 44
print and online 277 300 customization 51
ultra-thin typefaces 31 off-site backup of line Silk screen see Print
vectors 165 329 projects 297 SLR camera
 press checking 311 see Camerawork
Mac publications Smart Filters see Images
color and 178 specifications 306 Spelling and grammar
Masking see Images 330331 saddle-stitching 321 142143

380 Index




definition of 8485
x-height versus cap-
75 height 66
 line feed, and 67
Zapf Dingbats 16

17 Vectors see Graphics

Website Design 148-149
bad website, and 149
correct screen
42 proportions 148
 web developer 149
Widows and Orphans
see Typography
74 Windows
old-style figures 46 Comic Sans MS, and 13
overuse of 33 Times New Roman 15
paragraph spacing 70
80 see also Paragraphs Zapf Dingbats 16

Index 381
Author biographies

Sean Adams [] is awards for his work including ISTD

a partner at AdamsMorioka in Beverly Certificate of Excellences, and, most
Hills, California. He has been recognized recently, Best Jacket/Cover Design
by every major competition and at the 2010 British Book Design and
publication including; Step, Graphis, Production Awards. He is a Fellow,
AIGA, The British D&AD, and the and former Chair, of the International
NYADC. Adams has been cited as one of Society of Typographic Designers and
the forty most important people shaping has also acted as a visiting typography
design internationally in the ID40. lecturer at a number of Universities in
Sean is President ex officio of AIGA. the UK and overseas.
He is a Fellow of the Aspen Design
Conference, and AIGA Fellow. He John Foster []
teaches at Art Center College of Design. is the Principal, Superintendent, and
Adams is the author of Logo Design assorted other big words at Bad People
Workbook, Color Design Workbook, Good Things. He is a world-renowned
and the series, Masters of Design. designer, illustrator, author, and speaker
AdamsMoriokas clients include The on design issues. His work has been in
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and every major industry publication, hangs
Sciences, Adobe, Gap, Frank Gehry in galleries across the globe, and is part
Partners, Nickelodeon, Sundance, USC, of the permanent collection of the
and Disney. Smithsonian. He is the proud recipient
of a gold medal from the Art Directors
Peter Dawson [] has Club as well as a Best of Show from the
nearly 20 years experience in the UK ADDYs. Breakthrough projects for
design arena and cofounded his practice, everyone from Coca-Cola to Hasbro,
Grade, in 2000. He has won a number of Americans for the Arts to The Nature

382 Author biographies

Image credits:
by rule number

Conservancy, ESPN to Chronicle Books, Thinkstock []

and so many more have established Mr. 50, 89, 94, 110, 116, 128, 133, 137, 139, 140, 144, 146, 147,
153, 157, 159, 166, 168, 174, 178, 192, 193, 203, 207, 210,
Foster as a constant force in the industry.
216, 219, 220, 221, 222, 223, 226, 227, 229, 235, 236,
He spends far too much time in his office, 239, 240, 241, 243, 247, 252, 253, 260, 268, 274, 285,
behind a giant desk for designering, 298, 306, 307, 308, 312, 314, 321, 326, 329, 334, 337,

drawering, and computering, with the 345, 349, 355, 358, 363

worlds goofiest foxhound at his feet.

Shutterstock []
123, 160, 230, 231, 232, 238, 244, 276, 305, 309, 318
Tony Seddon []
graduated in 1987, and during the Vectorstock []
following 12-year period lived and 5, 92, 99, 143, 258, 280, 316, 362

worked in London, UK, first for a

multidisciplinary design consultancy, Fuzzimo []
then as senior art editor for an
illustrated book publisher. In 1999 he
Courtesy of Nikon
relocated to the south coast and has 243, 245
continued to specialize in book design
and art direction. Tony now works as Courtesy of LaCie
a freelance designer, project manager, 277

and writer. He has authored three books:

All other images were created by the authors.
Images: A Creative Digital Workflow
for Graphic Designers, Graphic Design
for Nondesigners, and Art Directing
Projects for Print. He lives in Alfriston,
East Sussex, with his wife and his
ever-present greyhounds.

Image credits 383

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