Basic Layout Principles

  1. Get their attention
    • This might be done by using
      • a bold headline,
      • a different font,
      • a picture,
      • or a splash of color on an otherwise black and white page.
  2. Important Things should come first
    • They should be at the top or on the first page.
  3. Keep it clear and uncluttered.
    • Follow the KISS principle.
    • Avoid overload.
      • It's better to risk saying too little on a page than to say too much and have no one read it.
  4. Keep it balanced.
    • It looks funny to have one section full of information and another area blank.
    • Don't emphasize one section at the expense of the other.
  5. Blank space gives the item emphasis.
    • It increases readability.
    • It draws attention.
  6. Use as few fonts as you can.
    • Two or three fonts (one for text and one or two for headings) is far more powerful and readable than five or six.
    • As a general rule, use serif fonts for the body text, and sans serif fonts for the headings.
  7. Colors should complement your message.
    • For a calm message use calm colors.
    • For a vibrant message use vibrant colors.
    • The colors are about the message, not about your personal sense of fashion.
  8. Repetition is good.
    • Repeating design elements over several pages gives unity to a document.
  9. Choose your pictures carefully.
    • Pictures are useful for drawing attention to neglected parts of the page.
    • Pictures repeated over several pages can sometimes be used to unify a document.