White space design to make or break a layout
White space design that improves layout and readability.
It is vital to use white space design correctly in page layouts. New designers as well as self-publishers are tempted to fill every little bit of white space on a page and have very skimpy margins. Evaluate other books that may be like yours or have design you admire. Do not copy or plagiarize, but be inspired to create your own page layouts. It is an especially ugly mistake to tighten the leading or space between lines. Worse yet, is enlarging the type to fill up a page. This also applies to websites.
Dropping the text point size and allowing wider margins on a page may be just what is needed for effective use of white space. Do not have skinny margins and type that is too large or two lines that are too close together. White space can better display text and images.
Reminder about type size
Use between 9 and 12 point type. But, be careful, as all typefaces of any one size can look very different in size on the page. For instance, 12 point Times New Roman would look a little large. A typeface like Souvenir at 12 point looks smaller.
Note: I would not use Times New Roman, but instead use a typeface other than a pre-loaded typeface on my computer. I use Times as an example, because everyone has it!
You can use half sizes to in InDesign. Set-up a page and margins, and experiment with typeface, their sizes and space between the lines. Put a line around the page or use crop marks. Print it out at full size to see how the page looks. All you still unsure? Visit it the next day.
Equally as important: White space design is what sells the message!
Here is a page of comparisons, taken from the physical version of my book:
While headlines are often large and bold, they don’t have to be. It is a design choice. A headline is like an invitation to read what follows. Design is so important, that there are times that I ask the author to rewrite a sentence in paragraph to make the text fit in the design. This rarely happens, but I am not afraid to ask, if only to preserve the white space design.
- The top row shows nice white space as compared to type that is too cramped and hard to read.
- The second row highlights the obvious difference between ample margins and skimpy margins.
- The bottom row contains two effective title page layout. They both have good use of white space design.
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