[Scribus] Example of what...[OT]

Gregory Pittman gpittman
Sat Oct 6 17:47:23 CEST 2007

dbeach at klikmaker.com wrote:
> This is my first submission to this mailing list. If it's not  
> appropriate for this list, I apologize in advance.
> http://www.klikmaker.com/pdf/211TestPage.pdf
Let me apologize if what I am about to say offends anyone, but let me 
preface it to say that as I look at the page, it's a bit disheartening 
to see sophisticated tools being used to end up with a design with 
problems. I am not a publishing or design person; oddly enough, I'm a 
neurologist, who just happens to have an interest in design and how it 
works, in my case mostly in relationship to information transmission and 
education. There are a collection of books by Edward Tufte, the first 
entitled "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information" which are in 
themselves excellent examples of design and printing, but show much more 
than what I am going to refer to here.

The problems go back to the page's purpose, in this case to attract a 
customer to the page, and then allow him/her to extract the needed 
information and use it. In the end, the necessary information is the 
names and descriptions of the items, and the catalog numbers. Everything 
else is arbitrary, including the white spaces in various areas, and 
should be used to help the eye home in on the necessary information and 
allow easy reading.
Generally I see all the headers and descriptions, most of the pictures 
as reasonably appropriate for this. On the other hand, the horizontal 
red lines, and the various black lines, while perhaps (but maybe not) 
necessary, draw attention needlessly to them -- the brain is 
perceptually drawn to red, and there are parts of the brain that get 
quite excited with horizontal or vertical lines, especially in rows. 
Thus, it's harder to see the "real" information around or between. My 
advice would be to try out switching red lines to gray and thinner, 
trying to do away with the black lines altogether -- information 
arranged in rows and columns and tabulated forms its own structure even 
without the lines -- or if they're felt needed, thinner (fraction of a 
point) and gray.
Perhaps something of a personal choice, maybe legibility, is the white 
typeface on red background for the catalog numbers. Especially when 
there is excess red, it's quite distracting visually, and one wonders if 
it's really necessary. What's wrong with dark red on white? Maybe bold 
black on white? What is the most legible in various kinds and 
intensities of illumination?

The nice thing about DTP is that once you have a design layout, you can 
play with elements, colors, positioning and decide for yourself what 
works, what is more or less attractive, and get some consensus. Some of 
these changes I'm suggesting would lead to a simpler design that ends up 
being less work for you.


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