[scribus] Canons of page construction

John Culleton john at wexfordpress.com
Mon Jul 27 19:23:53 CEST 2009

On Saturday 25 July 2009 03:24:03 pm jwminer at accessvt.com wrote:
> Greg wrote:
> > I think that such information is useful for conceptual and
> > instructional
> > purposes, but for many uses not so practical except for
> > purists. It's
> > easy to see that hardly any if any modern books use the
> > Gutenberg proportions. What we see is that there are different
> > plans depending on
> > the content and purpose of the book.
> >
> > This isn't to say that there are not abundant examples of poor
> > design
> > and layout all around us. My advice would be to continue your
> > quest for
> > the opinions of others recognized as having something useful to
> > say, but
> > in the end pay attention to the layout of various publications
> > you see,
> > and when you find something displeasing, unattractive, or which
> > contradicts its apparent intended purpose, try to understand
> > why, so you
> > can avoid making similar mistakes.
> The "content and purpose of the book" exist within constraints,
> particularly financial. Ideal proportions of white space mean
> more pages, and more pages mean more costs all down the line:
> paper, printing, binding, shipping, stocking. So modern books
> typically skimp on the white space and if it looks fine to us,
> we've become inured to it. But do we want to pay even more for
> books in order to have a beautifully designed page? There's no
> free lunch.
> There are a few principles I keep in mind when setting up a book
> page. The inner margins should be smaller than the outer margins.
> When we hold an open book, it presents itself as a unit and a
> double-wide inner margin looks odd. The bottom margin should be
> larger than the top margin. A bottom margin that's smaller than
> the top margin makes the text block look like it's going to slide
> off the bottom of the page. Make the bottom margin large enough
> so readers' thumbs don't cover the text when they are holding the
> open book. Outer margins large enough to hold some reader's
> annotations are desirable.
> The right type size for the length of the lines is important. One
> and one-half alphabets per line (39 to 45 characters) is a common
> suggestion, though you can't always adhere to it. 

Bringhurst would accept as little as 45 characters for double column 
newsprint but would prefer 65 for normal book work. 
John Culleton
Create Book Covers with Scribus/e-book $5.95

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