The layout and design (aka, typesetting) of a book
or project is a carefully
crafted, perfectly balanced, structurally engineered and executed work of
art. Just look at the incredible architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright—it's like
the rhythm of a page, the amazing harmony of a perfectly constructed newsletter,
catalog, magazine ad, or even a billboard.
Remember the first artist that escaped the
boundaries of the billboard? It was over 35 years ago. The artist created an image
(I think it was the long neck and face of a giraffe) that dared to break through
the standard billboard's rectangular frame, rise above the mundane wooden marquee,
and peer down at the highwaymen below. It was like a jack-in-the-box released
from the box.
This spawned a whole new generation of marquee
mavericks—the polygon pundits who now painted and/or created frames around
their rectangular canvasses so they could punch through the frame with an
interesting shape such as a pair of dancing shoes, a pony's tail, a brass saxophone,
or a brightly colored beach umbrella. Breaking out of the frame was like
breaking out of jail to some, they had penetrated the margins, and now they were
free at last!
Layout is just like that! There are so many
rules about balance, proportion, division of space, negative space, white
space, gray space, symmetry, and asymmetry. There are visual vectors, unity, gravity, redundancy, perspective, and optical centers
to contemplate. And
more rules about emphasis, subordination, harmony, contrast, the golden mean,
and the horizontal and vertical dimensions of the Parthenon. WOW!
Next you must consider fonts: typefaces,
styles, point sizes, serifs or san serifs, line spacing, leading, kerning, and
tracking. And there are margins, "coastlines," widows and orphans,
bullets and dingbats, and edges such as ragged or justified or centered or right
aligned; and that's all without graphics or color.
Just like the famous
artists and writers who dared to
break the rules, you must know them first before you can break them, and then
you must follow the rules until you can break them with style like the billboard
artist who broke the frame and rose above it. It's a talent, a gift like
composing a concerto at age four. Salieri could play all the notes but he could
not make the music. Some people can mechanically create an interesting
layout that follows all the rules, but they'll never be a Mozart.
Call us if you want something different—something so unique that even Frank Lloyd Wright would stand up and