Page Design

akma's picture

I've fought through the "Shaping the Page" chapter in Bringhurst, and -- much though I admire the precise reckoning that it represents -- at the end of the chapter, I'm left with frustration as I work on the particular sorts of page that I typically lay out.

As a teacher, I produce very many documents, which I often prefer to distribute on two columns on a landscape orientation. I find that readers respect a well-laid-out page that looks as if it were photocopied from a book more than they do a page that's printed out in a typical one-column portrait layout. Default two-column settings in Word or Pages, though, involve various minor vexations that sum up to the conclusion that there must be a better way. I have InDesign 2.0 (Mac), but my forays into InDe pages have not been reliably successful.

The attractive alternative would, of course, involve setting one-up pages of ideal dimensions, then printing them two-up; but Apple's print engine does odd things with margins when printing two-up, and I'm not clever enough to out-think the print engine.

Is there a source of wisdom, whether here on the boards or in a tutorial somewhere, for producing two-up landscape pages that allow consecutive page numbering on facing pages (don't think a word processor will do that one) with moderately clear, reproducible dimensions for the text box, the page number, running heads (if needed), harmonious margins, and so on? In other words, that simulate a book page layout printing on an 8.5x11 letter page?

Chris Rugen's picture

InD should let you do it all in the application, by setting up either two facing pages that are each half-page in size and choosing 'print spreads', or just setting up a single landscape page with two text boxes. Master pages should allow you to do this pretty easily. Apple's print engine should not affect your layout, as long as you aren't telling it to 'Fit to Page' or to scale.

Perhaps I'm not understanding your question? I started using InD with InD CS1 (and have used each version since), so I'm not familiar with InD 2.0's particular settings.

akma's picture

The short answer for me is probably to practice with InD till I get comfortable with it. I just haven't passed the shoulder of the learning curve yet.

Assuming, for the meantime, that I girded my loins and tackled InD again, do the denizens of these forums have any particular wisdom about size and placement of text box relative to page size (half letter) and type size?

Chris Rugen's picture

Refer back to Bringhurst and look at the Average Character Count Per Line table. This will give you a good idea of what line length you want. Pick the type size according to your taste and/or audience: designers love tiny type and the typical older reader likes big type.

In design and type, there are typically no 'right' answers, only appropriate ones.

Don McCahill's picture

For your ID problems, get Adobe Classroom in a Book for ID. It will get you over the basics. I needed it, and I had many years of PageMaker experience.

As for your design, best solution for looking at design problems is to compare your output with actual books, and compare dimensions. For one thing, if you have been working with Word, you probably are using too large a point size for the work to really look like a book. Few books use 12 point text.

akma's picture

Thanks, Don. I have a guide (not the Adobe one, but an alternative that I picked up back when ID 2 was standard), and I will consult it. And I don't have a problem with type size -- the heart of the matter is the text frame. Since I posted this, I've been hand-sketching and measuring text frames, and (removed from the context of an actual book) they all wind up looking weird to me.

I'll just forge ahead, though, and eventually will produce something I can live with.

Syndicate content Syndicate content