Back to basics page layouts

smashkirk's picture

I've been working as a designer for over 10 years, but I feel like I need a refresher on the basic principles of design. So I'm looking for a book. I do a lot of editorial, so I'm looking for a book that will explain and dissect good page layouts and explain why they work, using the principles of design (contrast, texture, balance, rhythm, etc…). I'm looking for real-world examples, not just shapes on a page like Wucius Wong's Principles of Form and Design (a good book nonetheless). I'm not really looking for a grid book, however i realize that grids and page layouts are inseparable.

Anyone know of any books that covers this? Or even a website, or magazine article?


Igor Freiberger's picture

I like Before & After very much. You can check individual issues about page layout or consider the books they released. John McWade always works based on real-world examples and uses a fine technical approach.

For a more theoretical stuff, there is Bringhurst's The Elements of Typographic Style. A classical, although I think it is very conservative when talking about page formats, white space and dimensions.

JamesM's picture

I too like Before & After. McWade sells a series of PDFs, each of which contains several short articles about some aspect of design. There are several sample issues you can download for free. He also has several books.

sae's picture

I found this recent mag, Pro Software Skill: Indesign, from the Computer Arts team pretty helpful. It's focus is, naturally given the title, InDesign but for the cover price it is a decent refresher.

Not sure if you can get it off the shelf in Canada but you should be able to obtain it by mail order.

adumpaul's picture

Basic page layout tutorial will be available from

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