Proportion

Proportion refers to the size relationships within a composition. Those relationships serve as a transparent, underlying structure for the surface design. The outer dimensions determine the form of a two-dimensional design and are its most basic proportions. (Evans e Thomas, 2004:9)

PROPORÇÃO – Combinação equilibrada das partes de uma composição (tamanho dos tipos em relação ao papel, distribuição dos brancos, dimensão, colocação das gravuras em relação à página, etc.). Esta preocupação já estava presente no manuscrito, onde os elementos da página eram dispostos com intenções de ordem estética, de modo a obter um todo harmónico em que os corpos da letra do texto, das iniciais e de todos os demais elementos estavam estreitamente relacionados com as dimensões da obra • Equilíbrio entre os caracteres na altura e na largura. Harmonia. Simetria • Medida • Norma. (Faria e Pericão, 2008: 1009)

“Nothing is good but in proportion.” (Edmund Burke, 1789)

Since utility and beauty of all printed matter, whether book or flyer, ultimately depends on the page ratio of the paper size used, someone wanting to make a beautiful and pleasant book first has to determine a format of definite proportions.

Harmony is determined by relationships or proportions. Proportions are hidden everywhere: in the capaciousness of the margins, in the reciprocal relationships to each other of all four margins on the page of a book, in the relationship between leading of the type area and dimensions of the margins, in the placement of the page number relative to the type area, in the extent to which capital letters are spaced differently from the text, and not least, in the spacing of the words them- selves. (Tschichold 1991 [1975]: 56; 21)

Type Area

The secret of a harmonious book page is not necessarily hidden in a relationship between the four margins expressible in simple numbers. Harmony between page size and type area is achieved when both have the same proportions. If efforts are successful to combine page format and type area into an indissoluble unit, then the margin proportions become functions of page format and overall construction and thus are inseparable from either. Margin proportions do not dominate the page of a book. Rather, they arise from the page format and the law of form, the canon.

Circumstances seldom permit the mathematically correct size and positioning of a type area. Frequently we have to be content with a close approximation of the ideal. Neither can we always place the typographical text block as high as would be desirable, nor, as a rule, is the calculated inner margin of sufficient width. (Tschichold 1991 [1975]:59;72)

CAIXA DE ESCRITA – Em codicologia é o espaço que na página é destinado ao texto, devidamente justificado por linhas laterais e regrado ou pautado horizontalmente. O rigor exigido no enquadramento do texto dentro destes limites era levado ao extremo, quer alargando os espaços entre as palavras (como se faz hoje no processamento de texto), quer usando abreviaturas, para que a linha ficasse uniforme; por vezes, quando a última palavra não chegava ao final da linha, desenhavam-se bouts de ligne, ou seja, pequenos ornatos longitudinais mais ou menos elaborados, para colmatar o espaço deixado em branco, a fim de que o texto se apresentasse sob a forma de um rectângulo perfeito, desprovido de vazios.

MANCHA TIPOGRÁFICA – Conjunto de linhas impressas na página ou parte da página que é impressa; pode ser a uma só medida ou a duas ou mais colunas. Caixa de escrita. Mancha de texto. (Faria e Pericão, 2008:184;792)

Numerous medieval books show a surprising conformity in proportions of format and position of type area.

Type area and paper size [should have] equal proportions.

The correct type area, the other condition for a beautiful book, has seldom been researched, still less in any methodical manner. Like typography itself, in the nineteenth century, the type area was neglected to such a degree that any alteration seemed permissible. The recent history of the text block is full of attempts to push aside old and unsatisfactory results and replace them with the unconventional. (Tschichold 1991 [1975]:60;62;78)

Tschichold, Jan. (1991). The Form of the Book: Essays on the Morality of Good Design. Vancouver: Hartley & Marks. Original edition, 1975

Faria, Maria Isabel & Pericão, Maria Graça. (2008). Dicionário do Livro. Edições Almedila, SA: Coimbra.

Evans, Poppy  & Thomas, Mark. (2004). Exploring the Elements of Design, First edition.

W. White, Alex. The Elements of Graphic Design, Second edition.

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