Proportions

Many books show none of the clear proportions, but accidental ones. We do not know why, but we can demonstrate that a human being finds planes of definite and intentional proportions more pleasant or more beautiful than those of accidental proportions. An ugly format causes an ugly book. (Tschichold, 1991)

Proportion is linked to ratio. That is to say, we judge the proportions of something to be correct if the ratio of one element to another is correct. (Lauer and Pentak, 2011)

A dominant influence on the sense of proportion in Western art is the golden ratio. (John Kane, 2003)

The golden ratio is a mathematical proportion based on pi and is used to define aesthetically pleasing proportions in art and architecture. It can be derived with a number of geometric constructions, each of which divides a line segment at the unique point where the ratio of the whole line to the large segment is the same as the ratio of the large segment to the small segment. (Lamp, n.d.)

The power of the golden ratio to create harmony arises from its unique capacity to unite different parts of a whole so that each preserves its own identity and yet blends into the greater pattern of a single whole. (Doczi, 2005)

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. (…) is the purpose which determines not only the size of the book but also the page proportions. (Tschichold, 1991)

Defining boundaries starts with margins – the blank space on the left, right, top or bottom edge of any printed or digital page. Basically, margins function as frames around images and typographic content, concurrently defining active or live areas of the page real estate as well as its boundaries. (Landa, 2001) To set up a type and leading sizes you have to set up columns, and to set up the columns you have to start with proper margins. (Magazine Designing, 2013)

Large margins give a sense of space and openness to a design, but they also reduce the amount of space that is allowed for columns and consequently affect how much type can fit on a page. If your design is text-intensive, your margins will need to be smaller. Margins can be set centred and evenly spaced or can be set to allow unequal space around the columns. One thing to consider when setting up margins is the page orientation, If the pages will face one another, then a gutter will form within the spine where the two pages meet. Depending on the type of binding used and the number of pages in the project, the designer may consider allotting additional space to the inside margins so that type does not get lost in the page gutter. (Conover, 2011)

Margin proportions do not dominate the page of a book. Rather they arise from the page format and the law of form. (Tschichold, 1991) While the golden section provides insight into the most pleasing aesthetic proportions for design layout, it would provide most interactive designers with number crunching headaches when applying it to design. To make things simpler, many designers use the rule of thirds to help create compositions. The rule suggests that a composition should be divided into thirds by using two horizontal and two vertical guidelines to make nine equally sized parts. The most important elements should then be placed at the intersections to create compositions with the most dynamic and visual interest. (Steane, 2014)

A page with a well-proportioned and well-positioned block of text is per­ceived to be at rest. Removing ten­sion from the design allows the reader’s focus to return to the mean­ing of the text. (Bricker, 2011)

Harmony between page size and type area is achieved when both have the same proportions. (Tschichold, 1991)

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

Lauer and Pentak. (2011). Design Basics. Boston: Cengage Learning.

Kane, John. (2003). A Type Primer. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.

Lamp, Lucy. (n.d.). Scale and Proportions: Sophia Learning. [Consult. 2015-10] Disponível em: https://www.sophia.org/tutorials/design-in-art-scale-and-proportion/

Doczi, Gyorgy. (2005). The Power of Limits. Boulder: Shambhala.

Landa, Robin. (2001). Graphic Design Solutions. Boston: Cengage Learning.

Magazine Designing.(2013). Setting up, Types and Description of Page Margins. [Consult. 2015-10] Disponível em: http://www.magazinedesigning.com/setting-up-types-and-description-of-page-margins/

Conover, Charles. (2011). Designing for Print. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

Steane, Jamie. (2015). The Principles and Processes of Interactive Design. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.

Bricker, Dave. (2011). Book Design Basics Part 1: Margins and Leading. [Consult. 2015-10] Disponível em: http://theworldsgreatestbook.com/book-design-part-1/

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