Many years ago, I was frustrated with a magazine layout. Looking for inspiration, I found a book titled Editing by Design, by Jan V. White on Amazon. Apprehensive about buying another design book online (sight unseen), but curious, I ordered a copy. It was well worth it! It has a lifetime of fundamental design tips.
This book is filled with solid design advice and many gems. Jan V. White writes clearly with a dash of humor. The chapters are complete with hand-drawn, pen and ink cartoon sketches that illustrate and explain layout and page relationships. The drawings have a wonderful, friendly style.
The chapters are easy to read and divided into chunks of information. Each chapter contains excellent design instruction that emphasizes the importance of reaching readers. I use this book as a reference and refresher when I’m stuck or need to educate a client. White’s ideas apply to magazines, brochures, printed materials, and beyond.
My book is flagged many post-its and yellow highlights (see below. Some of my favorite “ah-ha” moments are:
• Always view the magazine issue as a totality
• Think in spreads, not single pages
• Make hard copy printouts at 40 percent to see the flow of the magazine
• Picture captions are the most important words on the page
• Subhead placement (don’t add a line space after a subhead)
• An article’s title must be the same (exact words) when used in the table of contents and on the magazine cover.
Whether you were taught layout in design school or have learned on the job, this book is a classic, as well as a great resource every designer should own.
Good news – eight of Jan V. White’s classic design books are now available online and dedicated to the public domain (free)! http://www.janvwhite.org/