NHS Designs

an arrangement or position of things in a straight line or in parallel lines

Design Principles

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Page 10: Newsletter

A problem with the publications of many new designers' is a subtle lack of alignment, such as centered headlines and subheads over indented paragraphs. At first glance, which of the examples on these two pages presents a cleaner and sharper image?


Thia is a very common sight: headlines are centered, text is flush left, paragraph indents are "typewriter" wide (that is, five spaces or half an inch, as you may have learned in school), the illustration is centered in a column.

Never center headlines over flush left body copy or text
that has an indent. If the text does not have a clear left and right edge, you can't tell the headline is actually centered. It looks like it's just hanging around.

All these unaligned spots create a messy page: wide indents, ragged right edge of text, centered heads with open space on both sides, centered illustration.

Try this: Visualize drawing lines on this example to see all the different alignments.


All those minor misalignments add up to create a visually messy page. Find a strong line and stick to it. Even though it may be subtle and your boss couldn't say what made the difference between this example and the one before it, the more sophisticated look comes through clearly.


Find a strong alignment and stick to it. If the text is
flush left, set the heods and subheads flush left.

First paragraphs are traditionally not indented. The purpose of indenting a paragraph is to tell you there is a new paragraph, but you always know the first one is a new paragraph.

On a typewriter, an indent was five spaces. With the proportionol type you are using on your computer, the standard typographic indent is one em (an em is as wide as the point size of your type), which is more like two spaces.

Be conscious of the ragged edge of your type. Adjust the lines so your right edge is as smooth as possible.

If there are photographs or illustrations, align them with
an edge and/or a baseline.





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Source: The Non-Designer's Design Book by Robin Williams

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