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Old 02-02-2008, 12:24 AM   #1
George
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Default Booklet Questions

Presently, in printing booklets I'm using a Georgia 11 pt. font on 8.5 x 11 folded paper. I can make changes to a booklet's type and layout as often as I like with quick printing -- even each one. Right now, my cost per booklet is a nickel. But I am always considering a few recurring questions.

> Although a ragged right margin does ensure even spacing of words, does that necessarily mean greater ease of reading? It seems to me that overall appearance of the page affects the psychology of perception, and a justified margin actually reads smoother in booklets. A ragged right margin can be an unconscious distraction.

> In a like manner, do even inside/outside margins read easier? It seems that a more narrow inside margin also can be a distraction, again considering the unconscious psychology of overall page appearance. I like to make the inside margin just a bit more narrow, as I get a slightly wider column, in letting the outside margin have room for the thumb. But I wonder if the distraction nullifies any advantage that my particular layout realizes with greater column width.

> Then, what thumb size do I use as average in figuring the outside margin? Right now, I have the margin set to 4.5 pica (that's 3/4in., and the inside is 3.5 pica, 5/8in. -- but maybe, I should consider even reducing the inside). It seems comfortable overall for handling and viewing, but I use my own thumb for a model. (Although I'm setting in picas now, I have to measure the printed page columns in inches, as I don't have a pica ruler. They must sell those.)

[In printing, my left page column moves to the right about 1/8in., unless I manually push the frame slightly past the guidelines. What causes that?]

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Old 02-02-2008, 10:00 AM   #2
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George-

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[In printing, my left page column moves to the right about 1/8in., unless I manually push the frame slightly past the guidelines. What causes that?]
The effect you are seeing is called "creep." As illustrated in the attachment below, outer pages have to fold around the inner pages. Before the outer edge is trimmed, you see a pyramid effect at the outer edge. When the booklet is trimmed, the protruding paper is removed, decreasing the outer margin on each page. This gives the appearance that the content of the page "creeps" toward the outer edge as one approaches the center of the book, then back as one continues to the back of the book.

The remedy for this is "shingling" moving the page content closer to the outer edge of the page as one moves toward the beginning and end of the book. Done properly, this gives a consistant outer margin, and the variations at the inner margin are buried within the binding.
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Although a ragged right margin does ensure even spacing of words, does that necessarily mean greater ease of reading? ...a justified margin actually reads smoother in booklets. A ragged right margin can be an unconscious distraction.
If your ragged right edges are distracting, then you are not doing them right. The standard is that a ragged edge should look like "gently-torn paper." If you are relying on the results of what your software produces by clicking the button, neither justified nor ragged right will give you well-set type.
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Old 02-02-2008, 12:26 PM   #3
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[In a like manner, do even inside/outside margins read easier?
No. Traditionally, outer margins are larger than inner ones.

It should also be said that creep is usually addressed in the imposition software that places the pages in booklet order, rather than in the page layout program itself. I guess it depends what you are using.
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Old 02-02-2008, 02:02 PM   #4
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George:
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I have to measure the printed page columns in inches, as I don't have a pica ruler. They must sell those.
A pica nowadays is 1/6 in, and as the ordinary wooden school ruler has one side graduated in 1/12 in, a printer's rule is unnecessary.

You don't really want to have more than a 24-pica line of 11 pt Georgia, which you'll get if you stick to the old printers' rule of thumb (2:3:4:5 or 6) and have the inside margin 3 pica and the outside margin 6 pica if you're considering the two-page spread. The title page should have symmetrical margins right and left.

   
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Old 02-03-2008, 06:38 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by George View Post
Although a ragged right margin does ensure even spacing of words, does that necessarily mean greater ease of reading? It seems to me that overall appearance of the page affects the psychology of perception, and a justified margin actually reads smoother in booklets. A ragged right margin can be an unconscious distraction.
There are places where the inherent formality of justified type is mandated, but a booklet wouldn’t be one of them. More to the point, it is more work (and takes more skill) to set justified type.

If your flush left text is distractingly ragged, you should look at the hyphenation settings. If you don’t hyphenate, you will have a wild rag.

Quote:
… do even inside/outside margins read easier? It seems that a more narrow inside margin also can be a distraction, again considering the unconscious psychology of overall page appearance.
First thing: the reader sees the spread, rather than just the page. Having narrow inner margins helps to hold the spread together visually.

Try using these margins: inner 3 picas (1/2 inch); top 4 picas (11/16 inch); outer 5 picas (7/8 inch); bottom 6 picas (1 inch). Page numbers should normally appear within the bottom margin, closer to the text than to the edge of the sheet; and preferably at the outer corners, so the reader can quickly find a page. (Probably not an issue in a small booklet.)

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… as I get a slightly wider column …
How wide is that column? If you use the margins I suggested, you end up with a 25 pica measure (about 4-3/16 inch). I would also suggest using 12-pt Georgia, as the face sets quite small, and 12 on 16-pt leading (line height) is much more readable. Those settings should work well, so long as you hyphenate; and you may want to shift a little word down to the next line occasionally to make the contour of the ragged edge more graceful.

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(Although I'm setting in picas now, I have to measure the printed page columns in inches, as I don't have a pica ruler. They must sell those.)
Sure. Art supply stores sell them. Or search for “pica ruler” in Google and find one on-line. In the meantime, you can print a fairly accurate one out on your printer (use transparent acetate). Here’s one:
Pica Ruler (PDF), from Strategic Publications.
This is a corrected URL.

You are developing designer disease: getting too close to your job! <g> In tests, readers are generally not aware of whether type is justified or ragged; nor do they notice good hyphenation. They do notice if they cannot hold the booklet comfortably for reading, type that is too small or too large, tight line-spacing, lack of contrast (grey type, colored papers), stuff that actually has an impact on the ease of reading.

   
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Old 02-03-2008, 02:34 PM   #6
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KT:

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They do notice if they cannot hold the booklet comfortably for reading, type that is too small or too large, tight line-spacing, lack of contrast (grey type, colored papers), stuff that actually has an impact on the ease of reading.
But 'coloured papers' does not include the slightly yellowish paper (parchment white?) that printers often prefer to the dazzling white paper that is usually stocked; but it's not easily procured in small quantities, at least, not in the UK.

   
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Old 02-03-2008, 06:04 PM   #7
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as the ordinary wooden school ruler has one side graduated in 1/12 in, a printer's rule is unnecessary.
I guess George and I should have gone to school in the UK. I'm sure I've never laid eyes on a 1/12-in ruler in my life, and I'm surprised to hear that there is such a thing; what do British school kids measure in twelfths of an inch? I guess it would be useful for down-scaling drawings from feet to inches. I've seen lots of 1/10, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32 but never a 1/12. Interesting.

   
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Old 02-03-2008, 06:22 PM   #8
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I guess George and I should have gone to school in the UK. I'm sure I've never laid eyes on a 1/12-in ruler in my life, and I'm surprised to hear that there is such a thing; what do British school kids measure in twelfths of an inch? I guess it would be useful for down-scaling drawings from feet to inches. I've seen lots of 1/10, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32 but never a 1/12. Interesting.
I’m with you. The only 1/6-inch (not to mention 1/12-inch) rulers I have ever had were pica poles!

   
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Old 02-03-2008, 07:17 PM   #9
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First, I want to thank everyone for your responses. It all helps in thinking this stuff out. I’m no professional designer or printer, but I keep looking to make one small improvement at a time, and it sure does all add up, so that I can put out a very decent looking booklet, and more importantly, one that reads with ease.

I like a 20 page booklet (actually three of those pages are usually superfluous) – because my target audience doesn’t have time to read, and I can give the reader enough information in 20 pages. That’s five 8.5 x 11 pages folded; so I don’t have to worry about creep, and so, I guess that leaves me manually pushing the left frames. But I have some publications coming that go way over the 20 pages – so then, maybe, I’ll have to start a new thread.

I tried Kathleen’s suggested settings. Immediately on seeing them on the screen I felt a psychological peace. I didn’t really have that before, so I started guessing why – inner margin?? right rag?? Now, I understand that psychological affect comes from the whole page having a consistent and well conceived layout logic; so in that case the narrow inner margin and right rag work fine. On seeing the new settings on paper, I noted a much improved print quality and greater ease in reading. But it seems to me, that it’s the larger bottom margin that puts everything in perspective. (But I haven’t printed out a whole booklet yet with the new settings).

I leave the hyphenation setting on automatic, as I really haven’t studied how to do it. I think it actually does look ok now. I tried playing with the hot zone but it only made things worse. The default is 600%.

Now with 12 pt. type, do I set the page numbers in the footer at 12 pt. also? Presently I have 10 pt. there.

And with only a 20 page booklet, I don’t feel a need to use a header, repeating the title on each page. Or is leaving that off a mistake??

From time to time in the booklets, I quote scripture as an indented block, and then I give a citation on a line below it in parenthesis. Is there any rule on how the citation should be placed (thinking primarily of left indent), or is that entirely discretionary?? I put the citation in a 10 pt. font.

I really do get too close to the job. I don’t know how to overcome that. I think about doing my own research sometimes, just by showing examples to average people, but without a large enough sample, that would go awry fast. I guess I should start looking for the studies others have done.

Kathleen, your link to the pica ruler turned out to be a design article. It looks interesting, so I guess that’s another happy link mistake in the forum. If you have the pica ruler link handy, I’d appreciate having it.

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Old 02-04-2008, 05:34 AM   #10
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I leave the hyphenation setting on automatic, as I really haven’t studied how to do it. I think it actually does look ok now. I tried playing with the hot zone but it only made things worse. The default is 600%.
What default is 600%? Are you talking about the hyphenation zone (sometimes called the no-hyphenation zone)? If your software works the way most does, making that smaller will increase hyphenation.

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Now with 12 pt. type, do I set the page numbers in the footer at 12 pt. also? Presently I have 10 pt. there.
Classically, use 12 point, either roman or italic.

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And with only a 20 page booklet, I don’t feel a need to use a header, repeating the title on each page. Or is leaving that off a mistake??
I don’t think it is a mistake. Even many serious books leave headers off these days.

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From time to time in the booklets, I quote scripture as an indented block, and then I give a citation on a line below it in parenthesis. Is there any rule on how the citation should be placed (thinking primarily of left indent), or is that entirely discretionary?? I put the citation in a 10 pt. font.
I don’t think so. I would keep the indention modest (1 pica), and just set the citation in italic right below it. You might want to add 6 points of line space above the citation; and float the whole package — block quote plus citation — in a space that is an exact multiple of your text lines so you do not have misaligned text.

Quote:
Kathleen, your link to the pica ruler turned out to be a design article. It looks interesting, so I guess that’s another happy link mistake in the forum. If you have the pica ruler link handy, I’d appreciate having it.
I found the ruler at that link yesterday. Oh, well. I fixed the original and here it is again: Pica Ruler (PDF), from Strategic Publications.

P.S. I found some misguided advice in those articles at the other link; take them with a grain of salt. The use of an indented first paragraph after a flush left sub-head made my teeth hurt, in particular.

A tip: Why are you spec’ing Verdana in your posts? Verdana is the default for the forum, so those who have not set something else as their browser default will see it anyway. But if you want to force the issue, just type your message, select all the text, and choose Verdana from the Fonts drop-down. Voila! No need to add all that extra code to every paragraph.

   
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