Desktop Publishing Design Tips and Guidelines
Whether you're an experienced
graphic designer or you're just getting started, the following
desktop publishing design tips and guidelines will help you in the
preparation of each document in the Frillio's Pizza simulation.
Careful preparation, planning, and following these guidelines will
get you cooking-up professional, attractive, and eye-catching
documents that you'll be glad to showcase.
For starters, let's take a look at what makes a well-designed
document effective. The following is a checklist of items that
will make a document sparkle and shine with professionalism and
- The document is attractive and
pleasing to look at and read.
- The document is well-organized.
- The document is self-explanatory.
- The text and imagery are
carefully linked to each other.
- The design and content are
appropriate for the targeted audience.
What follows are some fundamental
desktop publishing design tips, guidelines, and advice to follow
as you produce each document throughout the simulation. Following
these tips and guidelines will help you to produce top-notch
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
Determine the single most important message of your document
by asking yourself: If my viewer carries away one idea, what do I
want it to be? The answer will be the central theme that
determines your entire document design.
White space is the area of a document not covered by text or
graphics. The general rule of thumb when considering white space
is to not have too much or the viewer's eye will wander and to not
have too little or you'll confuse and overwhelm your viewer. A
guideline to follow is that if your page looks cluttered,
eliminate the least important text and/or graphic images from the
WORKING WITH TYPEFACES (FONTS)
AND TYPE STYLES
Take a look at your favorite magazine or book. Chances are
they contain no more than three or four typefaces (more commonly
referred to as fonts) in total. Too many typefaces or fonts will
make your document look cluttered, unprofessional, as well as
making it difficult to read. As a rule, stick to using no more
than a total of two to three fonts per document. Select one font
that will serve as the primary font (used for areas that contain
more than two or three sentences in one area) and one font to
serve as your secondary font (used for areas that are headlines,
headings, or subheadings).
Here are some general guidelines to
follow when working with typefaces (fonts) and type styles:
- Font size should be kept between
18-24 points for headlines, 14-16 points for subheadings, and
between 10-12 points for text used in the body areas of a
- When considering type styles,
with the exception of titles, avoid using all capital letters.
- Avoid excessive use of
underlines, italics, and boldface text. o Select a typeface
(font) that is appropriate to the document's subject.
- Be consistent with your typeface
(font) choices throughout each document in the simulation.
This will help to establish a consistent look adding to the
professionalism of the document.
KEEP DOCUMENT DESIGN SYMMETRICAL
Creating balance and symmetry throughout a document is
critical to its final appearance. If, for example, you are
creating a document that contains three separate headings, keep
the type size of the headings relatively the same. Otherwise, your
document will look out of proportion giving it an amateur look and
feel. Follow these guidelines to keep your documents looking
balanced and in proportion:
- Use the same typefaces (fonts)
throughout each document to give the document a crisp, clean,
- If using columns, keep the width and the
distance between each column the same.
- Use the same style and
size of graphic images.
- Use the same type size for different
headings and the same type size for body areas.
MARGINS AND SPACING
All edges and margins of a document should be straight and
even. Don't overcrowd space, and be attentive to balance content
from top-to-bottom and side-margin to side-margin. If possible,
organize your text into columns, rather than stretching it across
the page. This will make the text easier to read and give the
document a more balanced appearance.
WORKING WITH GRAPHIC IMAGES
You've heard it a million times, "a picture is worth a
thousand words." How true this is when it comes to document
design. When selecting graphic images, try choosing those that
have the same look and style. For instance, let's say you're
designing the Frillio's Pizza menu and you've selected a graphic
image of a pizza that has a photographic style. Other graphics
that you choose to use in the menu should have the same
photographic quality in them. This helps to establish consistency
throughout the document and gives it a polished, professional
ESTABLISH A PROFESSIONAL
When businesses communicate through print, they rely heavily
on the look and design of their documents to convey their intended
image and identity to consumers.
To help Frillio's Pizza establish a
professional image throughout the simulation, you should:
- Use the same typefaces (fonts)
throughout the simulation.
- Use the same color scheme (if
using a color printer).
- Use the same style of objects
and design elements. For example, if you have selected a
starburst to highlight important information in one document,
consider using the same starburst in other documents.
- Use the same style graphic
PROOFREAD FOR SPELLING, GRAMMAR
Nothing spoils a well-designed document more than a typo. When
you are nearing the completion of a document, take the time to
proofread it for spelling, grammar, and design. Are there any
misspelled words? Do the sentences make sense? Did you leave out
any required text or design elements? These are the questions to
ask before submitting any document. A good piece of advice is to
give your document to one or two people and let them proofread the
document. Often they will find an error or omission that you
REVISE, REVISE, REVISE
Desktop publishing design is much like writing an essay. It
almost never comes out right the first time around. Look at your
starting point as just that, a starting point. Print your document
early on in the design phase and plan on making several revisions,
additions, and deletions to attain a professional, well-designed
WHEN IN DOUBT, "KIS"
This rule is simple. If you are spending precious time
pondering over using one graphic image versus the other or
haggling over selecting a particular font, then "KIS."
"KIS" is an acronym commonly used by designers. It
stands for "Keep It Simple." When faced with making a
decision, always go with the one that is simplest. If, for
instance, you are debating whether or not to include a graphic of
a slice of pizza or a complex graphic involving a family eating
pizza at a dinner table, choose the slice of pizza.
USING DESIGN ELEMENTS
On this Web site, you'll find a nifty visual entitled Elements
and Shapes That Inspire Great Design. Refer to this page and
experiment with using one or a combination of several of the
shapes and elements as you produce each document throughout the
MOST IMPORTANTLY--HAVE A PAPER
One of the worst habits a desktop publisher or designer can
establish is to start designing on a computer without first having
a plan on paper. Good design starts on paper first! A sheet of
paper, a pencil, and a ruler are the only tools you'll need to get
your imagination and creativity steamrolling. Look at it this
way--it is much easier, and faster, to experiment with shapes,
graphics, text styles, and borders on a piece of paper than on a
You can download the Document
Planning Sheet on this Web site by clicking