I’ve been meaning to write up Jean-luc Doumont’s excellent Visual Structure workshop that I attended at STC Atlanta’s Currents 2008 conference.
With the birth of my second kid looming, I know I won’t find time, so here are some sound bites from my notes.
- Fight against sequencing.
- The only cross-cultural issue that matters to doing business: what does “yes” mean for all cultures involved?
- When faced with a design/layout problem, resist the urge to add ink. Adding ink will not solve the problem.
- Too much freedom is bad for you. Design requires structure and rules.
- If people notice/comment on the design, it is doing a disservice to the content.
- “I have found that all the ugly things are made by those who strive to make something beautiful, and that all beautiful things are made by those who strive to make something useful.” –Oscar Wilde
- Tables of contents work best with only two levels at the front of the book, then an additional two levels in another table of contents at the chapter level.
- Do not let your software help you. Intentionally set all options related to design (especially sizing issues).
- Round bullets throw off alignment. Use square or right-pointing triangles instead.
- Seven-plus-or-minus-two is based on outdated research that was not specifically examining groupings in documents. Doumont says 3-5 is better (3 optimal, 5 maximum).