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What are the Rules of Desktop Publishing?



Use one space.; | All the FAQs: Career & Business | Software | Design & Layout | Graphics | Type & Fonts | Prepress & Printing

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There are some instances where centered text may be appropriate such as invitations and certificates.

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No cheesy clip art and use less clip art.

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Question: What are the Rules of Desktop Publishing?


While there are no hard and fast rules, there are guidelines, best practices, and tried and true methods of arranging a page and doing desktop publishing that result in attractive pages that effectively communicate the intended message.


Answer: Below, you'll find my personal selection of 12 Rules of Desktop Publishing:

  1. Use Only One Space After Punctuation
    In most cases, one space at the end of a sentence is the best choice for typeset material.


  2. Don't Use Double-Hard Returns After Paragraphs
    With today's word processors and page layout applications it is possible to precisely control the amount of space between paragraphs.


  3. Use Fewer Fonts
    A generally accepted practice is to limit the number of different typefaces to three or four.


  4. Use Ragged-Right or Fully Justified Text Appropriately
    If someone insists that fully justified text is better than left-aligned text, tell them they are wrong.


  5. Use Centered Text Sparingly
    When in doubt, don't center it.


  6. Balance Line Length with Type Size
    If the desired size of type and the line length used in the page layout are incompatible, one of them needs to change.


  7. Use All Caps with the Right Fonts
    In print, shouting is never worse than when it is done with decorative or script typefaces.


  8. Use Proper Typographical Punctuation
    Proper punctuation marks give your documents professional polish.


  9. Use Frames, Boxes, Borders with a Purpose
    A frame loses its ability to emphasize blocks of text if every other block on the page is boxed.


  10. Use Less Clip Art
    Use clip art with moderation and with purpose.


  11. Use More White Space
    White space provides visual breathing room for the eye.


  12. Reset Software Document Defaults
    While the default settings for documents are designed to help you get started faster, relying on them for the final look of your document is usually not a good idea.


These rules are suggestions, guidelines. In most cases they will help you improve your documents. However, also consider Following the Rules vs. Questioning the Rules. Don't follow blindly.

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