One of the principles of design, consistency is the adherence to the uniform use of fonts, colors, alignment, and other design elements throughout a page layout or document. Consistency is often paired with repetition in a discussion of good graphic design principles.
Examples of Consistency in Desktop Publishing
- Using the same font (typeface, font size, and font color) for all top level headlines throughout a newsletter.
- Placing all page numbers in the same location on the page throughout a publication.
- Using the same method of paragraph spacing (indent, space below, etc.) for all paragraphs of text in an article.
- Using the same (or only slight variations of) underlying grid for every page in a newsletter or each side of a brochure.
- Creating all business cards for an organizations with the same basic layout and paper.
Ensuring Consistency in Desktop Publishing Documents
Grids help maintain consistency in placement of page numbers, footers and headers, other repeating elements, and in consistency in column widths and margins.
A grid, used consistently on all pages of a multi-page document, makes it easier for the designer to provide the consistent look that readers often expect. A carefully conceived grid system also allows the designer to introduce variations without forsaking readability or consistency. It also speeds layout because it takes the guesswork and "look back to see what we did before" out of where to place elements from one page to the next. -- Grids: Consistency & Unity
Style sheets help maintain consistency in the use of fonts, font styles, and font color, paragraph alignment and indents, leading, and hyphenation throughout a document.
Not only does the use of styles save time, if helps eliminate errors. When manually changing attributes across a lengthy document, especially multiple changes, it can be easy to overlook entire paragraphs or buried bits of text that should change. The use of styles helps insure that changes are applied consistently and completely. -- Using Style Sheets in Desktop Publishing