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Parts of a Document


Before and After Page Design

Spread from the book Before and After Page Design

Photo by J. Bear
The parts of almost any kind of a document can be broken down into five main sections: Artwork, Titles, Body, Navigation, and Credits. Not every document will contain all these parts or may contain only some aspects of each.


Even before reading the headlines, readers are often drawn to the visuals on a page. Both the choice of images and their placement within a document provide information about the document, its purpose, and its organization.
Artwork - The Visual Elements of a Document


Typically headlines and titles are larger and more prominent than other text. These visual cues signal the start of a book, a magazine, an article, or a major division in a publication such as chapter of a book or a sub-section of a report.
Titles - The Headline Elements of a Document


Body copy is the main text found in the publications we read. It is the text of the stories and articles. Body copy is not the headlines. Beyond the actual words, the body of a document uses paragraph and character emphasis and organizational elements to aid in the reading and comprehension of the material.
Body - The Words or Text Elements of a Document


Longer publications such as books, newsletters, and annual reports need some way to help readers find specific information within the document. From a table of contents to page numbers, sectional elements provide a means of navigating through and finding specific portions of a document.
Navigation - The Sectional Elements to Aid in Getting Around in a Document


Different types of publications have credits or other informational elements that contain such items as the name of the advertiser, publisher, or other entity, an address, a logo, copyright information, and other notices. The number of parts and where it appears varies by publication type.
Credits - The Informational or Supplemental Elements of a Document

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