Ensuring graphic design enhances your text

Many authors are responsible for and control all aspects of their document, from the text to the design. But sometimes the text may be passed on to a graphic designer to lay out the document in software such as InDesign to make it look more professional or prepare it for printing.

It is important that the design or layout of the document enhances the text, and does not detract from it. Good design can strengthen the message, while bad design can ruin it.

Elements of design can include choice of fonts for text and headings, white space, colours, design of non-text elements such as tables, figures and diagrams, and size and placement of non-text elements. The design should enhance the text and help communicate the message to the audience.

Here’s how to ensure your text is enhanced by document design:

  • Finalise the text and structure before it goes to the designer.
  • Brief the designer on the audience and message of the document.
  • Do a test design and revise if required.
  • Check all non-text elements, such as diagrams, illustrations and photographs, carefully.
  • Allow sufficient time to check all elements of the designed document.

As well as editing text, editors can also review the design of a document for consistency and clear communication, and provide advice on all document elements.

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