Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Document Design

What is a good document?

As Anderson (1987) states that a good document design is to help readers read efficiently with the emphasis on the critical contents and the encouragement to readers to feel good about communication. (Putnis & Petelin, 1996)

In Schriver (1997) readings, prose and graphics are as one as a part of the body text in order to help readers enhance while reading the text. Kress and van Leeuwen (2006) also stated that texts and images work together. In Figure 1.0, there were only texts but no images. With images, it could enhance the understanding for the readers.

Figure 1.0

In Figure 1.0, is a great example of being too wordy with no image to balance. Utilizing images in slides can help enhance the audiences' understanding. As stated by Reep (2006), proportion is to use equal amount of spaces so that it is not monotonous for readers.

Moving on Figure 1.1, is an example image of the earlier sub topic, but no sub-headings were injected in the slides. We have come to learn that headings on documents are essential to avoid misguided information to the audiences.

Figure 1.1

In Reep's (2006) reading, the principles of design are the qualities that are important to any visual presentation regardless to the topic or the audience. With reference to the principles of a good document, Reep (2006) opines organizing headings are the sequencing of information is the first attraction to readers. Headings are the foremost important substance in a document. It is a head start to audiences on what is about to come (necessary information).

In order to produce a good document design, it must include necessary effects such as italics, bold, underlining on headings or sub headings on documents in order to create a better deciphering. (Nielson, 1997) This is because there are readers who only schemes through and would be beneficial to them as the main points would be obvious. Example, Figure 1.2 shows a great example on important measures in the slides to capture readers' attention. This also means that those that are in bold letters are important information.

Figure 1.2


1. Kress, G. & van Leeuwen, T 2006, Reading images. Chapter 1: The semiotic landscape: language and visual communication.

2. Nielsen, J 1997, How Users Read on the Web, viewed 10 September 2009, <www.useit.com/alertbox/9710a.html>

3. Putnis, P & Petelin, R 1996, ‘Writing to communicate’, in Professional communication: principles and applications, Prentice Hall, Sydney, pp. 223-263.

4. Reep, Diana C. 2006, ‘Chp 4: Principles of Document Design,’ in Technical Writing, 6th ed., Pearson Edu, Inc., New York, p.173-190.

5. Schriver, K.A 1997, 'The interplay of words and pictures', Dynamics in document design : creating texts for readers, p. 361-441, Wiley Computer Pub, New York.


The purpose of this blog is for those who are interested in the principles of design. It is targeted to those in communication and working adults who can relate and refer to the above subject. Updates on this blog will give out reviews, examples and notes with regards to the issues of publication and design.