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Why are printed texts laid out in specific ways? And why is the column format the most commonly used for laying out text on a page? The answer to all of these questions has to do with page layouts.

What is a page layout?

A page layout is a system of horizontal and vertical spaces used to lay out a page.

Four white spaces on the edges of a page define where you should place text. The inner margin, for example, is always bigger than the outer margin, just as the upper margin is almost always bigger than the lower margin.

The most common page layout usually comprises one central column. For example, this format is used for novels, essays, and poetry books.

grid layout

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Types of page layouts

Obviously, not all texts use a simple single-column layout. To improve the efficacy of particular text types, you sometimes need to use specific types of page layouts.

Multi-column page layouts

A two-column page layout comprises one main difference compared to a single-column layout: a central white space that divides the text into two smaller columns.

This layout is commonly used for texts that need to be consulted often and quickly, such as dictionaries and glossaries.

Symmetrical page layouts

A symmetrical page layout comprises two identical pages. Essentially, when you open a book, the layout of the text on the left page will be identical to the text on the right page.

This layout is primarily used in long books that do not contain pictures. Obviously, there can be slight differences between one page layout and another, such as when dividing sections into paragraphs and inserting titles and headings.

Asymmetrical page layouts

Textbooks, such as school books, often contain pictures and diagrams, which need to be inserted alongside or within the text that describes or refers to them.

As you may have guessed, these types of page layouts cannot always be symmetrical. In these cases, page layouts will often vary in terms of text and images to create a reading experience that is visually dynamic and interesting.

What is the point of using whitespace in page layouts?

Often underestimated, whitespace performs the critical function of improving readers’ visual experience and preventing their eyes from getting tired while reading.

You can use Eurotrad’s publishing and layout services on all text types. We use a variety of page layouts and can recommend the most suitable one for your next publishing project.

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