FMP: Designing the layout for Chapter 2

For this blog post, I will be discussing the process behind designing the layout for the book’s second chapter. Of course, it is important that it has some similarities to the book’s first chapter, but it must have its own identity to best suit the information it has to present.


Deciding what information to show

From looking through the photographs taken of the Universe book, I decided it made most sense to split it into two sections, ‘History & Meaning’ for all the mythological information, and ‘The Stars’ for the information about specific stars.

The next decision to make was whether to include the various galaxies and nebulas that can be visible if you are using a powerful telescope. I chose not to include them, as it would have added a lot of extra information, and I wanted to create a guide that could be enjoyed by an audience who may not even know much about astronomy. People who have a deep interest and knowledge will be satisfying their thirst for information elsewhere anyway.

There was a lot of information to compact down into a small section, so it was a case of placing the photographs of each constellation I had taken onto the relevant page and then make notes, from which I could put together the text.

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This process took a long time and was very laborious, but in the end it was a job that needed doing, and I learnt a lot about the Greek mythology which I’ve never had much knowledge of, and reading about the stars has put ideas in my head about how to approach the introductory spread for the second chapter. I am definitely thinking information relating to their classification will be needed.


Where to put the information

With the heading and sub-headings at the top of the page, it made sense for it to be there, but initially I was unsure about how the page was weighted.

The audience’s attention will always fall just above the centreline as when we take in pages at a glance, our top-down visual hierarchy will bias our view. Therefore this made me think that if the layout placed the text at the bottom and the illustration above, then your eye would naturally fall just to where it was.

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However, with the differing line lengths of the heading and sub-heading, it would give an unusual misbalance to the top of the page, so I felt it was better to place the text at the top, and the illustration at the bottom, especially with a rough Golden Ratio (1:1.618) occurring on the page.

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So in the end I went back to a more conventional, but better orientated page that I now think, when the bold illustrations are placed in, will provide a really good balance to the page.

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Conclusion & Next Step

This blog post is much shorter than expected, as this has been a much smoother and easier process than I thought it would be, and there is no point over-developing something if it is just right. However, the time that was taken was necessary to process all of the information ready to place into the book.

Well now that I have decided on the layout of the page for the book’s second chapter, I need to progress with the illustrations as it is really these that will form the backbone of this chapter.

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