Layout is about the graphic arrangement of informational content within various spaces, such as sheets of paper, web pages, posters, comic strips, etc.
Layout is between the work of collecting and composing the content or text and the printing phase of the text. The layout will therefore define elements such as the style of the text, the number and size of the columns, the positioning of the illustrations, etc.
The objective of any layout is to present content (text alone, or which can be accompanied by images, animations) in a harmonious and hierarchical manner, respecting a balance between colors, spaces, contrasts, the different areas, in order to make reading easy.
The layout includes elements and techniques such as typography, fonts; formatting and spacing, titling and drop caps, as well as skin and illustrations.
The shift from paper to digital media has greatly changed the way information is presented and arranged on a document, as the Canada WhatsApp Number List layout possibilities offered by text editing software are considerable compared to what can be expected. done manually.
In the rest of this article, we’ll focus on layout principles for digital media, comparing automatic layout and dynamic layout, before sifting through some of the best layout software. in page and DTP.
Automatic layout vs dynamic layout
– Automatic layout
In the field of automatic layout, there are two approaches: the model approach and the declarative approach.
The model approach
This is a very common type of layout in consumer office software, which includes layout templates or patterns with tables, columns, and many other presentation elements that are already organized and have of a predefined graphic charter . The advantage of this approach is that it requires very little learning and effort on the part of the user. The main negative point is that the models offered most often represent a very specific kind of publication, whether it is a report, a greeting card, a letter, which reduces the room for maneuver in terms of pure creation.
The declarative approach
Instead of using a pre-established template system as the model approach does, the declarative approach adopts a constructive logic in which several phases follow one another.
After the drafting or writing phase of the text, a layout is carried out with the various usual components such as the title, paragraphs, any tables and images.
Then comes a third phase, the goal of which will consist in producing a set of rules capable of describing the way in which the documentary model must be laid out.
The last phase involves an automated process that will generate the final document from the document model and the formatting rule base.
This approach, which establishes a strict separation between the content and the form of the document, has several advantages.
You can indeed obtain an appreciable graphic homogeneity and save time thanks to the same bases of rules which can be used for the layout of several documents. In addition, your content is easily accessible to other forms of automated processing.
– The dynamic layout
Dynamic type layout, unlike static processes which produce layouts frozen in time, aims to generate a specific and different layout when necessary, depending for example on the medium or the context.
With a dynamic layout, you can for example display the same content on paper, a computer screen, tablet, or on a smartphone.
These dynamic layout methods are based on processes of separation of form and content and are of course very widespread on the web. They use various technologies, such as CSS, HTML PHP, or JSP.
Software for your layout: what to choose?
Today there are a large number and variety of editing tools for formatting digital content, whether textual or multimedia.
There are three main families of page layout software:
1- word processors
Word processing software such as Microsoft Word, Google Docs or LibreOffice allow the layout and formatting of text on several pages and also add images or print your document.
2- DTP software
Desktop publishing software outperforms word processors because it offers advanced graphics and printing options.
3- graphics software:
This type of tool is more geared towards graphic creation, and graphics software are therefore logically more suited to the layout of documents in which the text does not continue from page to page.
Let’s take a look at some of the best desktop publishing software, which are some of the most used in publishing today:
– Adobe InDesign
InDesign is professional desktop publishing software that is currently used by most communication agencies, news publishers, and publishing houses. This tool can be used to publish all types of editorial products (books, magazines and journals).
It is a fairly complex software to learn which will not necessarily be suitable for beginners.
InDesign has many advantages, such as advanced management of OpenType fonts, multilingual support and remarkable integration possibilities with other tools offered by the “Adobe Creative Cloud” application set.
This software will also allow you to easily create interactive and multimedia documents including audio and video elements. Adobe InDesign supports exporting to EPUB and SWF formats, which allows you to create e-books and e-publications suitable for tablets. In addition to that, this software is able to handle XML format, style sheets and other markup codes, which makes it possible to export marked textual content in other formats, especially online.
InDesign is available as a monthly subscription. For $ 60 per month, you can treat yourself to Adobe Creative Cloud, which includes over 20 apps, including InDesign, Illustrator, Acrobat Pro, and Photoshop.