Organizing Space

Organizing Space


In this lesson you will learn to identify some of the basic components for organizing space in a layout.

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Notes on "Organizing Space"

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Hi, everyone. My name is Mario, and I'd like to welcome you to today's lesson on organizing space. So in today's lesson, we're going to learn how to identify some of the basic components for organizing space and layout. So, as always, feel free to pause, fast-forward, and rewind at your own pace. And then, when you're ready, let's jump in.

Learning about organizing layout space is the next logical step after the study of topography, letters, words, lines, and paragraphs. And there are a couple of elements we'll run through regarding layout, space, organization-- starting with the differences between displaying text type. Display is one of two general terms used to describe type size. Display type is larger than text and suitable for use in headline. You can see here.

Text is also known as bunny copy and one of two general terms used to describe type size. And text is type 12 points or smaller, which distinguishes it from headline. So you can see clearly that display would be used for headline and text would be the body of text. I know the terms for type can start to get confusing, but just try and distinguish these two visually by size.

So display type is type that is larger than text. Text type is type size 12 points or smaller. So again, you can see this in magazines or books where display is going to be used again for headlines or new chapters, and text is going to be acting as the rest of the body or reading material.

Speaking of magazines, let's use a magazine here as a visual example for our next few key terms, starting off with spread. Spread is quite simply the term used for two facing pages. So you've got page one and you've got page two. Pretty simple. Within here, you also have a margin, which is the white area between the main contents of the page and the page edges. An edge margin is going to help define where a line of text begins and where it ends.

If you've ever printed out a report or something for school using a common printer, you'll notice that text doesn't usually print out edge to edge. There's always a margin-- that empty white space that separates the body of text from the edges of page. Now in here, we also have what's called bleed, and bleed in the composition or layout elements which extend all the way to the edge of the picture frame. And you can see in our second page here with our scuba diver, whereas the contents of the first page fit within the page, our content in the second page extends all the way to the edges of the page.

Back in our first page, we have columns which are defined blocks of space that contain type or image. Columns are bordered by margins, and you can see our three columns that are quite defined, that contain type. And you'll notice they are bordered by margins again-- that nice white border that creates a nice frame around them. Those empty spaces between columns are called alleys-- and yes, even the spaces between columns have names. There are names for everything, but pretty simple here. Just imagine the columns as buildings and between buildings, you have alleyways. So, same concept here.

And no street is complete without a gutter, so we also have gutters here. A gutter is a space between the two adding pages. So when you combine two pages in a book, brochure, magazine or whatever, it's good to have a defined separation between the two, because it's going to allow for better printing. It's also going to allow for better reading of the material being presented for the viewer.

So you can see how all these different elements are being used, organized and combined in a way to create interesting, unique, and easy to read layouts for magazine, books, newspapers, and more. So take a gander next time you're reading a magazine or a book.

Well, that ends our lesson for today. We'll conclude with our key terms-- text, display, spread, bleed, column, alley, and gutter. And, as I mentioned, next time you find yourself reading a book or magazine or newspaper, compare them to sum up what we learned about today and how much more interesting is a layout when there are more or less columns. Or just how large of a role do margins and gutters play in readability, and how can you improve design by reorganizing space elements.

I hope you've enjoyed our lesson for today. My name is Mario, and I'll see you next lesson.

Notes on "Organizing Space"


Image of Magazine Spread, Creative Commons


Terms to Know

The space between columns.


In a composition, layout elements which extend all the way to the edge of the picture frame.


In a layout, a defined block of space that contains type or image. Columns are bordered by margins.


One of two general terms used to describe type size. Display type is larger than text and suitable for use in a headline.


The space between two adjoining pages.


The term for two facing pages.


Also known as body copy: one of two general terms used to describe type size. Text is type 12 points or smaller which distinguishes it from headlines.