Format Tips

Read these 5 Format Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Graphic Design tips and hundreds of other topics.

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What is the Golden Mean?

Rule of Thirds/Golden Means

Imagine your format divided into thirds both horizontally and vertically (this is where a grid comes in handy). The intersections of these imaginary lines suggest four options for placing the center of interest for good composition. The option you select depends upon the subject, your colors, direction and depth and how you would like that subject to be presented. If you are designing for web and are using 100% width, remember that your "rule of thirds" will be shot, since different browsers and resolutions will vary your layout. You can use a table with defined widths to overcome this problem.

How do I find out more about the design of web sites?

More Web Gurus!

The graphic design connection to web design is called the "UI" or User Interface. You may see this defined as "GUI" or Graphic User Interface. A UI or GUI designer needs to know the restrictions and capabilities of the web before designing. Web color, illustration (graphics), and the size needed for the range of browser are all facts you need to know before designing the site. To learn more about designing for the web, visit my fellow gurus at or

How do I know my layout is good across all browsers?

Testing Layout

The web is defined as "new media". You wouldn't design a television commercial for a magazine, would you? Then don't design a brochure for the web. The format for a web site is the "browser" in which you view the site. You don't know what format your viewers will be using, so there's no way to know how your design looks to others unless you test your design in all the formats (browsers) available. If your design works great in Internet Explorer, don't pop the cork on that bubbly yet - check out your site in Netscape, WebTV, AOL, and many other browsers on the market. Then, and maybe then, you can sigh in relief. Maybe.

How do keep the viewer´s eye focused on my layout?

Leading the Viewer's Eye

Magazine page layout is designed to either lead the viewer to the next page (as in articles), or keep the eye focused on the same page (advertisements). You may even be competing for the viewer's attention in a display ad on a portion of the page. If you use an illustration, have the object facing into the article. On the right-hand page (facing the page), your illustration would be appearing to look left. And visa-versa. People tend to look in the direction of an object's "eyes". Just try standing on a busy street and look up at the sky. How many people around you look up to see what you're seeing?

How do I design for magazine layout?

Single Page/Double Truck

When you design for magazines you need to consider your audience, the message you want to send, and the size of the layout. You may be designing only a portion of the page, or you may be illustrating across two pages. The single page or double truck (two-page) layout are appropriate for both articles and advertising. If you are designing an article with illustration, consider the elements of advertising - if any - on the page. How will it affect your layout?

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