Don't Flip That Page!

the original layout

my rebuilt layout

The first time I flipped through my February InStyle magazine, I almost skipped over this article, lazily eager to move on to spreads with bigger, more appealing photos of fabulous clothes. However, just as I was about to turn the page, the pullout quote on the second page (located right above the spot where my fingers were as I nearly flipped the page) grabbed my attention. A good move on the part of the designer, I must say. And even though I found thought of Tabasco-sauce-themed ties somewhat discomforting, I was intrigued and turned my attention back to the first page to read the article, which proved to be entertaining after all.

It turns out that the schematically placed pullout quote isn’t the only good decision the designer made. The four-column layout is balanced and visually attractive. The designer also skillfully controlled the reader’s eye movement. For example, I was first attracted to the quote, then the illustration under the quote, which then shifted my view to the similar illustration on the first page, leaving me at the top of the article, ready to read. The layout has a uniform theme. It repeats two fonts throughout the different text elements. The colors are also repeated in both text and illustrations. The designer also gave the article a casual feel with the use of sketchy illustrations and small details along the spine and edges of the pages that look like the edges and binding of a notebook.

The designer also dealt with the large amount of copy well. The use of a serif font makes it easy to read, as does the dark, contrasting text color. Although the text is justified, there are no large spacing gaps or over-hyphenation, making the text more visually appealing. The drop cap was used correctly: only in the first paragraph of the article to help draw the reader into the story. So although I was initially apt to skip this article, its visual appeal drew me in and made me read what proved to be an amusing story.

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