Pleasures of Design

Running heads and page numbers

This is also the point in the page design to decide the treatment and positioning of the running heads and page numbers (folios). Their position should be in keeping with the style of the rest of the document. So if the layout is symmetrical, then the heads and page numbers will look best if they are centred. But if the layout is off centre then the folios can be pushed out to the extreme left and right on the pages. This helps readers when they are flipping through to find a page number. By the same token it is no help tothe reader if the folios are hidden away in the backs.

The typographical treatment of running heads will depend on the style of the rest of the document. They are purely for reference so they should not dominate the rest of the page or be confused with subheading. If they are fairly short they might be in small caps (capitals a size smaller than the text) if they are available. Longer heads will probably work better in upper and lower case – possibly italic.

Folios can be the same size as the text or a point size smaller, with at least a line space between the number and the nearest text line. In any case, their position should be consistent throughout the document, no matter how much text there is on the page.

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