Pleasures of Design

Single column
Single column arrangements to the full width of the page will pack in plenty of text, but on an A4 page the line will be very tiring to read. A smaller page, for example A5, will of course impose its own limit on the length of line.

A single column with a noticeable difference between the margins can be very effective. The amount of text on the page will be slightly reduced but this will be more than compensated for by readibility.

If you put all the text on the eft of each page you can use the wide margin for side headings, illustrations or captions.

If most of the space goes into the back margins, there will be more room for the binding.

Two columns
Two-column arrangements can be very economical of space while still giving a comfortable reading length. But they can be rather dull and uninviting, particularly if the setting is justified and there are few sub-headings.

This very serviceable arrangement can be made to suit a wide range of documents but it does not give a lot of room to manoeuvre or give much opportunity for a lively layout, unless it is skilfully handled. Extra space at the top of the page, with chapter titles and running heads coming to the full height, can add interest to the layout, but be sure that you have enough room to carry it through consistently on every page.

more ... Page layout – Part 3