July 20, 2009 / Design

Advanced formats: plus columns

Written by Darlene Blakely

4 Plus
4 Plus
9 x 12 Trim Size: 22 regular, 9 plus
8 1/2 x 11 Trim Size: 20 regular, 12 plus
7 3/4 x 10 1/2 Trim Size: 18 regular, 12 plus

5 Plus

5 Plus
9 x 12 Trim Size: 18 regular, 6 plus
8 1/2 x 11 Trim Size: 16 regular, 11 plus
7 3/4 x 10 1/2 Trim Size: 15 regular, 8 plus

6

6 Plus
9 x 12 Trim Size: 12 regular, 23 plus
8 1/2 x 11 Trim Size: 11 regular, 24 plus
7 3/4 x 10 1/2 Trim Size: 10 regular, 22 plus.

7 Plus

7 Plus
9 x 12 Trim Size: 10 regular, 24 plus
8 1/2 x 11 Trim Size: 9 regular, 26 plus
7 3/4 x 10 1/2 Trim Size: not suggested

4 Plus, Plus

4 Plus, Plus
9 x 12 Trim Size: 18 regular, 10 plus
8 1/2 x 11 Trim Size: 17 regular, 11 plus
7 3/4 x 10 1/2 Trim Size: 15 regular, 10 plus

5 Plus, Plus

5 Plus, Plus
9 x 12 Trim Size: 11 regular, 20 plus
8 1/2 x 11 Trim Size: 10 regular, 20 plus
7 3/4 x 10 1/2 Trim Size: 9 regular, 18 plus

6 Plus, Plus

6 Plus, Plus
9 x 12 Trim Size: 12 regular, 8 plus
8 1/2 x 11 Trim Size: 12 regular, 8 plus
7 3/4 x 10 1/2 Trim Size: 11 regular, 8 plus

7 Plus, Plus

7 Plus, Plus
9 x 12 Trim Size: 9 regular, 15 plus
8 1/2 x 11 Trim Size: 8 regular, 16 plus
7 3/4 x 10 1/2 Trim Size: not suggested

After you have mastered basic columns (4, 6, 8, etc.), you may want to use plus columns in your layouts. Usually one-half or twice the size of other columns on the spread, plus columns allow you to create a wide variety of formats.

Rules of basic design dictate that internal margins must be consistent and no white pace should be trapped. Plus columns are an exception to that rule. If well-designed, the white space in a plus column will not appear as an error in design judgment.

The position of the plus column(s) will vary depending on the designer’s preference and intent. Regardless of its position, a plus column usually remains unoccupied except for one or two elements.


However the column is used, it must be used consistently throughout the section


Plus columns may contain large initial letters, a logo, small photographs, pulled quotes or rule lines. Plus columns may also be absorbed by a larger photograph.

However the column is used, it must be used consistently throughout the section. Generally, plus columns to the outside are not filled, and provide an extra column of white space for dramatic effect.


If well-designed, the white space in a plus column will not appear as an error in design judgment.


How to use plus columns:

  • Use two plus columns to the outside of the spread as accent columns.
  • Use one plus column to the outside as an accent column, with another one moved to the inside, and marked by a small photo, unique caption or graphic device.
  • Use one or both plus columns to the inside, with little photographs, captions or graphic devices within.
  • Let one plus column be absorbed by a picture.
  • © 1999 Walsworth Publishing Company/Darlene Blakely

    Darlene Blakely