July 10, 2009 / Design

Section unity

Written by Darlene Blakely

Each section should have its own look. This look is created by designing elements that will be repeated on every spread in the section. This repetition makes the spreads in the section hold together. They become unified.

Elements that are commonly used to unify a section include: headline treatments, screens, rule lines, column formats, initial letters and section logotypes. Section editors are usually responsible for finalizing the elements to be used to unify their section.

By creating a distinct look for each part of the book, you serve your reader. After looking through the book a couple of times, he will be able to identify sections simply by looking at the unifying elements.

Unified layouts need not be monotonous. In fact, they should exhibit some variety. This can be achieved by changing the shape or position of the photographs and the unifying elements, such that they are still recognizable, but located in different areas of the page.

Examine these layouts to learn more about how to create clear signals for your reader, without making sections monotonous. Notice how these spreads have been unified by using a limited number of unifying elements. As always, less clutter does more for the overall design.

By creating a distinct look for each part of the book, you serve your reader.

Source: 1989 Razorback, “There’s 2 Sides to Every Story,” University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas. Gary Lundgren, adviser; Cheryl Duncan, Douglas Scott, Rhonda Overbey, Liz Vanzant and Chad Dillard, editors.
Unifying elements: headline design, screen surrounding group pictures, bar above this screen, section logo overlapping bar, and drop column under large initial letter of headline.
Variety created by: changing the headline placement, modifying the shape of group picture unit, changing the placement of section logo overlapping bar.
Source: 1987 Wyandotte, “Cut it Out,” Sylvania Northview High School, Sylvania, Ohio. Darlene Blakely, adviser; Chris Evans, editor-in-chief.
Unifying elements: headline design, photo essay, pulled quote, sidebar treatment.
Variety created by: changing the placement of the headline, sidebar and photo essay.

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Darlene Blakely