Two Small Text Layout Ideas
Working at Paizo for the last few months, there are two concepts I’ve picked up on that I’m applying to other books down the road. They’re not mind-blowing ideas, but because we’re all learning this ad hoc, some techniques only get discovered as you’re working with different professionals.
Text Between Headers
If you look at Paizo products, you’ll see that wherever there’s a header, there’s at least one line of normal body copy between that at the next header. Usually it’s more substantial, but sometimes it’s just “The following may be selected at any level.” or similar.
The reason for this? It lets headers breathe on the page. They don’t run into each other, and it makes scanning on the page easier. So now when I’m working on a book, if the structure has me writing one header and then immediately after that a subheader, I stop to put something in between them. (Sometimes just “XXX” so that I know to come back to it later.)
Stop at H2s
We don’t go beyond second-level headers here, which blew my mind. As someone from a crunchy software background, getting deep with headers made sense. (I think we went down to H4s in some earlier Fate Core drafts, though not often.) So to see this limiter was interesting.
If there’s information breakdown after H2, it’s done in the body copy, with a bolded or italicized phrase & colon.
Here’s some more stuff!
Stuff 1: Stuff!
Stuff 2: More Stuff!
Stuff 3: Even more!
And you’ll notice that there’s a line in between the header and the further breakdown. (And the astute will notice that the colon isn’t styled.)
If you flip through some products (especially those over the last year, as the styles have evolved over time in both the editorial and art direction camps), you’ll see all sorts of little things like this. There’s so much I’ve learned here, which gets me fired up to come to work every day (aside from, you know, making games). Occasionally I’ll share what I’ve learned with y’all.