Tuesday, 19 February 2013


Van De Graaf - Canon

The Van De Graaf canon is a historical reconstruction of a method that they have been used in book design to divide a page into pleasing proportions. Also known as the 'secret canon' used in many medieval manuscripts, etc.

The construction of the canon works for any page width/height ratio.

Source: latebytes

Source: blogspot

"The canons of page construction are a set of principles in the field of book design used to describe the ways that page proportions, margins and type areas (print spaces) of books are constructed.
The notion of canons, or laws of form, of book page construction was popularized by Jan Tschichold in the mid to late twentieth century, based on the work of J. A. van de Graaf, Raúl M. Rosarivo, Hans Kayser, and others. Tschichold wrote, “Though largely forgotten today, methods and rules upon which it is impossible to improve have been developed for centuries. To produce perfect books these rules have to be brought to life and applied.” Kayser's 1946 Ein harmonikaler Teilungskanon had earlier used the term canon in this context.
Typographers and book designers apply these principles to this day, with variations related to the availability of standardised paper sizes, and the diverse types of commercially printed books.
The geometrical solution of the construction of Van de Graaf's canon, which works for any page width:height ratio, enables the book designer to position the text body in a specific area of the page. Using the canon, the proportions are maintained while creating pleasing and functional margins of size 1/9 and 2/9 of the page size. The resulting inside margin is one-half of the outside margin, and of proportions 2:3:4:6 (inner:top:outer:bottom) when the page proportion is 2:3 (more generally 1:R:2:2R for page proportion 1:R). This method was discovered by Van de Graaf, and used by Tschichold and other contemporary designers; they speculate that it may be older."
Source: Canons_of_page_construction

Golden Canon:

"Medieval manuscript framework according to Tschichold, in which a text area proportioned near the golden ratio is constructed. "Page proportion is 2:3, text area proportioned in the Golden Section."

Source: Canons_of_page_construction

"Tschichold's drawing of an octavo-format page proportioned in the golden ratio or golden section "34:21". The text area and margin proportions are determined by the starting page proportions.

These page proportions based on the golden section or golden ratio, are usually described through its convergence such as 2:3, 5:8, and 21:34."

"Tschichold's "golden canon of page construction" here illustrated by a synthesis of Tschichold's figure thereof, with the diagonals and circle, combined with Rosarivo's construction by division of the page into ninths. These two constructions rely on the 2:3 page ratio to give a type area height equal to page width as demonstrated by the circle, and result in margin proportions 2:3:4:6. For other page ratios, Rosarivo's method of ninths is equivalent to van de Graaf's canon, as Tschichold observed."

My own paper size using the fibonacci sequence, proportioned by Van De Graaf's canon.

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"In typographyleading (pron.: /ˈlɛdɪŋ/) refers to the distance between the baselines of successive lines of type. The term originated in the days of hand-typesetting, when thin strips of lead were inserted into the formes to increase the vertical distance between lines of type. The term is still used in modern page layout software such as QuarkX Press and Adobe InDesign.
In consumer-oriented word processing software, this concept is usually referred to as "line spacing" or "interline spacing."
Source: Leading

Column width is more than just design or format. It is also based on legibility. Printed collateral text is read by the eye of a distance of 30-35cm. According to the empirical rule there should be 7 words per line for a text of any length. To keep the type areas light and open in appearance we must consider the leading.

The vertical distance from line to line suits the size of the type.

Overlong text lines tire the lines, as do short ones. Readers find overlong lines strenuous to read. Short lines make your eye jump from line to line, so column width is very important.

Column widths with 12pt sans serif.

14pt leading.
A column is easy to read if it is wide enough to fit an average of 10 words per line.

15pt sans serif, 17pt leading.

20pt sans serif, 24pt leading.

The key is ease of reading. Text must not impair the rhythm of reading.. however, this rule will not work for advertising, titles and subtitles. Advertising functions require headings to standout and be absorbed by the eye.

Are columns just aesthetic creatures?

Source: Leading


Margins can have an influence on the overall feel of a page print. 
Too small; looks over full.
Too large; exaggeration.

3cmx4cm average.

Well balanced margins on the sides, head and tail can create an agreeable layout.

Well proportioned layouts intended to be the right hand page due to larger left margin. More applicable to literature rather than advertising, etc. The margins are luxurious but would this increase print costs?

Source: tenbyten

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