Constructing Page Layouts

Task 1

The first task we were asked to complete was to take a printed paragraph and manually improve its composition.


My first step was to use the recommended number of characters per line (39-45). This is meant to be the optimum line length for text to avoid having the reader lose their focus. I drew a line with a ruler as a placement guide in order to maintain their alignment. I then cut out and placed each line individually, the line lengths did not divide equally from the original, this meant I frequently found myself cutting out small groups of text or even individual words. The placement of the lines had to be precise to maintain even leading. This was very time consuming. I felt that the text was too large to be one paragraph and so I chose to split it into two, my two main considerations while doing this were to not cutoff a too closely connected sentence from the former sentence, and to make the two paragraphs roughly equal in size.

I am satisfied with the outcome, my only issue was with the less than stellar rag created in the second paragraph. Although without changing the content I was limited by the words I had to work with and the line length I had chosen.

Task 2

For the second task we were asked to create various page layouts using cutouts of our choice from various magazines and newspapers. Our choices were –

  • Symmetrical Landscape
  • Asymmetrical Landscape
  • Symmetrical Portrait
  • Asymmetrical Portrait

We were asked to create any three of these.

Asymmetrical Portrait

 First Piece

My first attempt was an asymmetrical portrait. I found three images in an article that had matching dimensions and attempted to create a pattern layout. In concept this was promising. However I failed to consider where my text would go in relation to the images and the pattern therefore suffered. I did attempt to use some of the significant negative space and fill it with an image which gave a level of depth to the article as an image. The overall effect was acceptable but not a personal favorite.

Asymmetrical Landscape

Second Piece

This attempt was of an asymmetrical landscape. I decided to use a single large image as the primary focus of the piece, centered to give the piece a solid structure for me to add to. I chose to add a black text box as seen in magazines to appear to give context to the image. My title and text block are left aligned to the image to give a simple, clean cut overall look. as an extra touch I added a floating quotation for further image context.

This second piece was a definite improvement on the first, while still including large amounts of negative space, it is evenly distributed and orderly. The contrast also works against the thick block of visual information in the center. I also like the way the image is the primary point around which the other elements collect.

Symmetrical Portrait

 Third Piece

This attempt was a symmetrical portrait. In this piece I decided to have a text heavy layout with the text box defining the symmetrical layout. In all of the pieces I’ve created in this task I’ve been limited by time and the number of elements I was asked to use (between 3 & 5). This is by a wide margin, my favorite of the three pieces I’ve created. The bold, black heading and the equally dark image of a dog contrast well with the negative space surrounding them both and with the bright red of the subheadings. I am also proud of the cutting down of the text I did to allow for the dog to appear to be layered on top of it. This and the block text ‘MAGNIFICENT’ lend a three dimensional effect to the piece as a whole.

Task 3

For this task we were asked to work in pairs, evaluating each other’s work and selecting the weakest of the others pieces. My partner for this was Ben. He and I both agreed that my weakest piece was the asymmetrical portrait I had created first. I therefore took that piece and created a photocopy. The task was to cut out the photocopy and rearrange the elements to improve the page design.


Before I could begin working on the new piece, I began drawing up some quick preliminary sketches to help guide me. Using these I made several changes and overall, feel I improved the design significantly.

I decided to leave to heading where it was, i saw no easy way of improving the positioning. My major changes were to give the images and text boxes a tiled appearance giving them an asymmetrical pattern far preferable to the one I had previously used. I also lowered the subheading to reduce the top heavy nature of the page. My final change was to adjust the lamp image and use a pencil to outline where I wanted it to extend through the text boxes from behind, perhaps with a reduced opacity.

Overall I feel the second incarnation of this page layout is far superior to the first. The spacing is far more uniform and the page is less lopsided. The major change I would make further is to extend the lamp image further down the page and into the negative space in order to break it up somewhat.


Author: David Rothwell

I am a Graphic Communication student at Cardiff Metropolitan School of Art and Design If you like any of my work, have feedback (good or bad) or would like to get in touch, please do

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