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Podcast -- Visual Composing: Document Design for Print and Digital Media, with Jo Mackiewicz

Mar 14, 2011 • podcasts, visual-communication

Visual Composing: Document Design for Print and Digital Media
Visual Composing: Document Design for Print and Digital Media

Recently Jo Mackiewicz (Auburn University) and Kathryn Riley (Illinois Institute of Technology) published Visual Composing: Document Design for Print and Digital Media with Pearson. This book covers the visual side of document design, including all the design decisions from the font you use to the colors you choose to the tables, column widths, images types, and more. I interviewed Jo for a podcast about the book. In the podcast, we cover the following:

  • Typography, including serif and san-serif fonts
  • Font sizes, and recommendations for older users
  • Characters per line -- 35, 55, 75, or 95 characters long
  • Color -- complementary colors, Itten's wheel, the psychology of color
  • Headings and subheadings
  • Background colors, negative and positive polarity
  • Contrast in document design
  • Dual-coding theory, and when aural and verbal conflict but not visual and verbal
  • Reasons for gaps in graphic document design among technical writers
  • File types for images
  • Alignment -- full justification versus ragged right
  • Symmetry and professional versus playful tone

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About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer based in the California San Francisco Bay area. Topics I write about on this blog include technical writing, authoring and publishing tools, API documentation, tech comm trends, visual communication, technical writing career advice, information architecture and findability, developer documentation, and more. If you're a professional or aspiring technical writer, be sure to subscribe to email updates using the form above. You can learn more about me here.