How to work with type and layout

It's not enough to focus only on how people perceive information. Having perceived, your audience members must understand. As Miles Tinker wrote in his 1963 book Legibility of Print, “reading without comprehension is not reading.”

To help your audience members understand, and to reflect and serve their needs, preferences, and abilities:

  • develop useful content
    • present just what your readers need, not everything you've got
  • write clearly
    • be consistent, precise, and concise
    • use language and reading level that are appropriate for your audience
    • present content in the order the readers need it
  • design clearly: stick to an effective design style sheet for consistency and clarity
    • set easy-to-read type
    • create an easy-to-navigate layout that shows where to begin reading, in what order to read the text that follows, and where to end
    • plan space between and around elements consistently
    • use color as an information-design tool, not as decoration
    • choose, crop, place, and caption photos to tell a story
    • design, label, and caption diagrams clearly
  • consider your audience's perspective, setting, context, needs, and abilities in your decisions (as you saw in the previous chapter), and test your project with your audience


This ad uses fuzzy type to make its point clearly, meaningfully, and memorably. But don't try it at home, or on any information-design ...

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