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Choosing a page size and setting margins

From: InDesign Typography

Video: Choosing a page size and setting margins

In this chapter, we are going to look at some of the more macro issues involved in working with Type in InDesign, starting with the page sizes and the margins. Then we are going to go on to columns and to see how we can work with text in columns and have our baselines of type cross the line across those columns using a baseline grid. But let's begin with page sizes and margins. I have here a diagram of some common page sizes and their aspect ratios, the relative size of the shortest side to the longest side.

Choosing a page size and setting margins

In this chapter, we are going to look at some of the more macro issues involved in working with Type in InDesign, starting with the page sizes and the margins. Then we are going to go on to columns and to see how we can work with text in columns and have our baselines of type cross the line across those columns using a baseline grid. But let's begin with page sizes and margins. I have here a diagram of some common page sizes and their aspect ratios, the relative size of the shortest side to the longest side.

And the aspect ratio is important because it's going to very much influence how you can scale the images and integrate those images with your type. Of course, another consideration we have is that we're not just designing for print these days, but also designing for screen. And all five of these print scenarios assume that we are working with a facing pages document. And a facing pages document will usually imply that you have an outer margin bigger than an inner margin, simply because the outer margin is where you hold the book or the magazine, so you need room for your thumbs.

It's an obvious point, but one worth making. Of course, the inner margin is important. It needs to be big enough so that when the book or the magazine is bound we don't lose any important information in that inner margin in this file. With a screen document, however, we don't have the same considerations, and you're more likely to find with a screen document that the margins are even on all four sides. And the same would be true of a single-sided document, like a poster or a business card or a flyer.

So I am going to now run through some steps to creating a page and setting up the margins, and this is just one of many approaches, but I will explain my logic here. I'm going to use a Page Size that is 8.25 inches by 11 inches. Now the reason I'm using that Page Size is that that page is at an Aspect Ratio of 3:4. If I know ahead of time that the print document I create is going to be repurposed and made into a screen document, I am going to save myself a lot of work and make that transition easier if I use the same Aspect Ratio, that's why I have chosen this size.

Next, we come to choose our columns, and I am not going to choose the columns here, rather I will do that on the master pages of the document itself. And likewise with the margins, I am not going to choose the margins here, in fact I am going to zero out the margins for now. I think that too often people come to the New Document dialog box, they are keen to get on and do whatever is they are doing and they make a decision about the margins, and that decision then follows them. And it's a very important decision, so I really want to take a methodical approach to setting up the margins.

So I will click OK, and there is my blank page with absolutely nothing on it. I will now go to my Master pages, a pair of Master pages since I am working with a facing pages document. The size of my page, its height is 66 picas. I have mentioned several times before how everything is related to everything else. And this is no exception. I know in advance that I would like to use a Leading value for my type of 12 points, which means that with a page height of 66 picas, I can get exactly 66 lines from top to bottom. Of course, I am not going to go from top to bottom, but that's the maximum number of lines I can have.

I would actually like to use 55 lines, and the reason for that will become clear a bit later on, but I want to use 55 lines, so I'm going to subtract 11 picas from my total page height. And I am going to do that in my Margins and Columns. I need to make sure that this link is broken so that I can set the margins independently. Now I am going to have my page information on the bottom, my folio will be on the bottom. So I'm going to make that bigger than the top, and that extra space will accommodate the page information.

So now when I press my Tab key, we can see I have a top and a bottom margin and my type area is now 55 picas or 55 lines in height. In keeping with my 3:4 Aspect Ratio, I am going to have my Inside and Outside margins be in proportion to my top and bottom. So if my top and bottom is 11 total margin, I am going to divide that by 4, which gives me 2.75, and then multiply that by 3, which gives me 8.25, so eight and one-quarter picas, or eight picas and three points, is the total amount that I want a lot to my Inside and Outside margin.

I am going to make my Inside margin 3 picas, making sure that that is enough so that I don't lose information in the binding. And the remainder, I will give to the Outside margin 5 picas and 3 points. Now in doing that, I have established a type area, i.e., the area within the margins that isn't the same aspect ratio as my page itself. And I think that that's going to mean that my margins provide a much more harmonious frame to my type area than they would had they been just randomly chosen.

And just to prove my point, I'm going to draw a rectangle over my page, and I will just fill that, and we'll make sure that it's exactly at the right size, 49 picas and 6 points and 66 picas high, 0 value for the X and the Y. So I now should be able to scale this and have it fit exactly within my type area. I am going to hold down Command and Shift so that I scale it proportionally.

And there we can see that it fits exactly within my type area. So that is just one approach to creating your margins, it's not the definitive approach, but it is an approach that I have found useful.

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This video is part of

Image for InDesign Typography
InDesign Typography

107 video lessons · 20195 viewers

Nigel French
Author

 
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  1. 4m 4s
    1. Welcome
      55s
    2. Using the exercise files
      51s
    3. Customizing the workspace for type
      2m 18s
  2. 55m 41s
    1. Working with text frames
      8m 26s
    2. Using a primary text frame (CS6 only)
      3m 59s
    3. Understanding text flow methods
      6m 25s
    4. Understanding text threads
      3m 40s
    5. Understanding Smart Text Reflow
      2m 27s
    6. Mocking up pages with placeholder text
      5m 47s
    7. Placing multiple text files
      3m 50s
    8. Using Auto-Size text frames (CS6 only)
      4m 1s
    9. Copying and pasting vs. placing
      2m 25s
    10. Cleaning up text with Find/Change
      5m 46s
    11. Using the Story Editor
      3m 41s
    12. Spanning columns
      5m 14s
  3. 45m 50s
    1. Choosing your type
      6m 46s
    2. Understanding text essentials
      6m 37s
    3. Scaling type
      2m 27s
    4. Using italic and oblique type
      4m 33s
    5. Working with condensed and extended type
      4m 26s
    6. Setting type in all caps
      3m 46s
    7. Setting type in small caps
      4m 21s
    8. Underlining type
      4m 11s
    9. Using superscript and subscript
      4m 35s
    10. Applying baseline shift
      4m 8s
  4. 16m 6s
    1. Understanding type anatomy
      3m 25s
    2. Exploring serif and sans serif
      2m 48s
    3. Comparing points, picas, and ems
      8m 34s
    4. What's in a name?
      1m 19s
  5. 16m 27s
    1. Setting leading
      4m 56s
    2. Avoiding auto-leading
      4m 12s
    3. Leading shortcuts and preferences
      4m 7s
    4. Using autoleading with inline graphics
      3m 12s
  6. 21m 25s
    1. Defining kerning and tracking
      2m 5s
    2. Understanding kerning methods
      5m 10s
    3. When and how to kern
      5m 53s
    4. When and how to track
      8m 17s
  7. 45m 48s
    1. Working with quotes, primes, and apostrophes
      8m 16s
    2. Using dashes
      5m 24s
    3. Using ellipses
      2m 56s
    4. Working with accents and special characters
      4m 1s
    5. Using space characters
      4m 15s
    6. Working with ligatures
      4m 29s
    7. Setting fractions
      3m 56s
    8. Using lining and proportional numerals
      2m 49s
    9. Using alternates, swashes, and ornaments
      5m 2s
    10. Working with optical sizes
      4m 40s
  8. 57m 20s
    1. Understanding alignment
      3m 47s
    2. Working with left-aligned type
      3m 24s
    3. Working with justified type
      7m 5s
    4. Using Optical Margin Alignment
      3m 39s
    5. Determining column width
      4m 53s
    6. Working with center alignment
      5m 36s
    7. Working with right alignment
      1m 22s
    8. Aligning to or away from the spine
      1m 50s
    9. Understanding the Paragraph Composer and Single-line Composer
      3m 44s
    10. Combining alignments
      9m 20s
    11. Using hanging punctuation
      2m 13s
    12. Working with vertical alignment
      10m 27s
  9. 14m 9s
    1. Using first-line indents
      2m 26s
    2. Using indent alternatives
      2m 3s
    3. Working with left and right indents
      4m 0s
    4. Using last-line indents and outdents
      1m 26s
    5. Using paragraph spacing
      4m 14s
  10. 23m 19s
    1. Setting hyphenation
      6m 14s
    2. Working with line breaks and discretionary hyphens
      4m 48s
    3. Balancing ragged lines
      1m 36s
    4. Using the No Break feature and non-breaking characters
      2m 52s
    5. Using frame, column, and page breaks
      3m 42s
    6. Defining Keep Options
      4m 7s
  11. 37m 53s
    1. Understanding tabs
      8m 58s
    2. Considerations for table text
      3m 55s
    3. Table tips and tricks
      11m 55s
    4. Creating a bulleted list
      6m 50s
    5. Creating a numbered list
      3m 46s
    6. Creating a multi-level numbered list
      2m 29s
  12. 23m 12s
    1. Understanding drop caps
      11m 3s
    2. Navigating tricky drop caps
      5m 14s
    3. Using a nested character style with a drop cap
      3m 59s
    4. Other uses of drop caps
      2m 56s
  13. 1h 11m
    1. Understanding paragraph and character styles
      7m 13s
    2. Creating, applying, and editing styles
      7m 3s
    3. Removing overrides
      4m 58s
    4. Creating and applying character styles
      5m 4s
    5. Creating and applying nested styles
      12m 30s
    6. Using GREP styles (regular expressions)
      4m 8s
    7. Creating and applying sequential styles
      6m 19s
    8. Using paragraph rules creatively
      11m 48s
    9. Mapping Word styles
      6m 12s
    10. Working with anchored objects and object styles
      6m 24s
  14. 25m 30s
    1. Applying a text wrap
      6m 7s
    2. Making items ignore a text wrap
      1m 46s
    3. Using text wraps for flexible layouts
      3m 2s
    4. Working with difficult text wraps
      8m 39s
    5. Inverting text wraps
      2m 7s
    6. Setting text wrap preferences
      3m 49s
  15. 29m 33s
    1. Choosing a page size and setting margins
      6m 33s
    2. Setting up columns
      2m 53s
    3. Dividing a page into rows
      3m 27s
    4. Setting up a baseline grid
      5m 40s
    5. Handling baseline grid problems
      3m 37s
    6. Baseline grid tricks
      7m 23s
  16. 12m 19s
    1. Looking at screen documents
      4m 2s
    2. Setting size, leading, and line length onscreen
      3m 13s
    3. Exploring typefaces designed for the screen
      3m 36s
    4. Accessibility: Contrast and color
      1m 28s
  17. 28s
    1. Goodbye
      28s

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