Site Map Links Consulting Contact

Introduction to the Style Guide: 1

Presentation Rules

This style guide is all about how visual browsers can display different genres of text for the greatest readability. Its focus is on the architecture of information, and useful ways to categorize and label it as early as possible when building a site.

The emphasis here is on the macro-typography, the sort of thing that people who code HTML call "block-level" content, such as paragraphs, lists, tables and headings, but some attention will also be paid to micro-typography.

The distinction between micro- and macro-typography was popularized by the book designer Jost Hochuli and is now a commonplace in the German-speaking countries. Whereas micro-typography involves lettering— designing, choosing and mixing fonts, spacing letters and punctuating words— macro-typography is the business of laying out bodies of text in logical and pleasing patterns: distributing blank space, choosing colours and conveying meaning by proper arrangement.

We rarely give thought to the role of presentation as a conveyor of meaning, yet we expect in almost every act of reading that certain rules will be respected: that paragraphs will group together ideas; that a change of speaker in a dialogue will be marked by starting on a new line; that items in a list will be logically parallel to one another.

We see and draw meaning from presentation before our eyes can even resolve the individual words. Cast onto a table, a letter is usually recognizable from 10 metres away for what it is: the salutation and signature have a certain standard location, and when we pick up the letter in our hands, they provide the entry points with which we usually begin: to whom? from whom?

1 2 3 4 5