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Determining Proper Book Margins

September 19 2004 – 11:23pm

I was first introduced to this method in Jan Tschichold’s The Form of the Book: Essays on the Morality of Good Design.

book margins

  1. Starting with a two-page spread, draw diagonal lines from one corner of the spread to the other (A1, A2).
  2. Draw diagonal lines from the top-center of the spread to either bottom corner (B1, B2).
  3. Draw a box with the same aspect ratio as your full page (C1), and place it so that B1 intersects the top-right and bottom-left corners of the box, and A1 intersects the top-left corner of the box. A good way to acheive this is to first draw a box the same size as your page, group it, and then scale it proportionally.
  4. Once you have achieved margins that are to your liking, copy your box, and position the copy on your opposite page so that it satisfies the critera from step 3 (C2).
  5. C1 and C2 are your live text areas.

A variety of margin-to-whitespace ratios can be achieved with this method, from the economical to the luxurious. You now have beautiful margins. Best of luck with filling in the rest.

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This post is filed under Books, Design.