Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Colour wash for paragraphs - use tabs

A wise mother once told her daughter: never admit you can type or else you'll spend your life as a secretary...

While people spend a lot of effort mastering their computers the basic skill of typing is often overlooked.

However it is through typing that you learn many tricks which later help to understand and master design. I was lucky enough to go through typing courses at least three times in my professional life (as a student, as a cub reporter with a large national wire service and as an editor with one of the first Apple Mac-based publications in Russia.)

Too often colour wash is used without spacing the text within the wash. It makes columns 'stick' to the edges of the coloured area which gives an untidy, sloppy appearance to the look of the page. (compare the two screenshots on the right)

One simple way of setting text off the edges is through tabs.
- Open Text Inspector, click on Tabs.
- Select the text with coloured background
- and set Paragraph indents to a positive value: 0,1 - 0,3 cm should be enough for off-setting the text. Remember to increase the first line indent accordingly.

For inverted headings (light letters on dark background) with large font sizes a larger paragraph indent might be needed.

Working with text indents could also be cleverly used when you need to change the width of columns or part of a column, for instance to highlight an important point or make a list to stand out.

To increase the coloured wash above and below the text use Before paragraph and After paragraph options under the Text tab in the Text Inspector.

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