What is the term for "visual layout" standards?

I’m looking for a word or phrase that is used in design to describe well-presented documents. Separate from the content, this term is used to describe standards that create a visually attractive layout that presents information in a clear manner (e.g. - bullet points vs. a paragraph).


Human factors in documentation?

Corporate image applied to documentation? (assuming this is a corporate thing)

Document formatting standards?

Legibility standards?

Composition is the process - I’m thinking that there must be a word or term that is used to describe what this page is talking about: http://www.makesigns.com/tutorials/poster-design-layout.aspx
Is there an -onomics or -metrics used to describe this?

ETA: Thanks Heracles - those are close.

At first, I thought you were going for a particular set of guidelines, such that multiple items made following them all have the same look. That, I’d just call a style.

Maybe style guidelines gets close to what you want?

The o.p. appears to be referring to formatting and style guides, such as The Chicago Manual of Style, the SAE Aerospadce Technical Report Style Manual, or MIL-STD-38784 Standard Practice for Technical Manuals - General Style and Format Requirements. These are use as de facto or de jure standards for formatting of text in various forms. Most engineering organizations will have proprietary formatting standards (usually called “command media” or somesuch) for internal reports and forms that are more specific for their application.


Not exactly…
I’m posting this question for my wife, and as she explained it to me, she seems to recall a term for the “science” of information presentation on the printed page. The analogous term for physical objects would be Ergonomics.

Graphic design?

Layout aesthetics? Interface design?



It’s what I’ve done for the last 40 years, but the best I can come up with is publication design or graphic design.

Watching thread with interest, hoping for ammunition (I need to do research, but on what?) to convince co-worker that we should not be using HAND as the font for construction notes.

Graphic design or information design. Typography would be a component of that.

Yes, it’s just graphic design.

And that poster design link makes some hugely sweeping statements. They present design suggestions as ‘facts’. Graphic design needs a hefty does of judgement alongside following some rules.

Ha! The scourge of the office nerd in command of a font library.

You aren’t going to find a definitive ‘rulebook’ that says you can never use “hand” font. There’s a well known (well, amongst graphic designers) quote by a famous graphic designer (whose name escapes me for now) which says something along the lines of “there is no such thing as a bad typeface, only an inappropriate one”.

So there will be occasions when using something like Comic Sans or whatever might be entirely appropriate - kiddies cartoon book perhaps? But if the typeface does not meet legibility needs, does not convey the appropriate brand image for the company, does not reflect the style of the content or reach out to the appropriate audience, then it’s a bad choice. Graphic Design is first and foremost about communication – communicating both content, tone and image - so if the chosen typeface doesn’t do that appropriately, it fails. That’s the best I can help you with!

I’ve found the quote, I was almost right:

Here’s a fairly boring discourse on the subject from the respected Eye magazine, which just goes to demonstrate the constant debate that goes on amongst designers. All I can add to this is my own quote: ‘beware any designer that preaches that something is right or wrong, there’s will always be another designer who disagrees with them’.