Reading to Design Texts That Work

Reading to Design Texts That Work

Writers have long recognized that no matter how well organized, well reasoned, or compelling a piece of writing may be, the way it looks on the page influences to some extent how well it works for readers. Today, writers have more options for designing their documents than ever before. Digital photography, scanning, and integrated word processing and graphics programs make it relatively easy for writers to heighten the visual impact of the page. For example, they can change type fonts and add colors, charts, diagrams, and photographs to written documents. In constructing Web pages or DVDs, writers can add sound, video, and active hyperlinks.

These multiple possibilities, however, do not guarantee a more effective docu- ment. In order to design effective texts, writers need to study documents that capture readers’ attention and enhance understanding. As someone who has likely grown up watching television and movies, playing computer games, and surfing the Internet, you are already a sophisticated visual consumer who has unconsciously learned many of the conventions of document design for different genres and writing situa- tions. This book will help you become aware of what you already know and help you make new discoveries about document design that you may be able to use in your own writing.

Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works. — STEVE JOBS

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