Designing your own pages

Almost everyone designs some of their own pages for their yearbook, whether it is an introduction page, a review of the school play or a photo collage.  There are a few things you might want to consider when you start thinking about page design, one of which is a tricky thing called bleed!

In design terms bleed is when any image or element on a page touches the edge of the page and extends beyond the trim edge, leaving no margin.  Helpful eh and whats a trim edge?!

Basically what it means is that your pages are printed onto paper that is a bit bigger than A4 and then trimmed down to size. But this process isn’t 100% accurate.  If your page has a white background and no elements (photos, text, clip art) that go right up to the edges then you will never notice.  But if you do have an element that goes right up to the edge – say a pink page background, then when the page is trimmed you might end up with a tiny white margin around the edge of your page.

Designers get over this by making their pages slightly bigger than A4 and bleeding things like background colour into this area outside the A4 page.  If you want a page element to bleed off of your page, set up your page to be 216mm x 303mm, this will give you 3mm of bleed all the way round your page.

If you don’t want page elements to bleed or be trimmed then keep them about 5mm in from the edge of your A4 page.  This is called the margin (if you are now thoroughly confused skip to the end and look at the ‘really simple guide to page design’!)

Another thing to think about when you are designing a page is the gutter.  This is a wider margin 15mm, on the edge of the page that will be towards the spine of the book.  Because books don’t lay flat when they are open this margin needs to be wider so your important page elements don’t disappear into the spine.  Stitched folded paperback yearbooks are an exception to this (well there has to be one!) because they do lay flat when they are open so nothing is lost in the spine.

So things to think about when designing pages are:- bleed, do you want elements to bleed off of the edge of a page, margin, keep important elements 5mm from the edge of the page, and gutter, keep important elements 15mm from spine edge of the page. The diagram below demonstrates all of these things.

Lots of things to think about eh?

The really simple guide to page design

  • Keep all your important page elements (faces and text) 15mm from all the edges of your page
  • Make sure your page is A4 (not US letter size)

If you do this your pages will look great:-)  If you want to add bleed elements that’s great but you really don’t have to make a funky looking page, it is much more important to be able to read all the text!

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