Western Page Design

Western page design tradition places the page area above the center of the page, since the optical center of the page is considered to be above the geometric center. The gutter margin is traditionally narrower than the fore-edge margin. This is to make it easier for the eye to move from one page to the other. The wider fore-edge allows room for the thumbs to hold the page. The two gutter margins, taken together, balance the wider fore-edge margin. The height of the page area matches the width of the page.

Figure 4. Traditional Western page design

Traditional Western page design

In practice, page designs vary quite a lot. The printed ‘page’ now includes package inserts for medications, marketing brochures, children’s books, parts catalogs, and much more besides. The economics of printing or the need to print on A4 or Letter size paper on an office printer can influence the page design. Asymmetric page design, where the page area has the same position on facing pages, was once a radical idea but now is not uncommon. Furthermore, novels, in particular, are often sold in multiple editions with different page sizes that each reuse the same page areas with reduced margins.