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Graphic Design/Web Design

DUMMIES...for Dummies
When you design documents containing multiple pages or panels the layout process is complicated by the variety of possible configurations a reader will see.

As with simpler layout projects, it is wise to start with a thumbnail layout to quickly try out your ideas. You may first draw the thumbnails on a large sheet of paper but you will find it helps to make a dummy layout that folds and operates like the final product.

It is up to the designer what size and level of detail to put into a dummy. Some are for layout and content experimenting, some are to simulate the look and feel of the final product.

Use the following procedures to construct an appropriate dummy for your proposed design.

This is a true "Thumbnail" sized layout

Using small, quickly-built layouts will speed the process of organizing your contents.

What is the flow of the messages throughout the folder?

Where does the user look first, second, third, and so on?

How does panel position affect the hierarchy of the information?


Be a "Flip-Flopper"!

Fiddle with your dummy, folding and unfolding it. Keep an open mind and imagine how the reader will first experience the design.

Does the message flow logically?

Are the essential points obvious?

Will the piece meet the bulk rate mail requirements?

You might find some layout tips helpful.
A dummy for an 8-page booklet

Multiple page booklets are made by collecting the pages and binding them together with staples, thread, glue, or plastic and wire devices.

A typical booklet is made by folding a two-page sheet in the middle and stacking it with other sheets. Staples are placed into the fold, or spine, to hold it together. This is called "saddle stitching."

Print shops try to print a number of pages on a large sheet and fold the sheet down to the final page size.

The following photos show the preparation of a dummy for an 8-page booklet made from one sheet of paper. This is called a signature.

For additional information visit the Imposition tutorial.

Start with a sheet of paper folded into quarters.

Write page numbers on the panels.


The unfolded sheet has page numbers in all corners, pointing up and down. They are not in the normal order, instead you see 1-8, 2-7, 3-6, and 4-5 facing each other. These two-page pairs are called printer spreads.

When we assemble the booklet, the page spreads will read in the normal ascending order, or reader spreads.

Put in the fake "Saddle Stitches"

Find a stapler that will open flat.

Find a piece of corrugated cardboard or a stiff carpet for your stapling surface.

Drive several staples into the outside spine of the folded up pages. The staples will go through and protrude on the bottom side.

Turn the pages over and bend down the staples.
Cut the top fold off your stapled booklet.
Congratulations! You have built an 8-page dummy. Start drawing the layout!

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